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23 June 2015

S4M-12759 Kinghorn Lifeboat Station (50th Anniversary)

The Deputy Presiding Officer (John Scott): The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S4M-12759, in the name of David Torrance, on congratulations to Kinghorn lifeboat station on its 50th anniversary. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament congratulates Kinghorn Lifeboat Station on its 50th anniversary; understands that the Kinghorn station covers an area from Elie to North Berwick and all the way to the Forth bridges; understands that, since its establishment in 1965, the station has provided crucial services and launched over 1,000 times to save lives at sea and along the coastline; recognises that, in order to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), Kinghorn Lifeboat Station regularly organises fundraisers, which include an annual Halloween-themed event with spooky walks and refreshments as well as the Kinghorn Loony Dook to welcome the New Year; further recognises that, in 2015, 80 people took part in the dook, raising a total of £620; welcomes the close links between the lifeboat station and the community, which it believes contributes to the great success of these events; understands that, because of this cooperation, a golden theme in celebration of the anniversary and the lifeboat station’s long-standing services on the Firth of Forth has been included in many events organised by community groups, such as the Children’s Gala Parade, Kinghorn in Bloom and the Kinghorn Historical Society, and wishes everyone involved the best of luck for these events as well as all future endeavours.

16:33
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16:53

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

Let me start, as I properly should, by congratulating David Torrance on bringing this subject to Parliament’s attention and giving us the opportunity to debate it.

The lifeboats are a very important part of my constituency. We have four lifeboat stations—at Buckie, Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead—because, of course, we are essentially a coastal constituency. I know how much my constituents value having the lifeboats, which provide the security of knowing that there is someone on standby who knows what they are doing and has the equipment to do it. Given what goes on in Kinghorn, it is no surprise to find the esteem in which the lifeboat service is held there.

Of course Kinghorn has had many maritime connections, such as the death of Alexander III in 1286, which meant that the Maid of Norway became the Queen of Scotland at the age of three. She then drowned off St Margaret’s Hope in 1290, which caused the wars of independence that underpinned much of the history of Scotland of those times and which resonate today. Kinghorn has a history around the sea and a history around the lifeboat.

I was interested to read about the early experience of the lifeboat in 1965, when it rescued leisure sailors—or perhaps did not, because they did not want to be rescued. I used to do a lot of dinghy sailing. I am not quite sure that I was out at Kinghorn on that particular day, but I would love to go back and look at my records and find that that was the case. However, I am pretty confident that it was not.

Lifeboats in Kinghorn and elsewhere are quite high tech now. The first rescue boats were cobbles. A couple of guys rowed them and somebody would be in the stern steering the boat towards the vessel in distress. We have made a lot of progress in professionalising and improving the quality of support.

Claire Baker mentioned the respect the water campaign. It is as well to remind ourselves that the sea is a cruel mistress and can be very dangerous. I do not know how many members are aware that a cubic metre of water weighs a tonne. Therefore, it is not a trivial matter when water comes in waves. That is not like the water in the bath that we feel is comfortable and warm in surrounding us. Once we are out at sea, water can be one of the most dangerous prospects. It can be so for any fisherman in my constituency, leisure yacht in Kinghorn or, indeed, aviator who has taken off from Edinburgh airport and come to grief in the Forth, as has been the case.

On one particular occasion, a lifeboat—I am slightly uncertain about whether it was the Anstruther boat or the Kinghorn boat—even went to the rescue of the pirate radio ship LV Comet, from which Radio Scotland broadcast between 1966 and 1967. That was off the Bell rock. When the anchors were drifting, the lifeboat had to go out and help. The lifeboats therefore get involved in a wide range of activities.

