Funny who you meet in the Scottish Parliament!

Mr QOn a recent visit to Holyrood, MSP for Dunfermline Bill Walker bumped into a few interesting characters in the parliament’s hallways… And being a politician he, of course, did not miss out on the photo opportunity!

Fife Councillor for Lochgelly and Cardenden, Ian Chisholm, had been attending First Minister’s Question Time along with Tam Livingstone, a well known local activist and community campaigner.  Afterwards, the pair met fellow Fifer, Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, who treated them to lunch.  Luckily for Ian and Tam, there were a couple of far more interesting encounters to come. Read more of this post

West Fife Villages youth volunteers visit Scottish Parliament

08Mar2013 003Young volunteers from West Fife Villages have enjoyed a visit to the Scottish Parliament – including a tour, photos with Commonwealth Games mascot Clyde and last minute tickets to watch First Minister’s Questions – following an invitation from local MSP Bill Walker.

The group, from Oakley, High Valleyfield and Blairhall, included pupils of Queen Anne and St Columba’s RC High Schools, volunteers on the Blairhall MUGA project, and recipients of the Democracy and Citizenship Award and Fife Council Youth Work Oscars.

The visit came about after Dunfermline MSP Mr Walker invited Anne Farrell and Claire Dunlop to Parliament after they won, respectively, West Fife Citizen of the Year and West Fife Young Citizen of the Year. He extended the invitation to the youth volunteers at the request of Community Education Worker Corrine McGinley. Read more of this post

West Fife minister addresses Scottish Parliament at Time for Reflection

Rev Jayne Scott & Rev Dr Martin Scott 1West Fife Minister, the Rev Dr Martin Scott, recently addressed members of the Scottish Parliament at their weekly Time for Reflection. Dr Scott is Secretary of the Ministries Council of the Church of Scotland and lives in Culross, where wife, Jayne, is Minister at Culross Abbey.

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, who proposed Rev Scott to the Presiding Officer as a speaker, said:

“I was pleased to welcome Martin and Jayne to the Parliament. Martin’s words were thought-provoking and appropriate both for Parliament and for the wider social context. Read more of this post

Woodmill High School sixth-former addresses the haggis at Scottish Parliament Burns Supper

Burns Night 014Over 50 Scotland-based consuls-general joined MSPs, including Dunfermline’s Bill Walker, in the Scottish Parliament for the annual Consular Corps Burns Supper last Wednesday.

Mr Walker said: “It was a pleasure to meet representatives from as far afield as China and Rwanda. However, the highlight of the evening was the ‘Address to the Haggis’, given with great panache by Woodmill High School sixth-former, Miss Esther Garrow. Word and pitch perfect, Esther entertained the company with aplomb, including a daring knife display in which she despatched the haggis!  The international guests certainly enjoyed her contribution. Read more of this post

Parliamentary Conduct

The behaviour of MSPs in Parliament has deteriorated to such an extent that not only has First Minister’s Questions on Thursdays become half-an-hour of ritualised invective from political leaders, but this atmosphere has seeped into Chamber debates, such as the recent one on college education, and even committees.

Politicians name-call across the Chamber and while asking or taking questions. The latest tactic is to persistently question human errors for which an MSP has clearly apologised. Disrespect has extended to bad-mouthing the Presiding Officer in the chair, previously unheard of. Read more of this post

Public Service Pensions Bill

Many of my constituents have contacted me about the Public Service Pensions Bill being considered at Westminster. This will require the Scottish Parliament to bring public sector pension schemes into line with those in England and Wales, even where this does not reflect Scottish circumstances. To quote a letter: this is “unwarranted interference by the Treasury in Scottish provisions”.

Public sector workers who have responsibly paid over the years into a pension have had their confidence undermined. They want the Scottish Parliament to have regulatory powers so a remote Westminster Treasury cannot “narrowly prescribe the scope of those negotiations or change the rules at will.” Read more of this post

Parliamentary Moves

The Scottish Parliament was certainly abuzz last week. Not only did we officially reconvene after the summer recess, but Alex Salmond announced his surprise Cabinet re-shuffle, which has involved a big move of Scottish Government personnel.

Of particular interest to Fifers will be Alex Neil’s move from Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment where, among other things, he oversaw progress on the new Forth Bridge, a project that appears well underway. Read more of this post