Recently, the Scottish Government held a recycling summit where consensus was reached on ensuring more packaging can be recycled and that Scotland’s recycling is managed responsibly and sustainably.
Over the festive period, many people will receive gifts some of which they will never use or want. I would encourage Inverclyde residents to consider giving said gifts to charity or to a home where they will be utilised.
Alongside this, it’s important we continue to take care of the planet and with this I ask people to ensure all Christmas cards are recycled. You can find out more information on rubbish, bins and recycling at www.mygov.scot/bins.
The Festive season is upon us once again. It means different things to different people. For some it’s a time of great joy, an opportunity to take days off work and catch up with friends and family. For many it is work as usual and that includes fire, police, ambulance and coastguard. Our hospitals shall remain open and our transport systems will continue to run. But for others it’s a time when economic hardships are stretched to breaking point. Loneliness can crush people living in isolation and feelings of rejection are magnified. The media driven pressure to be happy can have the opposite effect. The constant need to consume and enjoy can be unhealthy. Please remember it’s OK not to be OK. The perfect Christmas is depicted time again in movies and TV, but it doesn’t exist. The festive season does present us with the opportunity bring joy to others and as the saying goes ‘what goes around comes around’. A small gift, a simple act of kindness, a thank you or a smile can make someone’s day. And that is true every day of the year not just at Christmas. I have just emerged from a General Election campaign which, because of the nature of the beast, centred around me. I am only too aware that the job is about serving the community. We do our best work when we don’t seek personal gratification from it, when we can genuinely work for the betterment of others. I would ask that we all remember that there are people in our community that are worse off than we are. As I look towards the coming year, I shall serve Inverclyde to the very best of my ability and respect the trust that the electorate have put in me. My office will be open on the 23rd, 27th and 30th of December and 3rd of January. We shall be accepting donations for the foodbank.
Peace, love and understanding throughout 2020 and beyond.
Samaritans: 116 123 free from any phone. My office address is 20 Crawfurd Street, Greenock, PA15 1LJ
Normal business has been resumed and I spend the morning in my constituency office before catching the midday flight to London. Most of the business of the day is procedural and I accompany some new Members round their induction. With the winter recess due to start we want everyone up to speed, sworn in and settled in their office before we break. Interspersed between the formal meetings there is a lot of catching up to do. And as contrary to rumours MPs are human there is a lot of comparing majorities and boasting of campaign successes. In the evening there is a social event to help new members get to know returning Members. It is not a late night as most people are still exhausted by their campaigns.
We go through the performance of electing the Speaker but as Lindsay Hoyle was elevated to that position two days before we broke for the general election it is just a formality. The longest serving members take their oath throughout the day. My office is up and running and new casework is starting to come in. Nothing has changed and Universal Credit continues to create problems for many. There is a lull in the number of Members being sworn in at around 8pm so I grab the opportunity and take the affirmation.
No business in the chamber today so it’s a day of catching up on a rapidly increasing flood of emails. The invitations to attend and host events has resumed, and my head has to make the journey from campaigning to keep my job to actually doing my job. Diary management is difficult at this time of year and compounded by the stop start nature of the UK parliament over the last six months. There will be no clear routine until the new year. In the mean-time rooms and events are booked somewhat speculatively.
The Queen’s speech is the first event of the day and the streets outside Parliament are parked up with large black cars identifiable by their diplomatic plates along with official embassy transport. Chauffeurs and bodyguards stand on the pavement looking rather uneasy. The police presence is highly visible and armed guards are to the fore. The real action was on the front benches as for some reason known only to them the Labour party decided to sit in SNP seats. It was all resolved when the Labour hierarchy told them to scoot. Normal service, or as normal as anything at Westminster, was resumed. After the usual pomp and circumstances of the State Opening we finally got down to debating.
A full day of debates on the Queen’s speech. The speech covers a wide range of topics from armed forces and climate change, to business rates and domestic abuse. The danger is that not enough time is given to these and that this Conservative and Unionist government railroad through change. I caught the 18:00 flight home. I shall be in my constituency until January the sixth. My office is open on the 23rd, 27th and 30th of December and the 3rd of January 2020.
After being re-elected at 2:30am on Friday morning I was in my office at 9am. That’s not me grandstanding. I was there because during the campaign I talked to many people that are experiencing issues under Universal Credit and I told them that if I was re-elected I would see them at the first opportunity. And I did.
During the coming months we are going to hear a lot about Brexit. It is a massive issue for all the nations of the United Kingdom. The outcome will affect us all but on a day to day basis many people are still scrambling just to survive. Poverty and deprivation are not always obvious. The effect they have on people can be masked. I know of many parents going without so their kids can eat. The social security system in Scotland is being changed by the SNP Scottish Government. This can’t happen overnight and it can’t happen to the extent we would want it to while 85% of the powers are retained at Westminster. Creating a system that acts as a safety net to protect people from poverty isn’t easy but it’s clear to see that our current manifestation of Universal Credit is not doing the job.
Among many other issues I shall be continuing to fight for a fairer social security system, reparation for the WASPI women, improved drug and gambling policies, the Nordic model for prostitution, medical cannabis and independence for Scotland. A Conservative and Unionist UK Government was never my first choice but to be honest it was never a choice to be made by the electorate of Scotland and people are waking up to the fact that Scotland gets what England votes for. Along with my SNP colleagues, I shall be working morning, noon and night to ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard. I stood on that promise and was elected on it, I shall now see that through with as much energy as can be mustered. Inverclyde and Scotland will be heard, and I thank the electorate of Inverclyde for giving me this opportunity.
The SNP published Alternative Queen’s Speech – a twelve-point plan to protect the NHS, end austerity, tackle the climate emergency, and ensure Scotland has the right to choose its own future in an independence referendum.
The ambitious programme to boost the economy, protect public services, tackle poverty, deliver real action on climate change, and respect Scotland’s right to choose, stands in stark contrast to the Tory Queen’s Speech, which would rip Scotland out of the EU and “take a wrecking ball” to public services, living standards, and the economy.
An Independence referendum; An NHS Protection Bill; A Parental Leave Expansion; An Equal Living Wage; A Social Security Reform Bill; A Women’s Pension Justice; A Climate Emergency Bill; A new Green Energy; A BBC Licence Fee Bill; An Electoral Franchise Expansion Bill; A House of Lords Abolition; A Trident Abolition Bill.
The SNP Alternative Queen’s Speech sets out our priorities to ensure Scotland’s right to choose our own future is respected, end austerity, boost our economy, and deliver real action to tackle the climate emergency.