Joe did it!

Monday March 26th 2018

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Joe did it!

Well it was a hard fought Penicuik By Election. SNP took the seat at round 3. You see this election was by Single Transferable Vote not First Past the Post. Actually on FPTP Joe Wallace would still have won but on STV as each candidate comes last they drop out and their second choices are reallocated. So Greens out first, then Labour.

What was interesting, and due I think to the scrap between the Tories and the SNP was the turn–out which at nearly 43% is actually high for a council By Election. Now comes the discussions about who forms the administration. The SNP have most seats at 7 and on paper it should be them, but with 6 Labour and 5 Tory they could be outvoted at the drop of a hat. In fact it was the Tories which supported Labour last time. Whatever happens it won’t be a Tory SNP “marriage”!

GP Practices in Penicuik

I have made my first visit to Eastfield practice and next it will be the turn on Penicuik practice. I had a long chat, along with my colleague councillor Debbi McCall with the GPs and there’s nothing to beat face to face conversations to learn of the issues facing GPs today. An issue I have raised before with both council and Government is the buildings themselves.

You see most GPs do not own their practice building but rent, in the case of Eastfield, from NHS Lothian. Now with all the building going on throughout Midlothian I think there is a place for the council to make ot a condition of planning consent that the developer either builds or contributes to the building, where appropriate, of facilities for GP use. It is quote common for example for a developer to be required to contribute to a school build, or a roundabout and so on. Just another idea.

The Baby Box

Now I know some folk think it’s a waste of money to give every new mum a Baby Box but I disagree entirely. You see if it was only for certain mums then you are discriminating and perhaps offending some by singling them out as “poor”. This way, if it is not wanted then it need not be claimed, For me it says to every mum and indeed dad, this baby is welcomed no matter who you are.

Ladywood Leisure Centre and Active Ageing

Had a wee visit recently with the Minister for older people. This was to show her the success of Ladywood not only in sustaining itself for over 10 years after its then threatened closure by Labour. This is entirely due to the commitment of staff in particular Pud, aka Iain Ramage, and the volunteers, many not in the first flush of youth.

Anyhoo, we turned up for the table tennis session and I was straight in there. It was ages since I had played, me with my pen-holder grip, and I thank my opponents for tolerating my bad shots. One even remarked that he had never heard a politician apologise so much !

The Minister, Jeanne Freeman had a go too , as did her officials. I tell you it’s the most exercise and bending down (to retrieve ping pong balls) I have done in years. Great stuff and do go along. Lots of chat too in between highly competitive games.

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