We need to take action to regulate short-term let market

Andy Wightman MSP Fri 11 Aug

This week, I was fortunate to catch-up on a film, which celebrates the life of one of America’s greatest urbanists, Jane Jacobs. In a similar vein to Sir Patrick Geddes, Jacobs’ revolutionised how we think about cities as living organisms. Moreover, her pioneering spirit and acute observations brought together policy and practice and it got me thinking about how we manage cities in Scotland.

We need to have zero tolerance for those who discriminate

Patrick Harvie MSP Fri 4 Aug

Much has been made this summer of the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which began to partially decriminalise same-sex relationships. Those caveats are important of course: the Act didn’t apply in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or indeed to a great many people beyond a precisely defined exemption from prosecution.

Indefensible that we are still allowed to assault our children

John Finnie MSP Fri 28 Jul

"There are some things where Scotland is doing very, very well and there are some things that are absolutely shocking, where Scotland is coming last in the world. We still in Scotland say that it's okay for a parent or carer to assault a child for the purpose of physical punishment. I think it really goes against the basic values that we hold in Scotland in terms of human dignity and respect for children.”

These recent comments by Bruce Adamson, Scotland's new children's commissioner, underline the need to revisit our outdated attitude towards smacking.

Repeal Bill is a threat to democracy and a power grab too far

Ross Greer MSP Fri 21 Jul

The much awaited draft Repeal Bill has now been published. This is the most important bit of legislation relating to Brexit.

It will repeal the European Communities Act 1972, transferring most EU laws into UK law, and give government ministers in London and Edinburgh extensive powers to amend, repeal and even create new laws without the normal parliamentary process.

No-one should face financial hardship due to the care they need or the care they give

Alison Johnstone MSP Fri 14 Jul

“I am worried sick about these charges and am falling into a depression myself.”

Just one of the responses to a consultation on extending free personal care to people under-65 with debilitating conditions such as dementia.

Maureen’s words bring home the reality for far too many people. She says she has been forced to give up work to look after her husband because of the high cost of someone else doing it but says that without wages she can’t afford the upkeep of specialist equipment including a bed, toilet and mobility scooter.

Holyrood Palace planning application prompts questions of fairness & transparency

Andy Wightman MSP Fri 7 Jul

The Queen arrived at Holyrood Palace last weekend to the news that a planning application for ten short term letting apartments and an education centre together with other improvements to the Palace had been approved under delegated powers by officers of the City of Edinburgh Council. The developments on the Abbey Strand will displace a bookshop and stores currently occupied and operated by Historic Environment Scotland.

Welfare cuts report shows why we must do things differently

Alison Johnstone MSP Fri 30 Jun

This week's Scottish Government report, highlighted by Patrick Harvie at First Minister's Questions, on the impact of UK welfare reforms makes for very sobering reading. It shows that a very large number of reforms – including, but not limited to the freeze on the value of benefits; the two-child limit on Child Tax Credits; the Benefit Cap; the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance for most claimants, and the Bedroom Tax – are removing thousands of pounds from Scottish households, many of them containing our very poorest and most vulnerable people.

Securing the Rights of EU Citizens

Ross Greer MSP Wed 28 Jun

The UK Government has now published further details to its announcement on the rights of EU citizens after Brexit. I had posed 8 immediate questions that needed to be answered by this further announcement. The details published today provide some answers to my questions.

8 questions the UK Government must answer on EU citizens

Ross Greer MSP Fri 23 Jun

It is one year since England and Wales voted for Brexit and finally Theresa May has made an announcement on EU citizens living here. Yet the announcement falls far short of what is needed.

Our values are in the dock over the issue of dogs' tails

Mark Ruskell MSP Fri 23 Jun

Gandhi once said that ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’

This quote has shone down the decades and even in times of bigger political questions, the needs of the smallest, voiceless creatures provide a reflection of our values and how we carry ourselves.

Since devolution there have been key moments where that reflection has taken place. The ban on fox hunting with dogs and the foot and mouth disease crisis caused us to think hard about our relationship and responsibilities to the animal world. 

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