Parliament is on its two week Easter Recess and I’ve taken the chance to get out in the constituency, meeting local businesses and community groups. It’s always a delight to visit Methilhill Community Children’s Initiative to hear about the amazing work they’re doing with local young people. On this occasion I also heard about some of the exciting plans they have for the future. I had a very interesting visit to Kingdom Off Road Motorcycle Club who started in Levenmouth and have recently taken over the motocross track near Cardenden. They provide a safe place for young (and sometimes not so young) people to enjoy their sport without causing a disturbance to others.
We’re expecting the current session of parliament to be “prorogued” in late April with the new session beginning a couple of weeks later with the Queen’s Speech. This means the government have to try and get all their remaining legislation rammed through parliament before the end of the session. In the last two weeks before recess the government voted down amendments that would have avoided some of the more draconian powers in legislation such as the Police, Crime & Courts Bill which will make it illegal to be noisy during a demonstration and the Nationality & Borders Bill which could make it illegal to rescue refugees from the Channel. In all these cases the vast majority of Scotland’s MPs voted against the government but the legislation is being foisted on us anyway.
Parliament has taken the rare step of ordering the government to release details of discussions about the appointment of Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a former KGB officer to the house of lords. It’s also emerged that when he was foreign secretary Boris Johnson was a regular guest of Mr Lebedev in several of his luxury homes and there are reliable reports that the UK security services were far from happy about this. It’s yet another example of the deeply unhealthy relationship between the Tories and Russian billionaires.
Millions of people across the UK are in serious trouble trying to cope with escalating fuel and food bills. I visited Glenrothes foodbank last week and they’re experiencing near record demand for their services. They expect this to increase again when they go back to allowing in person visits to the foodbank (they operated a delivery only service during the worst of the pandemic). It’s scandalous that this is happening in one of the wealthiest and most energy rich countries in the world.
This week Christians around the world are marking Holy Week which culminates in Easter Sunday, the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. This weekend also marks the start of the great Jewish festival of Passover, while Muslims have already entered the holy month of Ramadan. For many people Easter has no religious significance but they still look forward to some time off with family and friends to enjoy the coming of spring. Whatever it means to you, Happy Easter to everyone.