The people of Scotland must think on whether they wish to be part of Europe or the United Kingdom, MSP Gil Paterson has warned.
He echoed comments made by Mike Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, when he questioned him in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Paterson asked for the cabinet secretary’s views on Boris Johnson’s decision not to grant a section 30 order in relation to allowing Scottish independence referendum.
In a follow up question, he asked how Scotland’s interests will be protected following the imminent departure from the European Union (EU).
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “I was glad to raise this matter in parliament with the cabinet secretary because it is evident the people of Scotland want to be given the opportunity to decide its future.
“The truth is, Boris Johnson fears the Scottish people will vote for independence due to the extreme material changes the UK has now forced upon us against the wishes of the electorate.
“In all latest elections, Scotland has repeatedly backed European Union membership and expressed its will for a referendum. We need the opportunity to decide what path to take – the EU or a materially different UK ruled by a party we never, and are never likely to, support.
“I am sure all sides of this debate can agree Scotland is becoming a pressure cooker over the matter of independence and that a referendum would be the healthy option for this country to put the matter of self-governance to bed.”
In Holyrood, Mr Russell said: “I encourage the people of Scotland to think on that, to continue to support that position — as they are doing in increasing numbers — and to move forward so that they have the right to choose. That is the issue: do they wish to be part of the EU, as they have repeatedly said they do, or do they wish to be part of Boris Johnson’s bonging Brexit?”
Scottish Parliament portfolio questions official report from Wednesday January 22:
7. Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP):
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Prime Minister’s decision not to grant a section 30 order in relation to a second independence referendum. (S5O-04025)
The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations (Michael Russell):
The rejection by the United Kingdom Government of the people of Scotland’s right to choose is further demonstration of the need for Scotland’s future to be put in Scotland’s hands. That is an utterly uncontroversial opinion.
We are keeping our options open for how to respond to the UK Government’s refusal to accept the mandate that was given to the Scottish Government by the people who live in Scotland. The First Minister will provide an update on the Government’s next steps shortly.
I am sure that the cabinet secretary will agree with me that the Prime Minister’s undemocratic rejection of Scotland’s right to choose is simply unsustainable. For the avoidance of any doubt, will the cabinet secretary outline what measures the Scottish Government is taking to protect Scotland’s interests ahead of our being dragged out of the European Union next week by a Tory Government that Scotland did not, and is likely never to, vote for?
There will be a range of events and announcements next week that are designed to draw attention to two things. The first is that Scotland did not vote to, and does not wish to, leave the EU. The second is that we wish to remain close to the EU so that we can re-enter it within the shortest period possible.
It is very significant that, from a week on Friday at 11 pm, the only route for regaining our European citizenship will be choosing independence and using that as the means of re-entering the EU. Other routes are blocked. The status quo finishes.
I encourage the people of Scotland to think on that, to continue to support that position—as they are doing in increasing numbers—and to move forward so that they have the right to choose. That is the issue: do they wish to be part of the EU, as they have repeatedly said they do, or do they wish to be part of Boris Johnson’s bonging Brexit?
iScotland’s parliament has formally voted to withhold its consent for Boris Johnson’s Brexit.
Some 92 to 29 MSPs voted against approving The Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
The Scottish Parliament and Scottish people have spoken clearly and consistently on this matter.
We voted against Brexit and continuously returned pro-Europe majorities in elections.
Anti-independence parties were crushed to near extinction in the latest election.
But the control the UK has over Scotland will once again mean we are held back.
The democratic wishes of our people and parliament remain completely restricted.
Despite these massive changes in our material circumstances we are denied our voice.
Scotland is entitled to decide over its future in this increasingly unrecognisable UK.
But a fearful Boris Johnson has again rejected our appeal for a simple independence referendum.
Evidently, he and his party fear Scotland will vote for its own liberation.
Losing control over our nation and its wealth would be an unmitigated disaster for the unionist powers.
This unwillingness to allow us to vote on these vastly changed circumstances is a sign of weakness.
Boris Johnson fears giving the people of Scotland a vote because he knows he would lose.
But he is only delaying the inevitable – that Scotland needs to be able to consider independence sooner rather than later.
Last week’s Scottish Parliament vote to withhold consent to withdrawing from the EU is emblematic of this struggle.
