The Week Ahead (11th November-17th November)

This Parliamentary week began with work in the constituency office on Monday, followed by a Hogmanay launch on Tuesday morning, and the usual parliamentary team meeting.  In the afternoon, I’ll be attending a meeting ahead of the Members’ Business Debate on Moray Library closures as well as our weekly Independent/Green Group meeting.  The rest of my afternoon will be busy, with two further meetings and a speaking slot in the City of Culture debate at Parliament.  I’ll end Tuesday with a visit to the Edinburgh Napier University Merchiston Campus.

On Wednesday, I’ll begin with my usual attendance of the Finance Committee, of which I am a member.  In the afternoon, I’ll be attending an information session with Scottish Water, then going to the University of Strathclyde to chair a session of an event on the Constitution of an Independent Scotland.  I’ll be back in Edinburgh to attend a Visit Scotland event at the Parliament, then a Polish-Scottish multimedia showcase opening.

Thursday will begin with an STV breakfast reception, followed by meetings with various organisations.  In the afternoon, I’ll be attending an event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, another on levels of debt in Scotland, and the Stage 3 debate on the Independence Referendum Bill.

On Friday I’ll be in Forres for the A96 duelling exhibition, and then travelling back to Ullapool for the launch of Lesley Riddoch’s new book, Blossom.

Motion: Gavin Wallace

Motion S4M-05639: Jean Urquhart, Highlands and Islands, Independent, Date Lodged: 14/02/2013

Gavin Wallace
That the Parliament notes with sadness the passing of Dr Gavin Wallace, portfolio manager for literature, publishing and language at Creative Scotland; understands that Gavin began his career at the literary magazineCencrastus in 1991, becoming the co-editor of the Edinburgh Review in 1994; further understands that Gavin was then hired by the Scottish Arts Council in August 1997, going on to become head of literature for eight years before taking on his role at Creative Scotland; considers that the outpouring of tributes from the arts world demonstrates the respect and affection held for Gavin and his dedication to promoting and encouraging Scottish literature;  believes that Scotland has tragically lost a passionate and able advocate of its literary culture, and passes on its condolences to Gavin’s partner, Pauline, and sons, Patrick and Alasdair.

Motion: Centenary of Robin Jenkins’ Birth

Centenary of Robin Jenkins’ Birth
That the Parliament acknowledges that 11 September 2012 marks the centenary of the birth of the author, Robin Jenkins; notes that his writing examined social hypocrisy and the ambiguities of morality, integrity and idealism; understands that, in addition to his published works, Mr Jenkins was known for his status as a conscientious objector and his membership of the Independent Labour Party; believes that, as with too many talented individuals, Mr Jenkins’ contribution to the arts and society in Scotland was not acknowledged until the end of his life; welcomes what it considers the belated recognition conferred on Mr Jenkins by his appointment as an OBE in 1999 and being presented with the Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002, and, to mark this centenary, recommends reading what it considers his landmark work, The Cone Gatherers.

Press Release: Jean Urquhart Welcomes National Celebration of Reading (June 20th)

Jean Urquhart MSP today welcomed the announcement by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop of the first ever Book Week Scotland, a national celebration of reading taking place from November 26th -December 2nd this year.

An avid reader, Jean Urquhart commented:

“I am delighted to see that the Scottish Government has initiated a week celebrating our literary heritage. Harnessing our talent, both past and present, to promote reading as a positive activity, is a welcome step that will help us to continue to benefit socially, economically and culturally from Scotland’s rich seam of talent.

“I am equally pleased to learn that there will be a range of free events and projects held throughout Book Week. It is important that as many people as possible across Scotland are able to participate in these events to grow or rediscover their love of literature.

 “I would also urge everybody to submit an entry for the ‘My Favourite Places’ anthology being published as part of Book Week Scotland. Whether it be from childhood memories or from a regular holiday destination, there are corners of Scotland that will always be special to us. I hope to see a wide range of areas, including many in my own region of the Highlands and Islands, included in the final anthology.

“I hope that my parliamentary motion celebrating this announcement will draw support from across the Chamber, and that we can join together in celebrating and making a success of this inaugural event.”

Motion: BBC’s Crime Drama, Shetland

BBC’s Crime Drama, Shetland
That the Parliament welcomes the decision of BBC One to commission a two-part crime drama, Shetland, based on the murder mystery novels of Ann Cleeves; understands that the drama has been adapted for the small screen by David Kane, who has also worked on other Scottish crime story adaptations, namely Taggart and Rebus; considers the production to be an excellent opportunity to showcase Shetland’s natural landscape; further considers the dramatisation to be a potential boost to the local economy; urges the production team to use as many local people and businesses as possible in the process of filming; believes that the commission will highlight Scotland and Shetland’s strong cultural heritage, and looks forward to watching the drama later in 2012.

Supported by: Mary Scanlon, Joe FitzPatrick, Rob Gibson, John Finnie, Adam Ingram, Annabelle Ewing, John Mason, Joan McAlpine, Humza Yousaf, Drew Smith, Kevin Stewart, Anne McTaggart, David Torrance, Mike MacKenzie, Margaret Burgess, Jamie McGrigor, Bill Kidd, Dennis Robertson, Jamie Hepburn, Dave Thompson, Colin Beattie, Gil Paterson, Sandra White, Rhoda Grant, David Stewart, Willie Coffey, Angus MacDonald, Stewart Maxwell

Motion: Book Week Scotland

Book Week Scotland
That the Parliament celebrates the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs of Scotland’s first ever Book Week; understands that this will take place between 26 November and 2 December 2012; welcomes the news that the various projects and events taking place that week will be free, thus widening the possibility for participation by all; encourages the public to submit its favourite places for inclusion in an anthology of writing called My Favourite Places as part of Book Week Scotland; recognises the social, educational and cultural benefits of encouraging all of Scotland to take up or continue reading as a leisure activity; believes Scotland’s wealth of literary and creative talent to be one of its great strengths, and looks forward to these strengths being promoted as part of Book Week Scotland.

Supported by: John Mason, John Finnie, Annabelle Ewing, Kevin Stewart, Margaret Burgess, Roderick Campbell, Fiona McLeod, Hanzala Malik, Liam McArthur, Anne McTaggart, Dennis Robertson, Kenneth Gibson, Mike MacKenzie, Bill Kidd, Mark McDonald, Dave Thompson, Joe FitzPatrick, Aileen McLeod, Adam Ingram, Jamie Hepburn, Gil Paterson, Richard Lyle, Joan McAlpine, Bob Doris, Colin Beattie, Paul Wheelhouse, Chic Brodie, Rhoda Grant, Stuart McMillan, James Dornan, Maureen Watt, Alison Johnstone, Stewart Maxwell