Last Friday I was Ďdoon the waterí on
the Clydeside to show my support for the strike action taken by BBC
staff. It was a cold day outside the pacific quay building but there
was a lot of warmth from the people there.
The BBC staff are angry that they are
having to take a cut to their pension but the big bosses are not.
That seems unfair to me and looking at the issue a bit closer
reveals that the ordinary workers at the BBC who are to have their
pension cut are expected to only have about £4000 per year when they
retire but the big bosses are expecting to get £200,000 per year
with no cut to entitlement. Now think about it someone getting that
big a pension can certainly take a share of the cut and not even
notice but if the person on £4000 per year takes a cut then it is
most certainly going to hurt. I came into politics to try to bring a
bit of fairness to Scotland so the reason I was on the rally was
because what they are doing is not fair. Here are the words I said
at the rally that day;
Addressing an NUJ rally in Glasgow I
said said that the BBC management were acting totally unfairly and
ripping off their employees.
This strike isnít about wanting more,
itís not about pay rises, itís not about perks and benefits, this
strike is about BBC journalists getting the pensions theyíve already
paid for, itís about justice, itís about fairness, itís about the
BBC not ripping off its own employees.
I donít see why there isnít a cap on
senior executivesí pensions either Ė some of them will pick up
pensions of more than £200,000 Ė that canít be right when the
corporation is asking lower paid staff to take cuts to their
More than that Ė the problem they want
to address doesnít really exist, theyíre trying to push forward
before the valuation report in the new year Ė they donít know if
there is a deficit and, in any case, theyíve closed the final salary
scheme to new entrants so BBC pensions will be getting cheaper.
I donít have all the answers but you can
be sure that you have all of my support and Iíll be talking to the
NUJís Paul Holleran about what politicians can do to support you.
And as long as there is unfairness I will keep supporting this trade
I was back again at pacific quay that
evening for the SQA Star awards at the Glasgow Science centre. I had
the pleasure of sharing a table with one of the winners. Gordon
McDonald was nominated by Reid Kerr college in Paisley.
Winner Gordon McDonald studied in many different vocational areas in
college. This inspired his vision and dream to become an architect.
Gordon distinguished himself by teaching himself new skills and new
Gordon started college in 2003 in an
initiative for young people not achieving at school. His Dyslexia
was diagnosed late and this affected his ability to learn but once
he was at college and with the correct support he has excelled. He
let me see some of his drawings which where fantastic and he had
drawn them all free hand!
I wish Gordon and his very proud family
all the best for the future I am sure he will excel in his field.
Well done Gordon.
Check out the other winners here;
Winner: Gordon McDonald, Reid Kerr College, Paisley
Equal opportunities committee this week
was in private as we are still working on the report into
trafficking and migration. I could let the moment pass without
saying something about UKBA and the way they are treating vulnerable
people in Glasgow. UKBA ended without warning the contract with
Glasgow city council to house people seeking sanctuary. It has left
1000 plus people terrified that they going to be ripped out of the
communities they live in. the letter sent to these people is
horrific. My colleagues in Glasgow are working hard to support the
folk and to challenge this terrible situation. This is a copy of the
letter let me know what you think.
Of course, big news this week was the
Alcohol Bill Ė opposition parties actually made clear during the
passage of the Bill that they agreed with what it was meant to do,
they agreed with the provisions of the Bill, they just didnít like
the idea that it was the SNP doing it.
and convoluted attempts at rewording parts of the Bill were little
more than bizarre. They even stretched to say that the real problem
with drink in Scotland is that some of it has caffeine in it Ė ably
Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton, of Strathclyde Police who said
ďWe donít attend many violent disturbances outside coffee shops,Ē.
They were talking about Buckfast as if that particular tipple is the
only thing that causes problems with drink in Scotland. Certainly,
Buckfast appears to be a factor in many violent incidents but so is
white cider (cider that has nothing whatsoever to do with apples, by
the way) Ė and so are other drinks.
Something that is, perhaps, an even
greater cost to Scottish society than the violence and its awful
aftermath is the range of long-term debilitating diseases caused by
alcohol abuse Ė not only do they cost our health service dear, they
also mean that people become unproductive, they donít work, they
donít contribute to society, they donít lighten the load of others.
With that great problem facing us you would think that the whole
Parliament would get round the issue, wouldnít you? Unfortunately
our opposition parties would rather take sensible measures out of a
Bill just to try to score some petty points Ė thatís another reason
why they should never be trusted with power again. Their behaviour
was shameful, their lack of concern for what was the right thing to
do was awful, Scotland deserves better.
And better we got with a dinner and
conference for businesses and my partner for the events was Lynn
Adams, a small business owner from Hamilton and the first lady
President of the Licensed Trade Association. Once a year the
chamber of Parliament is handed over to Business in Parliament for a
day-long conference as part of Parliament fulfilling one of its
founding principles of engagement with civic Scotland. It mirrors
other events when Parliament is used for the Youth Parliament,
health workers conferences, and so on. Itís a fine reminder that
this Parliament belongs to the people, politicians only own it as
part of the population, not as politicians. Itís a lesson that all
MSPs would do well to learn and remember Ė if I ever seem to forget
you will remind me, wonít you?
Christina McKelvie MSP