England and Wales are getting their wishes granted to leave the EU and Northern Ireland, a special deal.
Scotland, alone of the four nations, voted to remain but is being forced to leave with no special arrangements.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament is right to withhold its consent on this basis alone.
However, there are more reasons, that the Scottish public rejected this Withdrawal Agreement Bill at the GE.
Additionally, this Bill firmly puts a no-deal Brexit back on the table – something disastrous for our economy.
To protect our economy, we argued the UK should remain in the single market and customs union.
Despite a positive case in our ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’, it was contemptuously ignored by the UK Government.
A close variant of this was given to Northern Ireland.
The UK securing a free trade deal with the EU will be an extremely complex and unique activity.
Doing so in under a year is totally unrealistic and will drive the UK towards a hard Brexit when it fails to achieve it.
This is unless they give an extension to the one-year limit placed upon these negations.
While everyone’s views in Scotland matter, we have a duty to respect the clear and consistent majority.
No matter how you voted, Brexit will affect you, and you should have the right to consider a different path.
ENDS (459 words)
Nearly 100 per cent of homes and premises in the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency can connect to superfast broadband.
The information was revealed following a question by MSP Gil Paterson at General Questions at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday January 9.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Secretary for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, told how 98 per cent of premises are hooked up.
He said: “Through a combination of commercial and DSSB investment, latest Ofcom figures show that 98 per cent of premises in Clydebank and Milngavie now have access to superfast broadband.
“Despite telecoms being reserved to Westminster, the Scottish government as committed to build on the success of the £400 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme by committing to our £600 million Reaching 100% programme.”
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, was delighted at the news and praised the Scottish Government’s efforts.
He said: “Given how much my constituents rely on internet now for accessing vital services, streaming multiple devices, entertainment, shopping, learning and more, it is essential all homes and business premises can access superfast broadband if they so wish.
“We have all experienced the frustration of a slow and unreliable internet connection – so I am very pleased we are moving towards 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage not just in Clydebank and Milngavie, but across the nation.
“Superfast internet is the bedrock of a modern economy and thanks to the Scottish Government’s efforts are well ahead of other countries in preparing for the future.
“I’m hoping these will allow some of the final gaps of connectivity to superfast broadband be filled in the not so distant future.”
Answer from the Scottish Government:
9 January 2020
Index Heading: Organisational Development and Operations
Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the development of the broadband infrastructure in the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency.
Paul Wheelhouse: Through a combination of commercial and DSSB investment, latest Ofcom figures show that 98% of premises in Clydebank and Milngavie now have access to superfast broadband.
Despite telecoms being reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has committed to build on the success of the £400 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme by committing to our £600 million Reaching 100% programme. As the member may be aware, I will be making a statement later today on the R100 procurement and will be able to say more at that point.
MSP Gil Paterson's comments have appeared in the Clydebank Post following a press release breaking the below story:
MSP Gil Paterson has condemned plans to leave part of his constituency marooned from “lifeline” bus services for nearly two weeks.
Old Kilpatrick and Bowling will be cut off from all bus services for around 12 days in February for works at a rail bridge north of Roman Road.
Network Rail has refused to fund a replacement shuttle bus service following correspondence with Gil Paterson MSP, SPT and First Bus since October.
Services 1/A/B/E will be affected and will leave Old Kilpatrick and Bowling without any bus services for the duration of the works.
The works are scheduled for February, but an exact date has yet to be announced.
Mr Paterson, SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “I condemn Network Rail’s refusal to fund a replacement bus service while it disrupts lifeline bus services in my constituency.
“Members of the public in Old Kilpatrick and Bowling are right to be angered as they will be marooned from services they rely on in their day to day lives.
“It is especially damaging in these cold and dark wintry days for elderly people, the disabled and other vulnerable members of the public.
“Local businesses will also be negatively affected from this withdrawal of customers traversing this busy bus route.
“I renew my call for Network Rail to fund the shuttle bus and show some accountability for the lengthy disruption it will cause.”
My question to the Cabinet Secretary for Education - Comparison of pupil/teacher ratios between UK countries
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital has a world-class reputation. Many thousands of lives have been saved as a result of the excellent care and ground-breaking research carried out there. Those who would impugn the reputation of this fine medical establishment for political purposes should be ashamed.
