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SNP Sets Westminster Agenda

The SNP at Westminster had a rare chance to set the agenda last week when one day’s business was allocated as an “opposition Day”. We started with a four-hour debate on the cost of living crisis in which we asked Parliament to support such steps as reinstating the £25 uplift on Universal Credit, put pressure on major supermarkets to make sure that when wholesale prices fall these savings are passed on to customers, and to call for an inquiry into supermarket food pricing and possible profiteering. Despite the fact that the cost of living is by far the biggest issue affecting people today the “official” Labour opposition failed to find a single backbench MP who wanted to speak in the debate. When it came to the vote neither Labour nor the Liberal Democrats bothered to turn up.

Labour also failed to support our second debate on the Public Order Act. In my last column I wrote about my concerns, which a lot of constituents have emailed me about, that the new Act will be used to make it harder for people to exercise their democratic right to protest. I got the chance to make a brief speech in which I pointed out that although the Act itself doesn’t apply in Scotland we still have the right to protest outside Westminster about the decisions Westminster imposes on us against our will. Decisions on such things as nuclear weapons, dubious covid contracts or the raid on WASPI women’s pensions are made in London and anybody who wants to go to London to protest about them should be allowed to do so without having to worry about being arrested for walking too slow, shouting too loud or just standing beside the wrong person in a crowd.

I had a very informative visit to the new(ish) offices of Seescape, in Glenrothes recently. Seescape, has had several names during its 159 year history, most recently being known as the Fife Society for The Blind. It was fascinating to talk to Lesley, their Chief Executive, and see some of the amazing help they can give to people who are wholly or partially blind so they can live their lives as close as possible to the way a sighted person does. If you or anyone in your family is affected by sight loss and want to speak to someone at Seescape you can either phone 01592 644979 or call in (no appointment needed) to unit H, Newark Road North, Glenrothes KY7 4NT.

I attended a short but very moving ceremony to dedicate the refurbished memorial to the five boys from Markinch who were among the 66 people who lost their lives in the Ibrox Disaster in 1971. As well as a good turnout from the local community and from a number of Rangers Supporters’ Clubs (Rangers supporters from all over the world donated to the project) the event was attended by several Gers legends of the time.

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