of you already know that I’ve supported Motor Neurone Disease charities
and support organisations. My Dad died of this horrible disease and
everything that brings greater awareness of it and more research into it
has to be good.
MacDonald was diagnosed 10 years ago at the age of just 29. He’s been
busy fundraising for MND research since and has now combined with his
sister, Kiki, to create a website called Euan’s Guide (www.euansguide.com)
was honoured to host a reception in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday
evening to celebrate the launch of the site.
purpose is to pull together a list of bars, restaurants, sporting
events, music venues and much more that are disability-friendly along
with reviews by the people who have used them.
Euan MacDonald with his mum, Louise, and myself at
the Scottish Parliament Reception (Picture by Chris Close)
so obvious you’d think someone would already have done it and indeed, in
small patches, some areas have, but this is Scotland-wide and that’s the
difference. I am writing out to all of my MSP colleagues, to chambers of
commerce, local councils and other stakeholders so as to encourage
everyone to go and write reviews and to contribute to the site.
addressed attendees at the reception using Tobii technology which
creates speech from eyelid movements. The 39 year old Motor Neurone
Disease victim told his audience how he still wants to get out to bars,
restaurants, hotels, cinemas, music festivals, sports grounds and other
venues but has found that information about
access is a process of
trial and error.
years of investigating, me and my family have built up something akin to
a local directory on disabled access that we were keen to share with
others with accessibility needs. And then we thought that there must be
thousands if not millions of people who have the same issues that we do
so we decided to take this a step further and create a site that will
benefit the whole disabled community.”
Already endorsed by Stephen Hawking and JK Rowling, the guide is
gathering new joiners every day and increasing its reach across the
European and External Affairs Committee Meeting
I am convener of the European and External Affairs Committee of the
Scottish Parliament, as many of you will already be aware, so I am
pretty closely involved with its activities, but we had something a bit
different last week. It provided a certain, well, theatricality to
What happened? We had the Westminster Scottish Secretary, Alistair
Carmichael MP, with us to discuss aspects of a post-independence
Scotland’s membership of the EU – something that has been exercising a
lot of the Better Together scaremongerers in the last few months.
Alistair Carmichael MP Scottish Secretary
I asked Mr Carmichael for the details of his meeting with a Russian
diplomat about Scotland’s independence. It has been reported that the
Prime Minister’s office said Britain was ‘extremely interested’ in
anti-Yes referendum support from Russia.
Mr Carmichael refused to provide any information but his Parliamentary
Assistant, Chris Flatt, was more revealing. He said: “I have briefed an
official from the Russian embassy and officials from dozens of other
embassies…I have had such conversations with officials from Russia,
America, Canada, Belgium, the Philippines, Kurdistan and Italy.”
So the British Government’s position on the Referendum has clearly been
well circulated, as of course it previously was to European Commission
President Jose Manuel Barroso who certainly did as London instructed
It strikes me that a revelation that the Scotland Office – a UK
Government department that is meant to represent Scotland’s interests –
is briefing against Scotland as a serious matter of concern.
Prime Minister David Cameron continually refuses to debate with the
First Minister in front of the people of Scotland but he is content for
his government to go around the world talking down Scotland’s future
behind closed doors. That speaks volumes about the Westminster approach
to the referendum.
You can read the full report here:
Prostate cancer campaign
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK.
Over 40,000 men are diagnosed every year and one man dies every hour as
a result. One in for Afro-Caribbean men will develop prostate cancer at
some point in his life and one in eight from other ethnic origins.
I was therefore genuinely pleased to back the Prostate Cancer UK drive
to build better awareness of the condition and thus to cut back on the
number of deaths.
This drive, headed Men United v Prostate Cancer (see
) , recognises that men find it difficult to seek out medical attention
early. In Scotland, we’re addressing it partly by callin on all the NHS
Boards here to implement Prostate Cancer UK’s excellent Quality
Joining me in backing the
campaign is Scottish football legend Denis Law, chat-show king Sir
Michael Parkinson and comic icon Bill Bailey. Prostate Cancer UK charity
partner Scotmid Co-operative, which recently smashed its £150,000 annual
fundraising target for the charity within just 6 months, is also backing
the campaign via a series of events at its stores throughout Scotland.
Drew Lindon, Head of Policy
and Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Prostate cancer survival
rates are below the European average, research into the disease lags a
decade behind that of other cancers, and quality of care and support
varies depending on where you live.
“Men United is a powerful
way for men, and the women in their lives, to mobilise against the
common enemy of prostate cancer. By signing up, Christina McKelvie MSP
has a place and a voice in a growing movement that’s taking action for
men’s health. We are extremely grateful for her ongoing support, and
would encourage people throughout Scotland to join Men United to help
boot prostate cancer into row Z.”