Local MSP Gil Paterson says he is delighted that West Dunbartonshire Council have agreed to light-up the Titan Crane for St Andrew’s Fair Saturday.
Last year saw the biggest ever national celebration of St Andrew’s Day in Scotland. It was also the first time St Andrew’s Day celebrations were combined with the global Fair Saturday movement.
The Fair Saturday movement started in Bilbao in northern Spain in 2015 as a reaction to the rampant consumerism of Black Friday. It is a non-profit organisation aimed at raising money for social causes through the arts.
Speaking to the Clydebank Post Mr Paterson said;
“I am delighted that, following my letter to them, West Dunbartonshire Council have agreed to support St Andrew’s Fair Saturday by lighting the Titan Crane Blue.
“This year St Andrew’s Day and the Fair Saturday celebrations fall on the same day. Fair Saturday is a new initiative and it is expanding rapidly.
“The idea behind Fair Saturday sits very well with St Andrew’s Day. It presents a unique opportunity to highlight the kindness of Scotland’s people and the inclusive, outward-looking and compassionate spirit of our nation, as well as making our national day unique in global terms.
“Clydebank’s famous landmark can act as a beacon for celebrations in communities across Scotland as well as enhance our international profile through our association with Fair Saturday, so I thank West Dunbartonshire Council for their enthusiastic support.
“I hope Bankies will share photos of the Crane, lit up in all its glory, on their social media – I certainly will.”
Last year 84 St Andrew’s Fair events raised an impressive £38,682 for social causes across the country.
Local MSP Gil Paterson says he was horrified to hear Jo Swinson say she would be prepared to press the Nuclear button if she became Prime Minister.
Ms Swinson made the statement during her enthusiastic performance at the launch of the Liberal Democrat election campaign in London yesterday.
Speaking to the Milngavie Herald Mr Paterson, who has always held a principled stance against nuclear weapons, said;
“I was horrified to hear Jo Swinson say she would be prepared to press the button in a nuclear conflict which would incinerate her entire constituency but not her own family as she lives and works 400 miles away.
“Having these weapons of mass destruction on our doorstep puts us in the target zone. Ms Swinson may think that her willingness to indiscriminately kill innocent people at the same time as endangering her constituents makes her strong. I have another word for it and I’m sure the people of Milngavie and Bearsden will too.
“One of the things people who are in favour of nuclear weapons don’t consider is the potential for an accident to take place at the nuclear base on the Clyde, either as a result of technological failure or human error. It’s one of my main objections and the chances of it happening are equal to that of nuclear conflict. The nuclear industry, and the Faslane Base in particular, do not have a good safety record and I wonder if Jo Swinson would be so blasé if this danger was on her doorstep, 400 miles away, where she lives with her children.”
Mr Paterson continued saying;
“Scotland has consistently shown itself to be utterly opposed to nuclear weapons - a position taken by the vast majority of Scottish people in survey after survey over many, many years, the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, Scottish MPs and a majority of Scotland’s political parties and trade unions.”
Local MSP, Gil Paterson, has submitted a motion seeking a debate in the Scottish Parliament about reported plans to exclude Allander Indoor Bowling Club from the new Allander Leisure Centre.
In the motion submitted on 03/10/2019 Mr Paterson calls on the Parliament to condemn the Liberal Democrat and Conservative administration of East Dunbartonshire Council for deciding to renege on the 10-year commitment that bowling facilities would be included in the new Allander Leisure Centre.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Paterson said:
“There have been bowling facilities at the Allander Leisure Centre for the last 40 years, the bowling club has 300 members. It’s the only indoor bowling facility in East Dunbartonshire and it serves a much wider area than Bearsden and Milngavie.
“East Dunbartonshire Council has an obligation to provide facilities and services in East Dunbartonshire to enhance the health and wellbeing of its older citizens. This retrograde step should be reversed.”
