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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
1st July 2010

It's an injustice…..

Last Sunday I went along to Hamilton Old Parish church for the unveiling of a new memorial to the four covenanters who where executed for their part in the covenanant. Here are some pictures of me and Linda Fabiani MSP at the churchyard memorial.

One of the earliest defenders of the Covenant was James Hamilton of Kittiemuir. He was captured at the Battle of Pentland, with those inscribed on the Hamilton churchyard monument. Along with ten others, they were executed on the same platform in Edinburgh, on December 7th 1666. Their heads and right arms were struck off, and displayed throughout the country as a warning to those of similar sympathies. James Hamilton’s head now rests in Cadzow Street graveyard in Hamilton along with Gavin Hamilton, John Parker and Christopher Strang. James Hamilton is said to have been a prominent yeoman (a gentleman serving in a Royal or noble household); for public records state he was said to have been mounted and armed with a sword and pistols. He, along with Gavin Hamilton of Mauldsie Mains (possibly his brother), who suffered with him, were members of Maclellan of Bascobe’s troops, and appear to have joined the rebels when the Covenant was sworn.

The church designed and built by William Adam, 1734. Samples from the roof timbers found to be full of lead shot. Adam used wood from an old man-of-war! Chancel furnishings include embroidery by Hannah Frew Paterson. Exceptionally detailed engraved glass windows by Anita Pate depict the history of the church back to the 6th century. Memorial stained glass window of African animals to John Stevenson Hamilton, founder of Kruger National Park. Eleventh-century Netherton Cross and Covenanting memorials in graveyard. In centre of town. Here's a wee drawing of the church;

The National Covenant has been called the biggest event in Scottish history. In essence it was a document, a contract with God, signed by the Nobles, Ministers and thousands of ordinary Scots, who pledged themselves to defend Scotland’s rights by stating what they would and wouldn't agree to in matters of Kirk and state. Drawn up by two of Scotland’s sharpest minds, Archibald Johnston of Wariston and Alexander Henderson, it contained radical demands for changes in Scotland's governance.

The Covenant demanded a free Scottish Parliament and a free General Assembly, which means free from the King’s interference. Specifically, it demanded the abolition of bishops, who had blindly served the King in matters of Kirk and State, and, in effect, it limited the power of the King by inflating the role of Scotland’s nobles and Kirk. The medieval order of divinely appointed Kings was truly over. It was obviously very brutal times and sometimes I wonder if things have changed….. but things have changed, the Scottish SNP Government has driven that change and it came yesterday in the form of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill which passed through stage 3 of the parliament.

The key improvements are;

Wide ranging reforms to the Scottish justice system which aim to help police and prosecutors tackle crime at every level come before parliament tomorrow. From taking the fight to the 'Mr Bigs' involved in serious and organised crime, to strengthening the law on stalking, creating a Scottish Sentencing Council to ensure greater transparency and consistency in the sentencing process, and punishing low level offenders by sending them out to repay their dues to the community, the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill is the largest piece of legislation introduced by the Scottish Government.

It includes measures to:

* Create a Scottish Sentencing Council to ensure greater transparency and consistency in the sentencing process

* Make sentences served in the community more robust, rapid and visible through the creation of the Community Payback Order and introduce a presumption against very short sentences in order to end the revolving door of re-offending

* Take the fight to those involved in organised crime through the creation of new serious organised crime offences

* New measures to strengthen the law on stalking

* Crack down on prisoners who make use of advances in mobile phone technology to run their criminal empires from prison

* Raise the age at which a child can be prosecuted in adult criminal courts from eight to 12 to help ensure the rights and needs of children are balanced properly with the protection of communities

* Help the courts and prosecutors through a number of sensible reforms to the criminal law and court procedures - ensuring the interests of justice are served and protecting the rights of victims and witnesses

* Assist in the detection of crime through improving law on the retention of DNA and fingerprint data for use in investigating and prosecuting crime

* Provide a statutory framework for the disclosure of evidence to the defence in criminal cases - confirming the integrity as to how our courts deal with cases

Speaking ahead of final Stage 3 proceedings in the Scottish Parliament, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

"There is strong support for our proposals outside Parliament among those on the frontline who are successfully combating crime day in day out in Scotland, punishing offenders, and championing the interests of victims. I hope that this will be reflected among the MSPs inside Parliament.

