Christmas Wishes from John

22 Dec 2017

The Scottish Budget

20 Dec 2017

Motion S5M-09453: Poverty in Scotland 2017 

10 Dec 2017

That the Parliament welcomes the release of Poverty in Scotland 2017 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF); understands that the report is part of the work done by the JRF to measure the rates of poverty in Scotland and how they are changing; notes that the report finds poverty is lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK, particularly for older people and families with children; further notes that more than a third of those in the poorest fifth of the population spend more than one third of their income on housing alone; understands with concern the extra difficulties highlighted by the report for people facing poverty; notes that this includes a much higher rate of depression and anxiety, being unable to maintain any savings or investments and a gap in educational attainment; welcomes the lower rates of poverty but believes that no one should be living in poverty in a country as wealthy as Scotland, and calls on all levels of government to take action to help narrow the gap.


SNP MSPs and MPs Formally Support UN Nuke Ban Treaty

30 Nov 2017

SNP MSPs have formally supported the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by signing the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge. This pledge commits parliamentarians to “work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries.” Complete SNP support, led by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, illustrates the party’s support for nuclear disarmament and the scrapping of trident.


ICAN, an international civil society group against nuclear weapons, has instigated the pledge signing for parliamentarians from across the world. The Holyrood Signing, which saw every SNP MSP sign the pledge as well as all Scottish Greens MSPs and three Labour MSPs, came just two weeks before ICAN receives the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for its international nuclear disarmament advocacy. ICAN commentated on the Holyrood Signing saying,
“The endorsement and commitment to the TPNW by a majority of Scottish Parliamentarians stands in marked contrast to the position of the UK Government. During the March Treaty negotiations, the UK UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the Ufirst Committee at the United Nations that the UK had a clear mandate to renew its Trident nuclear weapons system. That appears to be arguable. The decision by so many Scottish parliamentarians to align themselves with a Treaty aimed at the complete elimination of weapons at least critically undermines that mandate.”


Bill Kidd who led the Holyrood Signing amongst the SNP expressed deep delight at the SNP show of support for the TPNW through the pledge: he highlighted that this reflects the conviction shared by many Scots that nuclear weapons are morally abhorrent and indiscriminate in nature.


John noted, “I was honoured to sign this important pledge of support for the Ban Treaty. This change in International Law will usher in a necessary shift in bringing human rights to the forefront of the nuclear disarmament debate. Nuclear weapons not only kill hundreds of thousands of civilians but are also lived-through. They have lasting detrimental effects on families and communities of survivors (Hibakusha), many of whom saw the devastation first hand. I urge the UK Government to sign the UN Ban Treaty so they can stand with the majority of states in the world who have already taken this step.”