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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
2nd April 2009

A sombre day

There was a touch of sadness about today’s business in the chamber.  A sombre reckoning of mortality, perhaps, as news filtered through of the loss of sixteen lives in a helicopter crash in the North Sea.  It’s a reminder, perhaps, that the black gold we take for granted pumping out of that sea comes with a human cost – sometimes a very high cost.

With an age range from 24 to 63, these were sons, brothers, and fathers – 16 families are grieving their loss.  First Ministers Questions was changed from the usual roaring contest into a reflection on the events of yesterday and Parliament stood together, in the main, to mark this.  There were two voices raised in protest at the decision to change FMQs – Lord George Foulkes and Michael McMahon – but everyone else appreciated the tenor of the occasion.

The tragedy was, perhaps, made even more poignant by the successful water-landing of another oil rig helicopter recently where everyone survived.  Some of these men came from small, tight-knit communities where their loss will be felt throughout the community.  It’s a reminder that what we take for granted, what seems to us to be freely available, isn’t always so cheaply bought.

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