Summer Surgery Tour and the Rain Forest

Monday August 26th 2019

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Summer Surgery Tour

Tuesday 27th August and I am off with bruv Tony on my Summer Surgery Tour. Day one will broadly be down the A 68 and Day two the A7 with the A701 and A 702 on the Thursday in this diverse and scattered constituency. It runs from Melrose , Gala, Peebles, Penicuik, Newtongrange and Gorebridge to many places in between.

Transport and planning are pretty high on your agenda and problems following from ill-health and the lack of social rented housing. With more of us living longer and better lives, I don’t suppose there will ever be enough money. Shortages of staff are on the increase, in part due to Brexit and our loss of EU nationals who once worked in our NHS.

Still in Scotland the bulk of the Scottish Government budget goes to the NHS, at least half of its spending and most of that is pretty well unavoidable with recurring costs: hospital running, staff salaries, paying for GPs services, ambulance services and so on.

Public rented housing was of course given the death blow by Maggie Thatcher and her “Right to Buy” which on the surface looked a fair idea, except that discounts were far too generous. Half a million council houses were sold in the UK and the queue of families looking to rent grows. I started my married life in a council house like most of my generation and was grateful for it.

Although the SNP government ended “Right to Buy” in Scotland in July 2016 ( it still exists in England) the impact lasts and although funding is now directed to local authorities to accelerate public house building again it will take a long time to undo the damage that the Tories did.

If you have issues on these or anything else I hope you will be able to meet me on my “Tour”.

Brazil and the Rain Forest

The blazing images of the Rain Forest should give us all concern.

The G7 summit on Climate Change was timely and at last, at least the French are saying something which has perhaps made President Bolsonaro change his tune, threatening boycotts of Brazilian produce. Boris J has pledged £10 million to fight the fires. Now £10 million is a lot to you and me, but would only buy a couple of houses in London. In other words peanuts. Yes the Rain Forests are Brazilian but they are also like the Arctic, or Greenland for that matter, ours as custodians for generations yet unborn.

I dread to think not only of the damage to our climates but of the animals large and small caught up in what seems to be a man-made catastrophe. Are there any others I wonder? As we bask or retreat from rising temperatures or shelter from monsoon rains I am apprehensive for the world my grandchildren will inherit. Yet still Trump, friend of Boris J, busy sooking up to him for trade deals, denies Global Warming.

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