16:57

17 June 2015

S4M-12916 Scottish Cot Death Trust

The Deputy Presiding Officer (John Scott): The next item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S4M-12916, in the name of Gil Paterson, on the 30th anniversary of the Sudden Cot Death Trust. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament acknowledges that 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Scottish Cot Death Trust; understands that the aims of the trust have remained consistent during this time; notes that it is committed to funding medical research in the hope of finding an answer to why babies and young children die, reducing the number of deaths by promoting the “reduce the risk” message and supporting people who have experienced such a tragedy; believes that it carries out vitally important work, not only by raising public awareness and through the use of multiagency professionals, but also in its support for parents, sometimes for years, who have lost a healthy child without explanation; understands that the trust works in partnership with NHS boards to provide the Next Infant Support Programme for bereaved parents in Clydebank and Milngavie and across Scotland who go on to have further children; believes that the trust offers apnoea monitors as well as a bespoke support service throughout pregnancy and for the first year after birth; notes that it has worked with the Scottish Government in producing the leaflet, Reduce the Risk, which highlights safe sleeping positions and the associated factors that are considered to raise the risk of sudden unexpected infant death; further notes that the leaflet provides information such as the view that, in the first six months of life, the safest place for the babies to sleep is in their own cot in the parental bedroom; understands that ways to reduce risk include avoiding sleeping on a sofa or chair with a baby, not smoking during pregnancy or around a baby after birth, avoiding sharing a bed with a baby if either parent is excessively tired, is a smoker, has drunk alcohol or has taken any medication that might cause drowsiness and avoiding letting a baby sleep on a surface that is neither firm nor flat, including infant swings, beanbags, bouncer chairs and infant car seats; understands that, although such seats can be fitted onto a pram chassis, they are not suitable places for infants to sleep; commends the trust on ensuring that these points are the main thrust of its 30th anniversary message to all parents, and wishes it every success in promoting this.

13:16
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13:29

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

Let me start by thanking Gil Paterson for bringing this important subject to Parliament. There are very few of us who will not, at some stage in our life, meet a death; it is an inevitable part of being here in the first place. When the death is that of a child—of someone who is younger than we are—we feel that death most acutely. That is not simply because it reminds us of our own mortality; it is also because, of course, we experience the loss of someone who is precious to us.

One of my personal interests is genealogy. I happen to have been doing a longitudinal study of the St Giles parish in Edinburgh—of which Parliament is just on the edge—of 150 years ago. At that time, 150 years ago, in this relatively well-off parish, 50 per cent of children did not reach the age of 10, and half of those who died, died before the age of one.

Today we have vastly improved our care and our ability to deal with a range of conditions and diseases that affect our young. That fact throws into more stark relief the sudden unexpected and often unexplained deaths that come under the general heading “cot death”. There is no single cause of cot death, and we do not always satisfactorily identify the cause of the death.

As the number of young children who die has diminished, the pain and the sense of guilt that parents can feel when it happens has substantially increased. My father, who was a general practitioner, described bereavement in five stages: denial, which is often very short and in which the person does not accept what has happened; blaming oneself, in which the person blames themselves for something that they did not do; blaming others, because things were not done; depression; and finally accommodation, in which, it is hoped, the person comes to terms with the death and puts the happy memories that they have of the person who departed into some context that they will carry for the rest of their life.

A child even of the briefest period on this earth will leave memories for their parents and for all who have known them. I have not been in the fortunate position of being a father, but I am told that I am a relatively well-trained uncle and now great-uncle, godfather and, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, a great-great-uncle. Although I have not personally experienced fatherhood, I have watched and stood with those who have been parents. I have seen their pride and excitement when they bring in a new life that will take over from those of us who are, perhaps, now contemplating more acutely than we once did our own mortality.

As cot death has become more important as a reason why young people do not make it into adulthood, the importance of having the right kind of support in place has substantially increased. For that reason the Scottish Cot Death Trust is very much to be congratulated for its work. It is draining to support a person who is in mental despair and who has experienced loss. It is expensive, because it takes time to provide counselling to people—not just a pill for a week, but support, often for an extended period.

Over the past 30 years, we have seen the work of the Scottish Cot Death Trust supporting parents across Scotland and, I understand, working with people beyond Scotland. As Gil Paterson’s motion makes clear, in his constituency the trust is supporting the next infant support programme for bereaved parents. The motion mentions bespoke services through pregnancy and for the first year after birth, including the provision of sleep apnoea monitors.

There is one little thing that we need to think about. It is right and proper that we provide advice on how to minimise the occurrence of cot death, and Margaret McCulloch highlighted quite a few of the pieces of advice that exist. However, it is equally important that we reassure parents that it is not their fault that their child dies from cot death. They may have followed all the advice or may not have been aware of some of the advice, but it will almost certainly not—in 99 cases out of 100, and probably more—be the parents’ fault. That is precisely why the Scottish Cot Death Trust has to exist: it must reassure and support parents who do not know what more they could have done, when the answer may be that there was nothing more they could have done.