Motion Number: S5M-19256
Lodged By: Gil Paterson
Date Lodged: 03/10/2019
Title: East Dunbartonshire Council Excludes Bowlers
That the Parliament condemns the Liberal Democrat and Conservative administration of East Dunbartonshire Council on its reported decision to exclude Allander Indoor Bowling Club from the new Allander Leisure Centre, which is currently being designed; understands that the club, which has over 300 members, had a 10-year commitment from the council to be included in the new facility on a “like for like” basis only for it to be excluded at the last minute; notes that it has been located in the original Allander Leisure Centre for over 40 years, which it believes is the only such indoor facility serving most of East Dunbartonshire; believes that this decision is a retrograde step that goes against fulfilling the council’s obligation to provide facilities and services in East Dunbartonshire to enhance the health and wellbeing of its older citizens; considers that, for close to half a century, such an approach has kept the older generation hale and hearty, and notes calls for the council to reverse its decision.
Local MSP Gil Paterson highlights help for former employees of Thomas Cook.
Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson is calling attention to a Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) event in Glasgow on Friday 11th October to give former employees of Thomas Cook an opportunity to speak with employers who have vacancies as well as various PACE Partners who can provide a wide range of advice and support.
Date: Friday 11 October 2019
Time: 10:30 am until 3pm
Venue: The Merchants House of Glasgow, 7 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1BA
Speaking to the Clydebank Post, Mr Paterson said;
“I’m delighted to hear that all 55 Thomas Cook retail outlets in Scotland have been purchased, including the one in Clydebank. This is good news.
“However, there may well still be individuals who require support and who will be interested to meet the other employers who will be in attendance at Friday’s event. There will be opportunities for engineers, for example, so it is still worth going along.”
The Scottish Government have finalised their policy of no support for fracking in Scotland. Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse today confirmed that the Scottish Government would not license any fracking development.
Jo Swinson has not answered my letter calling on her to give back the money she took from the director of a Warwickshire based fracking company.
The Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment will join a seminar/drop in session for former employees of Thomas Cook arranged by Unite the Union.
The meeting in the Unite the Union offices in John Smith House, 145 West Regent Street, Glasgow will take place on Monday 30th September 2019 from 1 pm until 5 pm.
The bulk of Unite Thomas Cook members are cabin crew and engineers and there is no collective agreement which covers employees in Thomas Cook stores such as the one in Clydebank but Unite have extended the invitation to all Thomas Cook employees.
At the session former employees will have the opportunity to speak with PACE representatives for advice on a range of issues and Unite will provide legal guidance and back to work support.
Speaking about the report, Gil said:
"The collapse of Thomas Cook is a tragedy for the hard-working former employees of Thomas Cook who have lost their livelihood through no fault of their own.
"It is right that they should be given support to deal with the situation and I am pleased that Unite the Union and the Scottish Government have responded quickly."
Local MSP Gil Paterson says that he was delighted to meet artists from the Centro Arte Club of Corigliano-Rossano, Italy, last week. The group, which included a representative from Corigliano-Rossano Municipality, staged a joint exhibition with Clydebank’s Wee Scottish Art Group at the Backdoor Gallery in Dalmuir.
Mr Paterson discussed how close relations between West Dunbartonshire and Corigliano-Rossano can be encouraged and strengthened for the benefit of both communities.
Mr Paterson heard how City Council member of Corigliano-Rossano Municipality, Mr Tiziano Caudullo, has written to West Dunbartonshire Council’s Provost Hendrie and Baillie Denis Agnew to explore opportunities for friendship and cooperation between the two communities. The Italian Honorary Consulate in Glasgow was among those who have visited the prestigious exhibition.
The Wee Scottish Art Group have been in touch with Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce to explore the best way to capitalise on the links with Corigliano-Rossano and Mr Paterson has submitted a motion to the Scottish parliament marking the event.
Speaking about the groups’ visit and the art exhibition, Mr Paterson said:
“This is a fantastic initiative which really promotes cultural, economic and social links between Clydebank and Calabria.
“Art in all its guises helps us form friendships, highlight what we have in common and celebrate our differences.
“With all the negativity stemming from Brexit it is gratifying to see the unifying power of culture in action right here on our doorstep.
“Members of the Wee Scottish Art Group are to be thanked and congratulated for getting the message out there that Clydebank and Scotland are open for business and that we very much welcome links with our European friends.
“Initiatives such as this provide tremendous opportunity not just for our artistic community but for local businesses, for our schools and social groups as well.
“I was delighted that the group brought the sunshine with them from Italy, so they could enjoy the beauty of Scotland in pleasant weather.”
