A FAIFLEY man has been selected as the local hero for Clydebank and Milngavie parliamentary constituency.
Brian Rocks, chairman of West Dunbartonshire Epileptic Support Group, will attend the opening of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday, June 2.
The 53-year-old has been praised by Gil Paterson MSP for his "amazing" work in raising awareness of epilepsy.
He said: "I am very proud to have nominated Brian for the incredible work he's been doing to help others living with epilepsy. He's been an amazing proponent for the causes of Epilepsy Awareness within West Dunbartonshire and Scotland.
"Brian has led campaigns dispelling myths surrounding epilepsy, using his own experiences to the benefit of others.
"His campaigning has also led to training sessions, involving local police and fire officers, in assisting those suffering from epilepsy and to expand their knowledge of the symptoms of epilepsy and the similarities it has to other conditions.
"Brian is a stand out citizen and a hero who deserves to be recognised for his work, and that is why I have nominated him."
GIL Paterson MSP speaks out on Friday, June 27 2016 the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, but Scotland as a nation, voted overwhelmingly to remain. Gil conveys his thoughts on video in Clydebank on Friday afternoon:
THE INDEPENDENCE supporters of Clydebank and Milngavie must now rally together after Nicola Sturgeon announced a second referendum is on the table.
We pledged in our manifesto to support a second referendum on Scottish independence if we were dragged out of the EU against our will.
I was up all night watching the coverage and the result was absolutely tragic for the whole of the United Kingdom.
However, I am so proud of my constituency and all other parts of Scotland for their landslide support of remaining in the EU.
This irreversible decision by people mostly in England has changed the United Kingdom forever.
I appeal to everyone in Clydebank and Milngavie, and especially those who voted no in the 2014 referendum, to rally around Scotland remaining inside the EU as an independent nation.
The EU referendum has proven that Scotland can unite in one cause so let’s do it again for all the best reasons.
Today Nicola Sturgeon gave a statement on the outcome of the EU referendum. She set out what action the Scottish Government will now take to safeguard our future in Europe, following the unequivocal vote for Scotland to remain in the EU.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014.
During the 2014 referendum we were told that only a No vote would guarantee that Scotland would remain in the EU - this has proved not to be the case. We believe this is a democratically unacceptable situation.
2. We will take all possible steps and explore all options to secure Scotland’s continuing place in the EU and in the single market in particular.
We are clear that the Scottish Government must be fully involved in all decisions about the next steps the UK Government takes. The Scottish Government will also seek discussions with the EU institutions and its member states, including the earliest possible meeting with the President of the European Commission.
3. The Scottish Government will begin to prepare the required legislation to enable a new independence referendum - if and when Parliament so decides.
When the process for the UK to leave the EU begins in three months time, it is expected to take two years to leave. If the Scottish Parliament decides that a second referendum is the best or only way to protect our place in Europe, it must have the option to hold one within that timescale.
The need to act decisively will be tempered with the need to build consensus. While many people who voted No in 2014 are reassessing their decision, we will not simply assume their support - we will be straight and honest with them.
4. For citizens of other EU countries living here in Scotland - you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.
The Remain vote in Scotland was won by a campaign that was positive about the EU and about the benefits of migration. Scotland has voted to renew its reputation as an outward looking, open and inclusive country.
5. Our business community can be reassured that as of now we remain firmly in the EU.
Trade and business should continue as normal - we are determined that Scotland will continue to be an attractive and stable place to do business.
MEMBERSHIP of the European Union is in Clydebank, Milngavie and the whole of Scotland’s best interests, Gil Paterson writes.
While admittedly it needs reforms, the EU is main destination for Scotland’s international exports.
As citizens of the EU we are able to travel freely throughout Europe. Should we leave, we risk ending that freedom of work, study and travel without the need for visas.
I want Scotland to have a louder voice in Europe and an increase contribution to EU policy making.
Rather than being a voice on the outside we should persist and be a voice for change within the EU.
Leaving the EU puts the people of Scotland at the mercy of Britain’s most anti-working class politicians.
When it comes to workers’ rights, immigration and welfare their attitude is appalling. The EU is a welcomed safeguard.
Top Tory Boris Johnson has used the referendum campaign as a springboard for his political career. It is now clear he will be the next Prime Minister when David Cameron is forced to resign after a vote for Brexit.