13:35

11 June 2015

S4M-13442 Employee Rights and Access to Justice

The Deputy Presiding Officer (John Scott):
Good afternoon, everyone. The first item of business this afternoon is a debate on motion S4M-13442, in the name of Roseanna Cunningham, on protecting employee rights and access to justice.

14:30
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15:01

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

The signs for a consensual debate are not particularly favourable, given that the two selected amendments and the Liberal amendment that was not selected would simply delete the whole of the Government’s motion. Let me redress that apparent breakdown of consensus by saying that, personally—I have no idea what the Government’s view is—I welcome the first four clauses of the Labour amendment, which reflect multiple views and call for legalisation of online ballots for trade unions. Unless I am missing something, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for.

At the core of my take on the debate is the Tories’ egregious attitude to democratic mandate. I am talking about a party that continues to support the undemocratic, anti-democratic and undismissable House of Lords—which constitutes the majority of the UK’s legislators—and of a party that, on a mandate of 37 per cent of the electorate who voted a few weeks ago, wants to impose a substantially higher requirement on trade unionists. Note that I say “trade unionists” and not “trade unions”. That is deliberate, because what the Tories are really about is weakening the position of individuals in our society. In particular, they want to weaken people whose relative lack of power means that they choose to work collectively to nudge the balance just a little in their favour—through membership of trade unions, for example.

I have long heard the Tories say that they are champions of individualism, but their current plans give the lie to that and reinforce my long-held view that the Tories are the party of big businesses, to which they are in thrall. They are no more the champions of individual citizens—from whom they also wish to remove the human rights that were championed by previous generations of their party, including Winston Churchill—than Napoleon was an intimate friend of Wellington’s 150 years ago.

For many of us, a substantial part of our constituency work is about care and, in recent times, about carers. As our population ages and more people live with multiple concurrent disabilities, conditions and ailments, that is not surprising. However, the Tory motion refers to the creation of 2 million private sector jobs, but they are not necessarily new jobs. Many of those jobs have been transferred from the public sector to the private sector; they do not represent 2 million new jobs.

Moving jobs that prioritise public benefit to the private sector means they are now in companies that prioritise their owners’ business interests. That situation has rarely improved the conditions of individuals who have been affected by such moves. In particular, for carers, the commercialisation of carer services has created jobs in which the relationship between employed and employer is wholly out of balance.

In Aberdeenshire, we might be comparatively lucky—I understand that 11 of 13 companies that provide carer services are living wage employers—but there are other difficulties. In particular, not paying staff as they travel between care appointments is commonplace throughout Scotland.

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Ind): The statutory obligation rests with local authorities. They have responsibility for care and are outsourcing it to the private sector and so are, by default, condoning the practices that Stewart Stevenson describes.

Stewart Stevenson: Now that my SNP colleagues have taken over the running of Aberdeenshire Council from the Tories, I certainly intend to seek to persuade them that there might be a different way forward, but they will be locked into existing contracts, so there are difficulties. However, John Finnie is right that there are opportunities.

Aberdeenshire is the most rural area in mainland Scotland—more of the population live in a rural setting there than is the case elsewhere—so carers spend a bigger proportion of the day travelling from appointment to appointment. Not being paid for that is a particular issue for them. There are many reasons why we need new powers over those matters: that is but one and I am sure that others will emerge in the debate. I suspect that a majority of members could make common cause on how we might exercise such powers, even if we were not unanimous—I suspect that the Tories would think otherwise.

Fair work is an awful lot easier to support if we have the powers to do so. Making it more expensive—impossibly expensive—for people who are on low wages to access the legal system in order to enforce their employee rights is simply part of an unambiguously clear Tory agenda to remove the legal system’s protection from the people who most need it. The debate is about protecting employee rights. There have been various references to trade unions and to borders. I cannot help but note that the Labour leadership contenders went to Dublin to speak to trade unionists because we have a trade union that works across borders. Borders are barriers against effective delivery of policy only if we choose to make them so. Collaboration is the way forward.