The collaboration between the two groups follows The Wee Scottish Art Group’s very successful trip to the European May festival in Italy last spring. At the prestigious festival the Clydebank group flew the flag for Scotland and West Dunbartonshire by joining Centro Arte in an exhibition of art, photography, theatrical performances, Scottish music, dancing and traditional food and drink.
The Chairman of the Wee Scottish Arts Group, Salvatore Volpe, came to live in Clydebank from Corigliano-Rossano in the Calabria Region of Italy 10 years ago. He has been the driving force in establishing a relationship of collaboration between his old community in Italy and his new community in Clydebank
During their stay the Italians visited Glasgow University and the Hunterian Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Loch Lommond. They also took a tour of the Auchentoshan whisky distillery and sampled a traditional fish and chip tea.
The exhibition is free to view and runs until 28th September,
Local MSP Gil Paterson says that, following his request to Glasgow Airport, he is pleased to see that a dedicated page on the airport’s website has been created where members of the public can get information about the vortex protection procedure.
Speaking to the Clydebank Post, Mr Paterson said;
“While vortex incidents are rare it is important that, when they do occur, residents know where to go to find out what to do.
“Vortex can happen at any time of the day or night – they don’t stick to office hours – so the dedicated priority email account is essential to make sure that any repairs necessary are carried out quickly.
“This is a new initiative by Glasgow Airport and I’m very pleased that they have listened both to me and to local residents and have been proactive in putting folk’s minds at ease.”
The new dedicated website page where members of the public can access the Glasgow Airport vortex policy, as well as the dedicated, priority email address for reporting vortex incidences can be found here https://www.glasgowairport.com/vortex-protection/
Manty thanks to all who attended the recent very successful Child Bereavement Information Event at the Scottish Parliament. It is reassuring to see the quality of support available and the event was a sage reminder of where we would be without the voluntary sector.
Local MSP, Gil Paterson says he is delighted by West Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to carry out an unprecedented aircraft noise mitigation pilot study in conjunction with Glasgow Airport which will have major beneficial implications for the whole of Scotland.
Mr Paterson has been working on this issue of aircraft noise for over 12 years now and has carried out extensive research, including retrofitting a house in Whitecrook, to prove the adverse effects of aircraft noise can be lessened using the right materials and techniques. Earlier this year he brought the issue to the attention of the nation by sponsoring a debate on the health implications of aircraft noise at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
Speaking about the pilot scheme Mr Paterson said:
“This is a ground-breaking initiative from West Dunbartonshire Council and Glasgow Airport with Scotland-wide positive ramifications.
“Based on my own research, I am confident that major and massive improvement is possible. This scheme will not only herald significant improvement to the health and wellbeing of the residents of Clydebank, who have been patient for so long, but will benefit everyone living under the flightpaths of all major airports in Scotland. The Scottish Government will be keeping a close and supportive watch on the results.
“I am grateful to all those who are involved in this revolutionary scheme, this is an initiative that has never happened anywhere else, in tackling these very difficult issues.
I want to give particular credit to two community stalwarts, Joe Henry and Tam Brady, who have been working almost daily for 12 years and more on this matter. Their dedication and sticking to the task has been remarkable and commendable and have been at my side every step of the way.
All the hard work and determination has brought us to this point where real progress is being made for the benefit of the people of Whitecrook and the wider community.
“I’m both grateful and relieved that this revolutionary initiative will now take place, this is a huge step forward.”
Local MSP Gil Paterson is calling on the UK Government to sort out the mess they have made of access for EU students to study in Scotland following Brexit.
The UK Government have announced their intention to introduce 3-year temporary leave for EU nationals to study in the UK seemingly ignoring the 4-year standard honours course in Scotland.
SNP MSP Gil Paterson pointed out that the UK Government's plans for three-year temporary leave for EU nationals in the event of a no-deal Brexit won’t cover EU students studying in Scotland – where a degree is typically 4 years - or those on specialist courses in the rest of the UK.
EU students would have to apply for a Tier 4 visa to complete their course or face the threat of being forced to leave before finishing their education. Extra paperwork and uncertainty could mean that fewer EU nationals come to Scotland to study.
Speaking to the Herald Mr Paterson said:
“Yet again Scotland’s interests have been ignored by this Tory UK Government desperate to appease the right-wing Brexiteers in their party.