Key players like Nigel Farage have risen to prominence and will only be defeated with a strong vote to remain in. He and his associates have fanned the flames of fear against foreign people living and working in the UK to their own advantage.
In the increasingly likely event Scotland votes to remain inside the EU and the rest of the UK votes to leave, we could be looking at a boost for Scottish independence.
I am highly supportive of another referendum for Scotland’s membership of the UK if we are pulled out of the EU.
I do not want to see hard working people from across Europe deported by the anti-immigration policies underpinning the leave campaign. Getting rid of Europeans living and working here will not solve problems in our society.
If we leave we must prepare for the very real prospect that Scots working and living across the EU will be sent home against their will.
I understand the anger people feel against the tough times we live in but breaking from the European family is not the answer.
GIL Paterson MSP made a speech in the parliament on early years during the Scotland's Children debate yesterday.
Here's the speech - thought he may have altered and improvised parts of what he said in the live oration.
Thank you very much Presiding Officer.
As this is my first speech in this new session of Parliament, can I take this opportunity to welcome all the new members here and I look forward to their contributions over the coming term and so far I am very impressed.
I’m not one for singling out Presiding Officer, however one member of this chamber has already singled me out and I would be pleased to return the favour.
My former staff member, now MSP for Strathkelvin & Bearsden, Rona Mackay is a member of a strong group of a new and larger intake of women here in Session 5, a great example to many girls across Scotland that if you want to be the best, then you can be.
One important aspect I feel is needed to make the best of yourself is education, early years in particular.
Access to high quality childcare gives our youngest people the best start in education and can help parents return to work.
Since 2007, this SNP Government have increased free early learning and childcare by almost half – a 45% increase from 412.5 hours under Labour, to 600 hours now.
Every year since expanding the availability of free early learning and childcare, approximately one hundred and twenty thousand children aged 3 and 4 and their families have benefited.
I want to touch on a few of the announcements highlighted by the Minister that particularly will benefit my own constituency of Clydebank & Milngavie.
I was pleased during the election to hear from our First Minister of the announcement that all new parents will be entitled to a baby box, containing essential items for a child’s first weeks. This of course is being adapted from the successful Finnish model.
So this isn’t about reinventing the wheel or coming up with the next new expensive idea. The baby box has a proven record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents and I’m pleased once again that this government is taking successful ideas from abroad and adapting them for Scotland.
Equally this government is maintaining its position as a listening government and bringing parents onboard on this policy to gather their views on shaping its contents and the best way to deliver it.
One of the hardships I see on a regular basis at my surgeries is the plight of young mothers looking for the best for their children.
These young mothers usually have little to no income and are much dependent on family. However their love for their children is very much present and I am pleased that this government will use its new social security powers to introduce a Maternity and Early Years Allowance.
Many of the mothers I come across usually have more than one child and the reintroduction of the grant of £300 for second and subsequent children is a very much welcomed announcement and will go far to assist many of my constituents.
You realise on meeting mothers who had their first child at such a young age just how important the support mechanisms they had played on their own development as well as for their children.
One such mechanism for many mothers in my constituency is the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP).
The partnership offers intensive and structured home visiting, delivered by specially trained nurses, from early pregnancy until the child is 2.
It has 3 aims: to improve pregnancy outcomes; child health and development; and parents' economic self sufficiency.
It is quite gratifying to see that the Family Nurse Partnership programme is being expanded to vulnerable, first time mothers aged 20-24 and extended to include more children at risk of moving into care with initial further investment of £4 million.
It is gratifying because two of the programme’s first pilot areas was in both East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire, covering my constituency.
By 2014, the programme was supporting 200 young pregnant women across West and East Dunbartonshire as well as Glasgow. The success in 2014 meant the programme was expanded to East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire and by the end of 2018 it will be available for every eligible first time teenage mother across Scotland.
Presiding Officer we all want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up.
By investing in early years we can ensure that all children have the best start in life and are able to succeed and therefore hopefully in 20 or so years time, benefiting from the best start in early years, having 129 of these children right here in this Parliament making future decisions for the next group of young people.
Presiding Officer, I commend the Minister’s motion to Parliament.
JUNE 16, 2016 - A REPORTER recently asked Gil Paterson MSP to clarify the reason he abstained from a vote on fracking earlier this month.
