I’m a 70 year old retired primary teacher. I’ve lived in Glasgow all my life and have three children and six grandchildren. My four siblings live in Glasgow as do my two daughters and their families. My son and his family live in England. I have many groups of friends and a busy social life. Walking is my favourite pastime and doing the 500 mile walk from France to Santiago de Compostela.
I’ve never been particularly interested in politics but was curious when I was recruited. It seemed to me that I was being given a chance to help create a country my grandchildren would want to live in as adults.
Probably the first thing that’s memorable was realising that we were indeed a diverse group which had been fairly selected. Second would be the superb organisation of the workshops and the feeling of equality among EVERYONE involved. In spite of my political ignorance, I didn’t feel inferior (or superior) to any other person in the room. The secretariat and all the heid bummers are doing an amazing job in that respect! I loved the respect members showed to each other, the way ideas were thrashed out and whittled down until hundreds of ideas became a dozen or so which were most important to the majority ( who would have thought that could be done), I was surprised at how mentally exhausted I was at the end of Saturday nights and when I got home on Sundays. Most memorable will be the warmth of feeling among everyone involved.
I’ve learned lots but please don’t ask what I’ve retained! I do have notes though. From the first or second assembly I was amazed that so many people were unaware of the difference a postcode made in life expectancy of people in Glasgow. I worked in the poorest area (Shettleston) and was well aware that many didn’t reach pension age. Even then I heard stories from members who had experience of receiving benefits and those who were just above the mark for receiving them and was horrified. I learned a great deal from the Green Party speaker and was extremely angry about much of what I heard about the tax system in this country.
Some things I want to see change as a result of our Assembly:
• A fair tax system.
• Good council housing which can be sold to long term tenants at a fair price with the proceeds being invested in the building of more houses.
• Financial power given to local areas so that they can prioritise spending where most needed.
• Green issues taken seriously
• Politicians working together for common good. Less arguing for the sake of it.
• No talk of referendum until we have recovered from the effects of Covid and another generation IS here
This list could be endless but let’s get rid of all forms of bigotry, educate our children well and accept they don’t all need to go to further education. We can’t all be brain surgeons. We need people to sweep our streets and take up apprenticeships! Every job is important and we need people to take a pride in Scotland knowing that they contribute to its greatness and are valued for doing so.