“Our excellent universities are flourishing, and our EU students make an enormous contribution to academic life, our culture and economy. When we are dragged out of the EU, Scotland’s colleges and universities will miss out on millions of pounds of EU funding, our young people will be stripped of the opportunity to take part in the Erasmus programme and forcing EU students to apply for a visa to complete their studies just adds insult to injury.
“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU but throughout the Tory Brexit process our voice has been ignored and our needs disregarded. The UK Government must sort out this threat to our universities immediately.
“We have the perfect opportunity in the EU elections on the 23rd May to send a strong message that Scotland opposes Brexit and I am hoping for a strong turnout from Remain voters.”
MSP Gil Paterson has joined local activist Pauline Bowie to highlight Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Pauline, who suffers from the Lyme disease, has arranged for the Titan Crane to be lit-up green on the 16th May to help raise awareness locally.
Lyme disease is an increasingly common disease caused by a bacterial infection spread by infected blacklegged ticks – also known as deer ticks. Ticks are found crawling around in tall grass and leaf litter waiting for a host to attach themselves to. They do not jump or fly.
Symptoms, the best known of which is a red or pinkish rash in a bulls-eye pattern, are likely to appear 2 – 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. However, less than 20 % of all Lyme disease rashes have this classic bulls-eye appearance so the advice is to remove ticks promptly and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Other early symptoms of Lyme disease include muscle and joint pain, fever, fatigue and headache with some people noticing areas of numbness or tingling.
Speaking to the Clydebank Post, Mr Paterson said;
“Lyme disease can be a debilitating disease and can produce symptoms throughout a lifetime.
“It is becoming increasingly common so everyone should be aware of the dangers and what to do if you pick up a tick. That’s why I commend Pauline’s efforts to highlight this issue by arranging for the landmark Titan Crane to be lit-up green during Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
“Pauline has worked tirelessly to help educate people about the facts of Lyme disease and to promote research into treatment.
“The best course of action is to prevent infection by using insect repellent, covering your skin when you are out in the countryside – tuck your trousers into your socks - and sticking to the middle of the path where possible.
“It is also a good idea to wear light coloured clothing so that the dark coloured ticks show-up and are easier to see.
“I would urge everyone to check for ticks whenever they’ve been out in the countryside or in tall grass anywhere. Better safe than sorry.”
Left untreated a Lyme infection can affect any system in the body and can produce debilitating fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, arthritis in any joint, numbness, tingling, nerve pain and weakness, heart problems, psychiatric disorders, difficulty with thinking and memory as well as problems with vision and hearing. The sheer variety of symptoms can make diagnosis difficult.
Treatment is generally a course of antibiotics, it can be necessary to take antibiotics over a sustained period of time.
For further information, visit the Lyme Resource Centre at http://www.lymeresourcecentre.com/
A team from the school’s P6 travelled to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to take part in the national finals of the Scottish European Educational Trust Euroquiz and were delighted to come out on top. Team members Beth Dalrymple, Daniel Scullion, Cian Hynde and Michael Pearce carried on the winning ways for the school who also topped the table at last year’s event.
Local MSP Gil Paterson visited the school to congratulate the quiz team members who told him that they had “worked very hard and had lots of fun” practising for the quiz. They said they had a “great team” and were glad that their hard work had all paid off. The team also paid tribute to school teacher Ms Donnelly who trained the team and said “they couldn’t have done it without her.”
Ms Donnelly told Mr Paterson she was extremely proud of the pupils’ hard work, dedication and enthusiasm.
Euroquiz is an annual project open to all P6 pupils across Scotland, which sees teams of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world. Subjects covered include languages, history, geography, culture and European affairs. The team from St Mary’s won through the heats, which take place in every local authority, to represent West Dunbartonshire, along with runners-up Levenvale Primary School, in the National Euroquiz Final which was held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament.
In the final round of the competition St Mary’s faced the team from Levenvale, who were also runners-up in the national final as well as the West Dunbartonshire heats, meaning the top two slots went to West Dunbartonshire schools.
Speaking to the Clydebank Post, Mr Paterson said:
“This is a fantastic achievement for the quiz team and for St Mary’s.
“The team members are a credit to their school, to their parents, and to our whole community.
“I must also pay tribute to Ms Donnelly who gave so much of her time to prepare and motivate the children. I’m sure they will look back on their experience with pride and happy memories.”
