02.03.21

Weekend 3 - Jackie Curran and Marie Nicholson

Members eating together
Author
Jackie Curran and Marie Nicolson

Friday 

We began as usual on Friday night.  After the welcome from Kate, we were introduced to Dr Chris McCorkindale from Strathclyde University who gave us an idea of what he wanted to speak about the next day. Next we heard from John Sturrock who will facilitate the discussion with the politicians. It was reassuring to hear that his expertise is in mediation and that we can see him tonight and ask him to put forward to the politicians any questions we are keen to have answered. We felt that this man was not politically motivated and that was very reassuring to us too. Off to bed now as tomorrow will be busy.

Saturday

Well Saturday was indeed busy! We met in our groups at 9am and Chris McCorkindale gave a presentation on how the UK operates with two governments and two parliaments. I can't remember what Marie found most interesting but I didn't know until then that the UK government could legislate in areas devolved to Scotland. Brexit and the implications for Scotland was also discussed. 

For the next part of the morning we moved to the auditorium where, as promised, John Sturrock introduced us to three MSPs (SNP, Conservative and Labour) and the co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party. The atmosphere was certainly more courteous than what we usually see when scenes from parliament appear on TV!!

This was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me. As I listened to what they had to say, I felt reassured that we were probably on track with what we as an assembly had decided so far and there was a real buzz in the air during the coffee break as everyone expressed their opinion on what they had heard. The afternoon session began in the auditorium where we heard three speakers discuss sustainability before we broke back into our groups to discuss what we had heard and what action is required to achieve the Scotland we wish to see. 

Sunday

That work continued on Sunday when each group presented their views to the Assembly.

By the end of the weekend it was evident that progress is being made and I don't think I'm the only one who's more committed to making a good job of this first Assembly. I was very concerned about some of what I heard about environmental issues. I found it helpful to stay in the same group all weekend and to have experts on hand during our discussions to clarify anything we weren't quite sure about. I'm also happy that we're going to have another opportunity to question politicians.