Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Tuesday's business

9.20pm on Tuesday night. Sitting at my desk in parly thinking I'll go and get my dinner now. But then I remember my resolve to do regular, if short, updates. The blog is supposed to be about the work of an MSP and I think it will give you a better idea (those of you who are not already MSPs!) of what we're up to if I do lots of wee posts. So, not sure how interesting it is to hear this but here's what I've done today.

This morning I wrote up some notes on various meetings I've been at recently. Didn't get it finished but made progress. I often find I have time to go to the meetings and then it's a fortnight before I even get time to think about it again. I did that from home seeing as there's still no room for me in the Glasgow office.

I headed through to parliament for the Petitions Committee meeting at 12. Caught up with some emails although you never ACTUALLY do catch up. One day. One day. Petitions Committee discussed 3 different petitions from Glasgow schools campaigners and some intriguing insights gleaned there but I can't share them with you because there might be some rule about always being nice about fellow committee members. Need to check that one out though. Anyway the petitioners were not invited to give evidence to the committee so they asked Bob Doris to do it for them as MSPs are allowed to do that for any petition.

Must've been another 25 petitions to consider and the one that was invited to give evidence was calling for "Changing Places" toilets to be available in all towns with more than 15,000 people. The petitioner, Linda Burke, described how it was very difficult for her family to go out for more than an hour or two with their 30 year old daughter Jenny. Jenny has real mobility problems and to get her onto a toilet needs lifting equipment. What many people don't realise is that "disabled toilets" or "accessible toilets" as most folk prefer to call them, are not the same thing. Anyway it was interesting and the committee agreed to press on with the petition.

There were loads more and at the end a reminder from the clerk that 4 of us had agreed to do a satellite link up with the parliament in Canberra next Wednesday morning at 8.45am. I was laughing at those who'd been daft enough to agree when he told me I was one of them!

So, the meeting finished at 5, I'd time to return some calls, delete some new emails (just kidding, I mean READ emails), reply to some invitations etc before heading to a brilliant event in Committee Room 5. More on this later but my colleague (and friend) Linda Fabiani was hosting a talk by MAF which is Mission Aviation Fellowship. Basically they get into hard to reach remote areas in developing countries around the world. They work in partnership with lots of other humanitarian organisations. And that's all I'm saying because later in the week I'll do a fuller posting and put up some pics.

Anyway that finished at 8 but you always get chatting to people and it was just before 9 when I got back here. I had a chat with Linda about various things - it was good because you rarely get time to talk to other MSPs and it helps me being the newest one, to hear from others who've been here a bit longer. And then for the last 20 minutes I've been writing what I started off saying was going to be a very short blog posting! So now, I'm off to make my dinner. Staying over thankfully because I need to be in for 8am. Mind you, when I was a researcher here, I often worked this late and often had to be in early and I never had the luxury of staying over and not having to pay for it. So I shall not complain. I shall just go and appreciate my good fortune and my dinner!

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