Local MSP Gil Paterson joined fellow MSP Ross Greer and MP Jo Swinson at a protest in Bearsden last Saturday.
The gathering at Bearsden Community Hub was in protest to proposed plans to build 63 houses on an area of greenbelt at Thorn Road and Bearsden Golf Club near the site of the Antonine Wall. Mr Paterson was invited to the protest by members of the Bearsdone and Milngone campaign group. The group have consulted him on several occasions and say that they appreciate his helpful and consistent support.
Speaking about the issue Mr Paterson said:
“The hugely important Antonine Wall is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is our duty to protect it, not just for our generation, but for future generations as well. Who knows what opportunities may arise from our rich heritage in the future?
“I recognise the need to address the housing shortage we presently face but our green spaces are precious and greenbelt land must be protected wherever possible. Enough planning applications have been passed for East Dunbartonshire to meet their house building target so there is no need to build on this sensitive and historically important site.
“I commend the members of the community who have worked hard to raise awareness of this issue.”
UK Government changes to the eligibility criteria for claiming Pension Credit will take effect from 15th May 2019 and local MSP Gil Paterson wants to warn pensioners of the deadline in order that those who qualify now don’t lose out.
Pension Credit is an entitlement for people on the lowest levels of the State Pension to top up their pension but changes to the eligibility criteria for pensioner couples introduced by the UK Government in Westminster could mean that thousands of older couples living in Scotland could be worse off to the tune of £7,000 a year.
When the changes come into effect a pensioner who lives with a younger partner (who is not yet of pension age) will no longer be able to claim Pension Credit. These pensioners will also miss out on extra entitlements such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, cold weather payment and support for dental and eyecare costs. The initial £7000 reduction effectively doubles when you take into account the value of these other benefits pensioners can claim if they are in receipt of Pension Credit.
Mr Paterson commented saying:
“Pensioners need to act right now to safeguard their entitlement.
“If you are not sure if you qualify for Pension Credit then speak to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or get in touch with Age Scotland on their free helpline. Don’t delay as the deadline of the 15th May is looming so you need to act now.
“I think it is despicable that the Westminster Government is treating our poorest pensioners in this fashion and the Conservative UK Government know it is, otherwise why would they sneak the announcement out on the day of their first meaningful Brexit vote?
“This is yet another glaring example of why Scotland needs control of all of our social security.”
The charity Age Scotland say they believe that changes will have a devastating impact on the lives of some of the poorest pensioners in Scotland and have advised those affected to call their helpline on 0800 12 44 222 before the 15th May deadline.
The helpline is free to call and is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Local MSP Gil Paterson has written to Nicola Sturgeon to highlight the case of a Clydebank firefighter who is deeply worried about his future in Scotland after Brexit.
Fabrice Dubois has worked for the Scottish Fire Service since 2009 and routinely puts his life on the line as a firefighter to save lives. He is an EU National who has lived in Scotland since 2005 and has two Scots-French children. Prior to the 2016 EU referendum he had the security of his EU citizenship and thought of Scotland as his home but the result of the referendum and the UK decision to leave the EU has shattered his peace of mind. He is now stressed and anxious over what the future holds.
Mr Paterson submitted a question for First Minister’s Question Time on behalf of Mr Dubois but, unfortunately time ran out before his question could be put to the First Minister. He is working very closely on this case with his SNP colleague, West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes.
Speaking to the Clydebank Post, Mr Paterson said;
“I find it deeply disturbing and unacceptable that someone like Mr Dubois, who puts his life on the line on a regular basis for the people of Clydebank, should have to worry about his future in Scotland.
“The people of Scotland benefit enormously from the contribution EU Nationals like Mr Dubois make to our society and their treatment at the hands of the UK government is disgraceful. Clydebank is Mr Dubois’ home and he is very welcome here.”
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“The UK government has treated EU nationals appallingly. Scotland has been Fabrice’s home since 2005; he lives here in Clydebank with his family and has worked for the fire service for over ten years.
“There are thousands of EU nationals working in Scotland’s public services, making a vital contribution to our local communities. Yet they face fear and uncertainty over their futures here post-Brexit.
“It’s completely unacceptable and Fabrice has my full support in challenging this UK’s government’s shameful immigration policies.”.