Gil does not support fracking and abstained from the non-binding vote because he supports the Scottish Government taking time to gather its evidence to prevent a legal challenge from energy corporations. They would likely take the government to court should they barge ahead with a fracking ban without taking time and effort to support a ban.
Gil believes the evidence will show fracking to be a danger to people's health, properties and the environment.
Gil Paterson MSP: “I am completely opposed to fracking. I personally believe the damage it could do to public health and the environment is enormous.
“However, I support the Scottish Government taking a cautious, considered and evidence-based approach to fracking.
“By gathering robust evidence on the health and environmental impacts I believe we will have a solid case to stopping it.
“While there is a vast amount of evidence out there on fracking, the Scottish Government still has to carry out its own in order to avoid being dragged into a legal battle with powerful energy companies.
"We have to be patient and plan for the long-term and take a tactful approach against the profiteering energy giants."
Gil had been asked why he criticised Gemma Doyle for abstaining on a fracking vote in December 2014.
He replied: "I criticised Gemma Doyle because she abstained from giving Scotland the powers to fully ban fracking.
"Right now, we control planning but not licensing and only through full powers under devolution or being independent would we be able to completely ban it."
GIL Paterson MSP has welcomed news that Scotland has exceeded its world leading climate change targets – six years early.
New figures show that Scotland exceeded the 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent in 2014.
The SNP MSP told how Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK, with a 39.5 per cent drop in Scottish source emissions between 1990 and 2014 compared to the UK’s 33 per cent reduction over the same period.
The Clydebank and Milngavie representative said: “Thanks to the efforts of the constituents and others across Scotland we have made this brilliant achievement.
"The eco-friendly efforts of my constituents must be commended, and we are reaping the rewards because of them.
"Let’s continue and get emissions down further across the constituency and the whole of Scotland.”
Scotland is one of the leading countries in Western Europe for reducing emissions.
The latest climate change statistics show Scotland’s emissions, for reporting against targets, have fallen by 12.5 per cent year on year to 41.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2014.
This is a reduction of 45 per cent from the 1990 baseline.
Commenting on Scotland’s climate change efforts, Mr Paterson added: “Scotland is making outstanding progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These statistics show that we not only met the annual 2014 emissions reduction target but also exceeded the level of our world-leading 2020 target for a 42 per cent reduction, six years ahead of schedule.
“The reduction in residential emissions in 2014 may have been due to people turning down their heating. This underlines that the actions of someone in Strathkelvin and Bearsden, if repeated on a large scale, can have a big impact in tackling climate change.
“With climate change one of the defining challenges of our time, there is a real need to cooperate with our neighbours and internationally – which is one of the reasons why Scotland and the UK are better off remaining in the European Union.”
JUNE 16, 2016 - VITAL work on Scotland's economy is set to be scrutinised by Clydebank and Milngavie's MSP.
On Tuesday, June 14, Gil Paterson chaired the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee at the Scottish Parliament to elect its convener and deputy convener.
As the oldest member of the body (73) he took up the task of starting up the committee for the new session of parliament.
The MSP welcomed being selected for the committee on June 8 as he has a background in business, having run a garage company since 1973.
Mr Paterson said: "I'm looking forward getting started properly because the committee is a vital organ in scrutinising the Scottish economy.
"In my surgeries, jobs and housing are two of the main issues people bring to me. Through the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee I'll be at the forefront of looking at these issues and finding out how we can tackle them.
"The main role of the committee is to scrutinise the government's performance, and although it has no ability to deliver itself, it certainly is very influential and has the prospect of bringing forward ideas both in parliament and wider Scotland."
The Scottish Parliament voted through the new committees earlier this month.
After three weeks of negotiations to decide the new structure, the system has been tweaked by new presiding officer, Ken Macintosh, so there are fewer committees. Some will have new powers.
Last session, Mr Paterson was a member of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, Health and Sport Committee and the Justice Committee.
The SNP MSP added: "The Scottish economy is an area I'm really, really interested in, and for that reason, I think it's a good move for me. It represents the area my constituents are concerned of and as someone with a long background in business, it's going to make me a good fit."
Press releases prepared by Alan Ferguson, Gil Paterson MSP's communications manager, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07342 061722..