Motion S5M-07049: Church, Religion and the State

11 Aug 2017

That the Parliament notes what it considers the important traditional separation of church, and religion, and state in Scotland; believes that this important principle is one of the main building blocks of society, in practice meaning that churches should not interfere in the running of the state and that the state should limit its intervention in religion only to what is absolutely necessary; notes the reported suggestions that the law should be changed to force Catholic and Muslim leaders to allow female priests and mullahs; considers that this would represent unreasonable interference in the operation of religious life in Scotland, and hopes that the separation of state and religion will continue to be respected.

Motion S5M-06875: Centenary of Passchendaele

02 Aug 2017

That the Parliament notes the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, 31 July to 10 November 1917; acknowledges that the 9th, 15th and 51st Scottish divisions took part and the objective was to force a breakthrough in the German lines and to capture their ports on the Belgian coast; notes that, instead, the offensive become stuck in the village of Passchendaele and that about 615,000 men died, 325,000 on the Allied side and 260,000 on the German side; understands that many of those casualties were as a result of drowning in the sea of mud that it created; believes that the battle, like the war itself, showcased the horrors and futility of such conflict, and hopes that the experience of those who were killed or injured 100 years ago will lead to a more peaceful world.

Motion S5M-06834: Early Deaths Due to Alcohol Problems and Cheap Alcohol

02 Aug 2017

That the Parliament notes the findings of the report published by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, Mortality among a cohort of heavy drinkers in Edinburgh & Glasgow; understands that the study followed over 600 heavy drinkers over two-and-a-half years who used services of the NHS in Glasgow and Edinburgh; notes that over 100 of these people died at an average age of 51, which is 25 years below the standard Scottish life expectancy, and understands that these people who died younger bought significantly lower-cost alcohol compared with those who survived, in particular cheap white cider and vodka.

Motion S5M-06824: Independence of Judiciary in Poland

27 Jul 2017

That the Parliament is greatly concerned by the news that Poland’s lower house of parliament has voted through reforms to its legal system, which it understands many fear will lead to a major erosion in the independence of the judiciary; believes that the current system sees the National Judicial Council, which is responsible for enforcing legal and ethical guidelines in the country, appoint judges; understands that the changes proposed by the Law and Justice Party would instead see the power to appoint judges transferred to the Parliament, with another bill being progressed that would see the Justice Minister given the power to replace the heads of the country’s courts; believes that this news has sparked concern from a wide variety of human rights groups as well as the European Commission, which it understands has raised the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against the country, which could result in the loss of its EU voting rights; believes that the independence of the judiciary is one of the key building blocks for a healthy functioning democracy, and calls on the Law and Justice Party to step back from implementing the legislation, which it believes damages this independence.