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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
19th September 2013


One year to go! By this day in 2014, we will have cast our historic vote in response to the most important question of our lives: ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’

We have a choice between two futures.

You can watch the video here
http://www.snp.org/vision/better-scotland/independence.

One path moves towards a fairer and more prosperous Scotland where everyone can reach their full potential, where going to university depends upon your ability not your bank balance.

A Scotland where future decisions are made by the people who care most about Scotland – the people who live here. Where weapons of mass destruction have no place close to our most densely populated city, where we can’t be led into illegal wars we voted against and where we control our own natural resources like oil and gas.

And the other path? Same old, same old, ruled by Westminster, the fourth most unequal country in the world where the gap between rich and poor gets wider and wider. A country where privilege rules and learning costs tens of thousands of pounds, a country with no place in the world, a dumping ground for nuclear weapons, our money squandered by governments we didn’t vote for and who are out of touch.

As the First Minister says: “It’s a choice based on who you trust to make Scotland a better country to live in: Politicians at Westminster or people who live here, in Scotland?

“A No vote means we stay with the present system, a Scotland stifled by the repeated failures of Westminster governments.

“A Yes vote means we choose a new direction for our country. With independence we can take the decisions that are right for us, ones that will make a fairer, greener, more prosperous country. That’s got to be the right choice for all our country.”

Even if you won’t be voting in the Referendum, please show your support at www.yesscotland.net

The Independence Referendum Bill passed Stage One on 12 September. This is the Bill that sets out all the procedural requirements about how the Referendum will actually be managed. It was drafted following the public consultation, ‘Your Scotland, Your Referendum’ and following the Edinburgh Agreement (http://tinyurl.com/awjma3b) between our First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron.

This Agreement commits both governments to behave in line with the legislation and the Electoral Commission in the conduct of issues such as how much money is spent on campaigning, what donations can be accepted and restrictions placed upon producing promotional publications during the 28 day Purdah period before voting takes place.


First Minister, Alex Salmond, MSP, and UK Prime Minister
David Cameron signing the Edinburgh Agreement.

Clearly, the current SNP Scottish Government is not only achieving its aims but retaining its popularity. Normally, any national government mid-term expects to be struggling to keep support and will see sometimes drastic falls in faith.

So it was good to see the Sunday Times Panelbase poll put support for the SNP at exactly the same level as its 2011 landslide victory. After six years in government, that is a fantastic achievement by any standard. That means we have by far the largest section of the vote in Scotland and we are continuing to grow it further.

People here want to have decisions that impact on their lives, their futures, made inside the Scottish Parliament. Even those who have not yet decided how to vote in the Referendum want that – by a margin of nearly four-to-one.


The late Hamilton South councillor, Bobby Lawson. 

My very special and great friend, Councillor Bobby Lawson, died a few weeks back on 13 August. His shoes won’t be easy to fill but Josh Wilson, who happens to work as my Parliamentary and Constituency Assistant, is going to go for it.

He’s already hard at work campaigning for the Hamilton South seat on South Lanarkshire Council and is out pounding the streets. The by-election will be on Thursday 24 October so he has plenty of work to do.

He lives and works in Hamilton and has a real passion for continuing the work and legacy of Bobby, also a close friend of his and from whom he got great inspiration.

Josh is young and I’m so delighted to see that he has that ambition to work for his local community. He already knows the area and lots of people know him, so he’s got a good starting point.

I know he’ll want to push to get the Council to commit to no evictions as a result of the Westminster bedroom tax. He’ll want to see transparency over equal pay and he’ll be supporting the Scottish Government’s Council Tax freeze.

Good luck to Josh!


Josh Wilson, SNP candidate in the Hamilton South by-election

The main Post Office in Hamilton suddenly closed this week, leaving hundreds of customers shocked and confused. Many elderly people who had come to collect their pensions were met with closed shutters.

The reason was essentially that the small supermarket in which the Post Office was housed had financial problems. Once it closed down, so did the Post Office.

But there’s a darker side to this, hopefully temporary, problem.

The Westminster government has decided that it wants to privatise Royal Mail. Though this is a separate ‘arm’ of the business responsible for the delivery of letters and parcels, it is clearly the main reason why Post Offices exist.

The First Minister made it clear on Thursday at Question Time in the Scottish Parliament that Scotland was having no truck with this mad idea. He told MSPs that in the event of a Yes vote: “An independent Scottish government that I lead – because it will be the decision of the Scottish people – will bring the Royal Mail, our postal service, back into public ownership.”

No other political party in Scotland, not even Labour, would commit to that promise. A Yes vote is the only way to ensure Scotland will have the powers that can deliver the postal service we need.

I made a speech last week in the Chamber about Revenge Porn. The sickening and offensive behaviour of ex-partners, mainly male, posting up on social media the videos and pictures taken privately is gathering momentum.

You can see more of what I said on the subject here: http://tinyurl.com/p7dbl83

It is interesting and encouraging that the speech went viral with both the BBC and even the Labour opposition commending it!

In Scotland, Women’s Aid has set up a mini-site within its main site: www.togetherwecanstopit.org and is to be commended for its efforts. Revenge porn is no different from any other kind of domestic abuse.

It degrades, humiliates and traumatises its victims, leaving them frightened and undermined. And to add insult to injury, it has cost some of them their jobs as well.

Why do men do this? It takes a particularly sick kind of mind to broadcast images of private and intimate times. The question isn’t why someone agreed to the video or pictures in the first place. It’s why the ex-partners think it’s all right to use the material in this way.

Interestingly, the state of California is seeking to introduce a law to make the practice illegal and close down particularly on sites devoted to using revenge porn material. You can read more about that here: http://tinyurl.com/p89h7wm Revenge porn is already illegal in New Jersey.


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