I hope that we can build some consensus, and I hope that by pointing to the first half of the Labour motion, I have done so. Perhaps, at some future date, I will say that it is time that we helped low-level bank employees who have been damaged by the irresponsible actions of a tiny number of highly paid senior bankers.

15:07

9 June 2015

S4M-13404 European Union Referendum

The Presiding Officer (Tricia Marwick): The next item of business is a debate on motion S4M-13404, in the name of Fiona Hyslop, on the European Union referendum.

14:21
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15:46

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

It might be just as well for me to declare at the outset a personal and family interest, since my niece, who is a scientist, lives and works in Sweden. Jo enjoys her time there, and Jamie, my nephew, lives and works in Denmark, where he is a teacher. I have a great-nephew and a great-niece who, in Danish, are halfdan—in other words, they are half-Danish and half-Scots. If it had not been for the freedom to go and work in Europe without any great difficulty, I suspect that the history of my family in modern times might have been a bit different.

We have heard a bit about who can vote. The answer for Christian Allard is extremely straightforward. The Liberal party has eight members of the House of Commons and 101 members of the House of Lords. Pro rata, that means that the SNP can appoint probably 707 members to the House of Lords, and I propose that Christian Allard be the first of them, because he will then meet the necessary requirements to allow him to vote.

Let us go a bit deeper into the bill that the Tories have brought before us. We discover some interesting things. While Christian Allard might not be allowed to vote, he is allowed to be a permitted participant for the referendum. He can register a campaign, contribute all his worldly wealth, go into hock if he wishes, and campaign for a particular result. By the way, that provision includes 16 and 17-year-olds. They can establish campaigns and be permitted participants. They are allowed to influence the outcome but not to be part of the outcome. That is a quite bizarre way of bringing forward legislation. Christian Allard would consider the matter carefully and cast his vote appropriately, and that would be true of many of our citizens.

Even more bizarre, we come to the situation of the citizens of Gibraltar, who are allowed to vote in European elections in the extended constituency of South West England. They will be allowed to vote in the referendum. That is fascinating. By the way, peers who are not even UK or EU citizens but who are electors in the City of London will be entitled to vote.

The bill—this tawdry piece of paper from the Tory Government—is riddled with inconsistencies. It denies the vote to citizens of Europe who have the greatest stake in the referendum and who contribute mightily to the economies of the UK and of Scotland, while many of the parasites—simply by owning property in the City of London—can participate and set up campaigns on whichever side of the argument they are on. A totally bizarre bill is before us.

I do not stand before members as an uncritical supporter of the EU. Representing fishermen in Scotland, I of course share with them the discomfort that, when a fishing boat that is registered in Scotland goes out, it is covered by our regulations, but it can be alongside and in the same place off our shores as, for example, a Spanish boat that is working to different legislation. We have to fix that, but we can do that and we are making some progress.

I am going to really live dangerously. Last week, I lived dangerously when I quoted Alastair Campbell, who spoke excellent sense when he described Charles Kennedy as somebody who spoke “human”. However, I am going to go even further and quote Margaret Thatcher, which is really living dangerously.

In June 1975, in the debate after the result of the previous European referendum, Margaret Thatcher said:

“we join” the Prime Minister “in rejoicing”—that was a favourite word of hers—“over this excellent result ... We are particularly pleased ... with the strong ‘Yes’ from each of the” constituent nations “of the United Kingdom”.
—[Official Report, House of Commons, 9 June 1975; Vol 893, c 31.]

She recognised the importance of achieving that support from each of the constituent nations. Perhaps the Tories should consider what their dear leader said in 1975 when considering the position that they now wish to take.

I hope that the Labour and Liberal amendments resonate around the chamber but, because they would delete important things from the Government’s motion, I suspect that we will not support them. For my part, I would be happy to support their contents, if not their deletions.

15:51

4 June 2015

S4M-13221 Caledonian Canal

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Elaine Smith): The next item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S4M-13221, in the name of Dave Thompson, on Caledonian canal—world first. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament appreciates that the Caledonian Canal, in the parliamentary constituency of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, was the most technically advanced trans-sea ship canal when it fully opened in 1822 and was unsurpassed in scale until the Panama Canal opened 92 years later in 1914; acknowledges that the canal, which is now seven years short of its bicentenary year, took 17 years to complete, providing employment to some 1,800 Highlanders, and is currently used by ships to avoid perilous routes around the north of Scotland; understands that its construction advanced engineering knowledge and that it remained the preeminent canal of its kind until the Panama Canal, which is 12 miles shorter than its Highland rival, opened, and celebrates that the canal, from the Moray Firth to the Atlantic, remains a major Highland tourist attraction to this day.

