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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
1st May

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I have a confession to make.  Last week I promised you some photographs of the Microsoft event that I hosted in Parliament as soon as I had downloaded them from my camera.  I havenít yet got around to downloading them.

On the other hand, Microsoft had a professional photographer there and so the photographs with this diary entry are fairly decent and are compliments of the Microsoft team.

Christina McKelvie MSP

The past week has been a bit of a rough ride.  I had my first appearance on Newsnight, and, never having been in a remote studio before, I watched the monitor and didnít look up at the camera Ė resulting in a less than satisfactory performance.  The feeling of having let the team down was awful, but the response of my colleagues was fantastic, though, their support and encouragement saw me through the week and Iím back arguing Scotlandís case again.

Itís also been a glamorous week Ė I was with the local councillor doing a walkabout at a car boot sale at Hillhouse Church on Saturday.  Actually, I found a couple of things to buy and I quite like car boot sales, but itís a fair contradiction to the picture most people appear to have of the working life of an MSP.  It turns out that weíre just the same as everyone else and slightly boring.

We were taking evidence in the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee this week on Linda Fabianiís Culture Bill (well, she took a Bill that the last lot had left behind and she turned it into something worth looking at).  One of the strengths of the Scottish Parliament is the committee system, and weíve seen it operate on an even better level since the SNP took power Ė minority government really does focus the mind.

Onto Chamber and on Wednesday we passed the fourth Bill to be passed since the SNP took over the reins of power.  The other three are Acts now, pieces of legislation to abolish tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges, pass the budget, and get rid of the Graduate Endowment tuition fee.  This one will become an Act when it gets Royal Assent (we still have that ancient anachronism in spite of electing our governments), and it is the legislation which will pave the way for everything that needs to be done to allow Glasgow to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.  I was going to get into training for that myself, but I decided that some up and coming stars should get the opportunity Ė and, yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek.

We also today Ė Iím told for the first time, which is surprising Ė debated the impact of the London budget on Scotland.  I would have thought that this would have been a debate that the other parties would have wanted to have every year if they were arguing, as they usually do, that the London budget is good for Scotland.  Apparently not.

Interestingly, Labour MSPs never even put up an amendment to todayís motion.  Either they canít find a way to support Gordon Brownís last budget as Chancellor or they are now just not willing to take a proper part in the Parliamentary debates they are likely to lose.  Either way it is a bit worrying because every Government needs a strong opposition and Labour simply isnít providing that in Scotland just now.

Iím hearing from various parts of the country that people are starting tonight with celebrations of the anniversary of us winning the election.  I find myself thinking ďis that a whole year already?Ē  Itís gone flashing past Ė the first quarter of the Parliamentary session, 25% of the SNPís first term in Government, and it seems to have gone rather well as well as rather fast.

I suppose I should really take a wee look back over the year and put my thoughts down on paper, but Iím going to be a smarty-pants and wait another two weeks or so to match the anniversary of when the SNP Ministers were sworn in and the SNP Government was formed.

Christina McKelvie MSP
Central Scotland

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