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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
10th March 2011

If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake.

Last Friday was my twenty something birthday and I was out all day doing surgery home visits and meeting with the executive director of social work at South Lanarkshire council. It was a very busy day and I think I made a lot of progress for the people I met. I also enjoy my meetings with Harry Stevenson at SLC as we share a profound interest in making things better for people in the local area and working together makes some of that happen for my constituents. I am looking forward to continuing that work after the election. After all that I flew home changed into my frock and headed to a dinner with the new principle of Stirling University. But it’s your birthday I hear you say and I could be forgiven for thinking yes it’s my birthday and I deserve a wee bit of time off. Well someone had tipped off the principle Professor Gerry McCormac and his wife Louise that it was indeed my birthday and they surprised me with a lovely cake and a smashing rendition of happy birthday from the singing provost Fergus Wood. That small but wonderful gesture made my day and a big thank you to the person who did the tipping off. Yes I know I am easy pleased but sometimes it’s the small things we do for each other that makes it all worthwhile.

On the Thursday we had some great visitors from Hamilton Grammar below is the report on the STV website.

A group of Hamilton Grammar School students gave MSPs a grilling when they visited Holyrood recently.

The Higher Modern Studies class travelled through to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in order to strengthen their understanding of its work, and experience firsthand a parliamentary debate.

The group met with Central Scotland list MSPs Christina McKelvie and Linda Fabiani who participated in a question and answer session.

And the pupils did not just have questions for the elected members, they presented the politicians with hand crafted Ghanaian beads and earrings.

The group were also treated to a tour of the building and had the chance to watch First Minister’s Question Time from the gallery.

Modern Studies teacher Mark Bowan said: “It was a fantastic day.

“It is hard to give pupils a real insight into the workings of the Scottish parliament without having them experience it for themselves.

“The pupils were all excellent ambassadors for the school and everyone found the experience a positive and rewarding visit.”

Young people with strong opinions.

The pupils gave the politicians jewellery after Linda Fabiani hosted a reception for Robert Forson and Rev Emmanuel Boateng, the head teacher and local Presbytery leader of Hamilton Grammar’s twin school in Ghana – Donkorkrom Senior Agricultural High School.

The Ghanaian visitors were so touched by the generosity of the former cabinet minister for International Development that they ordered locally made turquoise beads and earrings to be handcrafted and sent to Scotland.

Christina McKelvie said of the students' visit: “My colleague Linda Fabiani and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Modern Studies group from Hamilton Grammar.

“They were extremely engaging and very knowledgeable about the impact the Scottish Parliament has had on people’s lives.

“They didn’t give us politicians an easy ride, either – they looked for precise answers from us and were not interested in waffle!”

Christina continued: “This was a group of young people with strong opinions, based on informed foundations.

“For me, they are living proof that the SNP’s long-standing policy of lowering the voting age to 16 is the right one.

“The Hamilton Grammar pupils showed that our young people have a huge amount to contribute to our democratic processes.”

My lovely earrings have been worn twice this week as they match my wardrobe perfectly. A cake and presents make for a smashing birthday week.

Onto this week………….. on Monday I got to fill the formidable shoes of Kenny MacAskill at the Unison polices staffs hustings although justice is not my normal brief I did my homework and as I explained at the hustings justice is everyone’s responsibility. There are genuine concerns that the proposed changes to the police structure will have a detrimental effect on the very important role of all the civilian staff. I have taken those concerns onboard and I am looking at ways I can support the workers. The campaign is named ‘I’m frontline too’ and I agree they are frontline too. Special mention has to made of the very competent, confident and eloquent speech made by Suzanne, she put her case forward very well and in such a detailed manner. We all certainly listened when she spoke.

Tuesday saw us at the penultimate meeting of the equal opportunities committee where we dealt with a very important SSI on equalities duties for local authorities.

Wednesday was the last meeting of the education, lifelong learning and culture committee, it was another marathon meeting with no less than 3 ministers giving us updates and evidence. We had an update from Shona Robison MSP Minister for public health on the Autism strategy. She told us the strategy was moving on apace and delighted us when she said there would be £10 million available over the next three years for the implementation of the strategy. That is a brilliant development and another example of the SNP looking after the most vulnerable in our nation.

I am meeting parents of children who have autism on Monday and it will be a pleasure to update them on the progress made.

See you all next week and if you are having a birthday I hope you get cake and presents.

Christina McKelvie MSP
Central Scotland

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