Holyrood Highlights: The normal folk’s guide to Tuesday in parliament


Yes, we know parliamentary jargon is boring, so we’re breaking it all down for our readers and getting to the point

AS THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT really gets down to business on Tuesday, brave attempts will once more be made to grapple with the impact of a looming Brexit, no doubt with hope and optimism and very little banging of heads against walls.

Elsewhere, a bill intended to bring about gender equality on Scotland’s public boards reaches the next stage of becoming law and Labour MSP Johann Lamont brings attention to Scotland’s poor survival rate for those who suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospital. For more details, read on. You can’t wait, can you?

Committee business

Brexit continues to be a cause for concern for the Scottish Parliament’s myriad committees, which take evidence from experts, examine legislation and conduct inquiries away from the Chamber’s hue and cry (not the band, unless Pat Kane’s visiting).

The Justice Committee today will be taking evidence on how Brexit, and the accompanying removal of EU legislation, might affect family, commercial and consumer law.

Meanwhile, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee will today be preparing its recommendations to the Scottish Government on the environmental implications of leaving the EU. There’s probably nothing to worry about. Nothing to see here…

Parliamentary business

In the Chamber this afternoon, the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill will enter into stage three, where the bill is examined by parliament and amendments can be added. If the bill is passed and not challenged in the following four weeks, it will then be submitted by the parliament’s presiding officer for Royal Assent – which basically means the Queen gives it the rubber stamp of approval. We may live in a democracy, but our monarchy is still technically at the top of the tree.

The bill in question aims to ensure that 50 per cent of the non-executive members of Scotland’s public boards – such as those of colleges and universities – are women, and that steps are taken to encourage women to become members of such boards. Equalities Minister Angela Constance has commented: “Women’s voices need to be heard, and they need to shape the decisions that are made in Scotland’s boardrooms and impact on our services.”

Later, Johann Lamont caps off the day with member’s business seeking recognition for the campaign by St Andrew’s First Aid, Scotland’s only dedicated national first aid charity.

Lamont’s MB follows the publication of the Scottish OHCA Data Linkage Project, delivered by the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government and supported by the Scottish Ambulance Service and National Services Scotland. The project examines the survival rates for those who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Scotland.

The report indicates that those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas are twice as likely to have an OHCA as their more affluent neighbours, and that survival rates in Scotland following OHCA are estimated at between six and eight per cent, compared to the European average of 10.2 per cent. This puts Scotland’s survival rates among the lowest in Europe.

Events and visits

Tuesday also sees the beginning of ‘Uncovering the Wisdom of Hijab’, a three-day event sponsored by Angus MacDonald MSP and presented by Al Masaar, a Falkirk community group described as responding to the “changing face of the Muslim community”. Al Masaar aims to provide a positive understanding and awareness of Islam, particularly ahead of World Hijab day on 1 February.

Finally, Together – an alliance of Scottish children’s charities that works to improve awareness, understanding and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC), will present a day-long event sponsored by Maree Todd MSP on the UNCRC in Scotland, ahead of the annual State of Children’s Rights report, which every year looks at whether enough is being done to protect the rights of children in Scotland.

And where better to discuss children’s rights that the Scottish Parliament, where schoolchildren are daily marched against their will, so they can sit quietly and watch people they cannot vote for determine their future?

Picture courtesy of dun_deagh

Look at how important CommonSpace has become, and how vital it is for the future #SupportAReporter