12:34
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12:52

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

I congratulate Dave Thompson on giving us the opportunity to debate this important topic.

As invited by Dave Stewart, I tell him that my wife and I were married in Bona kirk in 1969, and my mother-in-law and my now wife lived at Lochend, which is a mere 400m to 500m from Bona lighthouse. Indeed, the canal contributed to the good eating in the Pirie household because, whenever a fishing boat came through, my mother-in-law used to dash up and persuade the fishermen to provide her with free fish, which was excellent nutrition.

I am delighted to hear that Mr Thompson will meet Andrew Thin shortly. Mr Thompson should give him my regards. He was always one of the most effective public appointments to a chair, and I am delighted to hear of his continuing contribution.

Jamie McGrigor said that the canal is the only one with its own monster. That is almost certainly true, but an interesting little footnote to that is that 1,000 new species of marine animals have been discovered in the past 12 months alone. Given that the body of water is the deepest, longest and biggest in the UK—in fact, in aggregate, it exceeds the sum of all the bodies of water in the UK—there is plenty of space for even large animals to be discovered if we turn our minds to that.

We have heard that the canal led the world for 100 years. It was not the earliest canal by any manner of means, of course. In my constituency, for example, the Saint Fergus and North Ugie canal was provided. It never seems to have delivered very much, and all sign of it has disappeared.

The Caledonian canal had a broader context. Thomas Telford undertook something that we now think of as a modern invention: a master plan of transport in the Highlands. That included revising parts of the Crinan canal, building 920 miles of new roads and more than 1,000 new bridges, and improving the harbours at Peterhead and Banff, which was critical for my constituents. It was part of a programme of public works that benefited the Highlands, created employment and, by creating new infrastructure, laid the future for important developments that we continue to exploit today through tourism.

Thomas Telford, who came from the Borders, from Dumfriesshire, in founding the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1818 and being its first president, contributed to the intellectual life of Scotland as well. He was also recognised as an effective poet, so to be an engineer is not to disconnect one from the world of the arts.

The canal remains a significant part of our infrastructure, with 29 locks. As we have heard, it is an important part of our defence infrastructure. Indeed, the parliamentary debates that preceded the passing of the act on 27 July 1803 majored on providing the then wooden ships that we had with protection from Napoleon’s marauders around the coasts of Scotland. That is one of the reasons why work on the canal slowed down a bit after the defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, because once he was defeated some of the urgency seems to have gone out of the construction of the canal.

I will close by saying that the least remembered loch on the canal, Loch Dochfour, is the smallest one but the one on whose shores, in the adjacent market gardens, my mother-in-law used to work, so I have a wheen of connections with the canal, which I am delighted to bring to the attention of Parliament. As for the Brahan seer, poor soul, he was burnt in oil at Chanonry Point in sight, across the firth, of the entrance to the canal.

I congratulate Mr Thompson.

12:57

2 June 2015

S4M-13338 Scotland Can Do

The Presiding Officer (Tricia Marwick): The next item of business is a debate on motion S4M-13338, in the name of John Swinney, on Scotland can do: a framework for entrepreneurship and innovation.

14:18
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15:15

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

At least one civil servant is due some congratulations from us all. Finding “CAN DO” from the words “capable”, “ambitious”, “networked”, “demand” and “opportunities” is a pretty neat way of capturing the whole idea. I have worked with computers for many decades and we used to do that sort of thing all the time—and it used to be the greatest fun we had.

I want to talk about a rather eclectic subject, but one that is utterly relevant to the topic of debate. It is about one of the threats that come from one of the bills brought forward in the Queen’s speech last week. I refer specifically to the investigatory powers bill that the Tory Government proposes. Within that, the key proposal is a requirement for a back door in software that would enable the security services to read the content of private messages protected by encryption. That all sounds very geekish, and in many ways it is, but it really does matter.

