Adam Montgomery

Tuesday January 30th 2018

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament Main

Christine Graham MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Adam Montgomery

I was saddened to learn of the untimely death of Councillor and Provost Adam Montgomery.

We may have been and indeed were in opposing camps in politics though not as much as perhaps he thought. Yes I am a nationalist but I am also a socialist and have been all my days, rooted in my life in the council scheme in Edinburgh. He came from a similar background but took, as we Scots often do, a different political path.

As politicians we had much in common and I know he worked hard for his community in particular Penicuik. His constituents were at the heart of what he did. I understand that. It is a privilege in any capacity: councillor, MSP or MP to be elected to serve and the key word is “serve”.

His funeral, rightly was packed to the doors with standing room only for late comers, but most of all it was for family. It is hard, very hard when you lose a loved one and it is particularly tough when it is unexpected. I saw fellow councillors from all political parties and none, in attendance, and perhaps that gave some small comfort to his wife, children, grandchildren and extended family and friends though I know there will be many sad days ahead.

Back to business

However after a pause, it’s back to business as usual. The surgeries in Penicuik TESCO continue and I find that location invaluable for keeping up with local problems and indeed meeting new problems.

In Parliament the Scottish draft budget is up for debate and the SNP are proposing modest tax rises for those earning over £30,000 pa. For example someone earning £40,000 would pay an extra £140 in the year and if these go through, and it needs other parties to vote for it, 70% of Scottish tax payers will actually pay less in income tax next year than they do now.

Labour, which is asking for £700 million for Local Authorities across Scotland and unspecified amounts for health hasn’t actually come up with any tax proposals to say where the money would come from. Now of course we all would like more money for services but without a money tree it’s essential to say how you would raise it.

As for the Tories, they want tax cuts for the rich but what else would you expect? During the coming weeks we’ll see who comes up with what as an alternative or if they just carp from the side-lines.

Shock Collars

You may or may not know that I chair the Cross Party Group here on Animal Welfare. I have campaigned against tail docking, snares, stink pits and electronic shock collars. These are devices which at the press of a button give the dogs a shock and are supposedly “training” devices. They are nasty and cruel. No animal should be “trained” through pain but patience and persuasion.

The Scottish Government has announced a “ban” which has been the case in Wales since 2010. The recent announcement is not a ban but is a step forward but there are more steps to take to stop it altogether and I will be continuing to campaign for this.

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