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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
18th March 2010

Courage is not the absence of fear, it's the ability to operate in spite of fear.

Well last week I told you I was planning to walk on fire so on Friday night along with my family I went to Falkirk Stadium for a spot of fire walking. Not your usual way to spend a Friday night I know but a very worth while way to spend it.

There was 59 of us mad souls or should that be soles…. facing 20 feet of burning coals. It is quite inconceivable that you can walk that length and not burn your feet off but that’s exactly what we all did.

I told you before that my father suffered from Motor Neurone Disease and my thinking was that even if I did get some blisters then that would be nothing compared to the suffering of him and others who fight this disease day in and day out. I will let you into a little secret I have a list of things to do before I die and one of those things was to walk on burning coals. Some might say that is a bit extreme but if there's something I have learned it is that life is too short and you should take the chance to challenge and stretch yourself as much as possible. It could be swimming with dolphins or climbing inside the great pyramid at Giza or diving in the Caribbean sea or just doing something exciting and different. Well I got the chance to do one of the things on my list when I went fire walking but the best thing about it was the fact that I was doing it for a charity that supports people with and families of people with MND. MND Scotland gave me the chance and I have raised a substantial amount of money for that charity. I know some folk sponsored me because they liked the idea of seeing a politician barbequed!!! I do have to say a huge thank you to all the very generous people who sponsored me and to the people who have given a contribution since I completed the fire walk.  I think everyone should try it its an amazing feeling of how powerful your mind can be and supports my theory that with good positive messages we can do anything we put our mind to.

Talking about putting your mind to things I along with Linda Fabiani MSP attended the Mothers day vigil at Dungavel yet again another year and yet again another vigil for the people that the UK government lock up even although they have committed no crime. Linda gave a very powerful speech about how we should never give up having the vigil but hoping that we wont be back again next year. I believe that if asylum and immigration was devolved then we would have a proper welfare based system in Scotland that would meet our national belief in giving sanctuary to those who for a number of reasons seek our help and support in times of trouble. I would urge anyone with this aim to sign up to the sanctuary pledge and show that Scotland and her people value all human life.

I had a very interesting meeting with the group Outcry who campaign for the end of child detention as you will know I have been campaigning for the end to this heinous practice since before I was elected to Parliament. When I hear of another family taken in a dawn raid or detained when going to the immigration office for the weekly sign on my heart sinks and my blood boils. It makes me sick to think that this happens on Scottish soil and we have no control over it. If we appeal or campaign on this issue we get castigated my some in the media and by some politicians who should know better. And to hear the likes of Jim Murphy talk about Christian values and that eh didn’t come in to politics to lock up children then go on to do so make me all the more determined that Scotland achieves her Independence and takes forward a welfare based system that can make us all proud.

One of the interesting things about this job is the chance to step into someone else's shoes and cover an event for them so there I was me stepping into Mike Russell's shoes to speak at the launch of Carol Craig's book The tears that made the Clyde. His shoes I hear you say…..well they would be way too big and as I said at the launch I am not Mike Russell and I am sure you will agree I am a wee bit easier on the eye - I know cheeky!!   I got a copy of the book on Saturday morning and had to speed read it. I got totally caught up in an understanding of Glasgow that mirrored my own experiences growing up there. It also reminded me that the issues in Glasgow can be unique but so much of it like the bad relationship other places have with the demon drink is reflected all over Scotland. It also gave a very humorous analysis of life and the words and sayings we use you know words and phrases like 'yer a wee stoater' or 'hen' even a few uncomplimentary things like 'Ya heidbanger' and 'yer a right minger'. This book gave me a lot to laugh about but mostly it gave me a lot to think about. I would suggest you give it a read but I warn you some of it will be uncomfortable and one thing that is not in the book is the need for personal Independence and in my opinion that would lead quite nicely but with informed choice to national Independence.  So on that note I am heading home to prepare for spring conference in Aviemore, if your going see you there if not speak to you all again next week.  Go on feel the fear and do it anyway!

Aw the best….

Christina McKelvie MSP
Central Scotland

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