I acknowledge that terrorism is an important part of the threat to business and to people’s lives throughout the world, and we need to respond to it in an appropriate way. However, if we are to continue to be, as the motion says,

“a can do place for business”,

the core of the proposal in the investigatory powers bill simply cannot proceed.

If we have to protect messages—I will go on to talk about the kind of messages that we need to protect—opening up the software that protects messages so that some people have privileged access to read them will create a series of difficulties. First, the lawbreakers simply will not use software that has back doors—they will write their own—so the measure will not particularly affect those who choose to break the law and conceal the content of their messages. It will affect those who are obeying the law; those with evil intent will be unaffected.

Secondly, and more critically, it will open up all our financial transactions to open scrutiny and potential interference. If there is a way in, that way in will become a way in for lots of people. Why does that matter for entrepreneurs in Scotland? It matters, and it matters differentially, because we are a leading source of innovative software for the financial sector. Margaret McDougall just referred to innovative software in her speech. In future, under the kind of regime that is proposed to be introduced, that kind of software might not be produced here. We have a significant interest in producing secure banking software, but if it cannot be developed here, it will be developed elsewhere.

We heard reference to Skyscanner, which depends, for the integrity of the transactions between it and customers worldwide, not just on that little padlock that appears in the top line of the browser but on the software behind it, which provides that protection. The opening up of software, through the bill proposed by the Tories in the Queen’s speech, will damage the integrity of that protection.

That is not just theoretical. Already in the United States, Phil Zimmermann, who is the creator of the world’s most widely used email protection system—the pretty good privacy or PGP system—has started to move his company to Switzerland, because the United States Government is doing something similar. If legislation proceeds in that way, high-tech and high-value contributors to our being what the motion refers to as an “entrepreneurial and innovative nation” will simply depart. That is quite easy to do, as they are not people with fixed assets here, such as big factories. The intellectual skills in those people can move, and they can move tomorrow without any substantial difficulty.

We have to accept that, once a back door has been created, the knowledge of that back door that is supposed to be restricted to the security services—but to lots of people in the security services—will inevitably leak. The most secure software is always open-source software in respect of which everyone can look at the algorithm and improve it. The secrecy is in the key, which is a unique piece of information that is held by a single person. However, the operation and algorithms associated with back doors will inevitably be bypassable. If they are thought to be secret, they will soon be disclosed.

None of that is new. Napoleon’s peninsular war campaign was undermined by Wellington’s cryptologist, George Scovell, who was able to read the intercepted and encrypted orders to the French troops rapidly and routinely. Of course, Napoleon lost the war because that was able to happen.

Each generation moves on to new methods of protecting information. In world war one, the Cherokee and Choctaw Indian tribes were used over the radio because nobody could understand their languages. In the second world war, the Navajo, the Lakota, the Meskwaki, the Comanche and even Basques were used to protect information. Therefore, the need to protect information in sensitive environments is nothing new whatsoever.

The UK lost out on a key opportunity. We all have a little token that we use for accessing the Parliament’s websites and facilities, which has the letters RSA on it. RSA stands for Rivest, Shamir and Adleman. Those American mathematicians developed a very secure way of communicating. Thirty years ago, of course, a single sheet of A4 paper, which was a secret document and which came to light only 10 years ago, showed that, nearly 10 years before Rivest, Shamir and Adleman developed their system, Government Communications Headquarters and its predecessors were already developing it. We lost the commercial opportunity in the UK, and now the USA controls things. It is important that innovation is not stifled by legislators simply not understanding the importance of and manners of working that there are for technology.

If we were to proceed with the proposal in the Queen’s speech, we would no longer be as secure in our banking and communication as we currently are. That is a huge risk. The migration of services will inevitably take place; indeed, that is already beginning to happen in the United States. That will damage a key sector of the economy of the UK as a whole, but differentially for Scotland, for which that sector is even more important.

I hope that the cabinet secretary and his officials will think about that and that all the parties here will be able to work with colleagues at Westminster to ensure that what has been proposed does not happen. I am disappointed that the Liberals are not with us today, because I know that they are sensitive to the matter and will be onside in helping to oppose the particular so-called innovation to protect us from terrorism. It will not do that, but it will damage business if it goes ahead in the proposed form. I hope that we will all oppose it.

15:24

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