Letter from Holyrood

I had a great once-in-a-lifetime experience watching the Olympic Flame being carried through the constituency, writes Colin Beattie, Midlothian North MSP. I am sure that many watching with me were conscious of history being made.

The gala season is in full swing, and I really have to congratulate the organisers for their tremendous work. Especially when venues change at the last minute due to the awful weather and entire programmes have to be reworked on the spot. Sometimes cold and wet but everyone still seems to enjoy themselves. What a fantastic spirit!

On a less happy note...too many people still drink and drive. They take a chance with other people’s lives. I am pleased that the Scottish Government will shortly have the power to legislate on this, and to reduce the limit from 80 mcg to 50 mcg per 100 ml of blood. I know this can seem like a killjoy, but the plain fact is that drunk driving can kill. This also brings us into line with most of our European neighbours.

Likewise, there will be legislation to license air rifles. Too often they are used by antisocial elements to attack emergency services personnel, especially fire brigade and ambulance drivers which clearly must be stopped.

My learning experience continues apace. For months I have been toying with the idea of activating my Twitter account and becoming a social media person. Of course, I did nothing since it looked intractably difficult to make it happen.

Last week, my youthful intern took approximately five minutes to set up Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and Kiltr into a devastating media tool. Now watch out for my tweets and warbles or whatever…

We are coming up to what is laughingly called the “recess” when parliament is closed for business for two months.

As the Group Whips remind me, it is only recess not a holiday. I am only too well aware of that, as I view my diary which shows no sign of recess.

I have been asking questions in parliament about upgrading the dreaded Sheriffhall roundabout, which affects and constrains access across the constituency, not to mention the country. Not such good news I’m afraid.

The budget cuts out of Westminster are causing delays in capital projects including the Sheriffhall intersection. As was pointed out to me, a 32 per cent cut in our capital budget has to come from somewhere!

Again, I have asked questions in parliament, and I am pleased to hear that there is progress in the complex stakeholder negotiations which have been underway in respect to the new Royal Hospital for Sick Kids. Looks like we might see some progress soon.

I am hoping the better weather will come along shortly and wish everyone a very enjoyable summer.