"We have an all time record number of police officers on Scotland's streets - over 1,000 extra since March 2007 - making our communities safer with recorded crime currently at its lowest level for nearly 30 years and we want that to continue.

"We want to ensure that our law enforcement agencies have every available tool in their armoury to take the fight to criminals, tackle crime in Scotland's communities, and make Scotland a safer and stronger place for hard working families to live and work in.

"From taking the fight to the Mr Bigs of organised crime, to strengthening the law on stalking, to improvements to Scotland's DNA retention system and greater police powers, we are seeking to introduce key reforms, reforms which will help further protect Scotland's communities.

"Mandatory sentences for knife carrying are not supported by leading police officers such as the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, Stephen House, the Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders, David Strang, and the head of Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit Detective, Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, who have all spoken out against the proposals.

"The Scottish Government is taking tough action on those who carry and use knives, doing more than ever before as well as delivering a record number of police officers to catch them which is why crimes of handling an offensive weapon have decreased by 11 per cent since 2006-07.

"Courts have the powers to impose sentences of four years for carrying a knife, we've seen jail terms for knife carrying increase by two thirds in the last two years, while I've made clear that those who use a knife should expect to go to jail.

"We are also working to change the culture around violence in Scotland by working directly with young people to explain the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

"On community sentences, prison will always be the right place for serious and violence offenders. But for low level offenders, short sentences do not work. Three quarters of those sentenced to a short sentence go onto reoffend within two years of getting out, while three out of five of those given a community based punishment do not. The evidence in favour of our proposals is overwhelming and it is backed by the experts. Scotland has a chance here to break the cycle of reoffending, lower crime rates and make our communities even safer and stronger."

For more information on the measures above go to:

Please note that plans to introduce a presumption against sentences of six months or less for low level offenders were amended last week to introduce 'a presumption against sentences of three months or less' with the option of increasing to six months with parliamentary approval. Go to:

Information on moves to strengthen stalking legislation:

There are opposition amendments by Labour and the Conservatives to introduce a mandatory minimum sentence for anyone caught in possession of a knife. Mandatory sentences for knife carrying are not supported by leading police officers such as the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, Stephen House, the Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders, David Strang, and the head of Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit Detective, Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, who have all spoken out against the proposals

So again another step towards a fairer and safer Scotland and another example of leadership and not knee jerk reaction and another reason why we should get out and campaign to win the election next year.

Just a wee bit of light entertainment for you, follow the link and enjoy this fabulous song about the Stone of Destiny. 

and here is the words so you can sing along...

The Dean o’ Westminster was a powerful man
He held a’ the strings o’ the State in his hand
But wi’ a’ his great business it flustered him nane
When some rogues ran away wi’ his wee magic stane
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
The Stane had great powers that could dae sic a thing
That withoot it it seemed we’d be wantin’ a king
So he sent for the polis and made this decree
Go hunt oot the Stone and return it tae me
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
So the polis went beetlin’ away up tae the North
They hunted the Clyde and they hunted the Forth
But the wild folk up yonder just kidded them a’
For they didnae believe it was magic at a’
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
Noo the Provost o’ Glesca, Sir Victor by name
Wis awfy put oot when he heard o’ the Stane
So he offered the statues that stan’ in George Square
That the High Church’s masons might mak’ a few mair
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
When the Dean o’ Westminster wi’ this was acquaint
He sent for Sir Victor and made him a saint
But it’s no good you sending your statues down heah
Said the Dean, But it gives me a jolly good ideah
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
So they quarried a stane o’ the very same stuff
And they dressed it all up till it looked like enough
Then he sent for the press and announced that the Stane
Had been found and returned tae Westminster again
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
But the cream o’ the joke still remains tae be telt
For the bloke that wis turnin’ them aff on the belt
At the peak o’ production was so sorely pressed
That the real yin got bunged in alang wi’ the rest
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay
So if ever ye cam’ on a stane wi’ a ring
Just sit yersel’ doon and proclaim yersel’ king
There’s nane will be able tae challenge yer claim
That ye’ve crooned yersel’ King on the Destiny Stane
Wi’ a too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay

That's parliament broken up now for summer but I will keep in touch every week if I can. Have a great summer and lets get out there and make sure the SNP is taking Scotland's destiny forward.

Christina McKelvie MSP
Central Scotland

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