“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.” This famous quote from Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá in Colombia, is a bumper sticker we should be paying a bit more attention to.
Bus services are one of the biggest issues for hundreds of thousands of people in every corner of this country and it is exactly the kind of issue that MSPs’ constituents expect us to get to grips with.
Coul Links, on the south side of Loch Fleet in East Sutherland, is one of the last areas of undisturbed species rich duneland in Scotland. RSPB Scotland describes it as “a mosaic of different dune habitats, each individually important and all increasingly rare.”
Last weekend at our autumn conference our members overwhelmingly backed an updated transport policy which aims to enable higher levels of walking and cycling - otherwise known as active travel - in Scotland. It means we are leading the change towards tackling the rising costs to the NHS of diseases caused by air pollution and inactivity, while also reducing congestion and making our roads safer.
Rail passengers in Scotland will see another rise in regulated rail fares from January next year, this time by 3.6%. So when I heard that the Scottish Government was to announce a transport policy aimed at reducing fares, I thought great! Only, this wasn’t for public transport, but airline tickets.
"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These recent comments by Bruce Adamson, Scotland's new children's commissioner, underline the need to revisit our outdated attitude towards smacking.
I’m sure all of us want Scotland to be among the most progressive, socially just, and equal nations in the world. We all want our children to be happy, healthy and to give them the very best start in life. Yet in 2017, we still afford children less protection from assault than adults.
Scotland cannot be thought of as the best place in the world for children to grow up while our law gives children less protection from assault than everyone else. We know conclusively that permitting the physical punishment of children can be detrimental to children’s long term health and wellbeing.
They say travel broadens the mind. And we could do with some broader thinking at this time. A narrow-minded Tory Prime Minister has called a General Election right in the middle of a vital local election campaign. That tells you all you need to know about how little the Tories value local council services.
John Finnie MSP, Justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (9 March) commented on the "sorry affair" of the failed national IT system for Police Scotland, after Audit Scotland said the project leaves an urgent need to deliver improvements.
Audit Scotland says the i6 project collapsed due to a loss of trust between those involved.