Six peers have pocketed a whopping £250,000 in expenses between them – despite contributing next to nothing to the House of Lords.
The half-dozen Labour Lords cashed their expenses despite speaking in no debates and never even asking a question.
Baroness Irene Adams tops the list of those dubbed “lazy Labour Lords”. She claimed more than £53,000 for the period but didn’t speak in any debates or table any written questions in that time. The revelations follow the launch of a criminal investigation into the House of Lords after Lord Hanningfield was allegedly caught “clocking in for cash”.
The SNP has been scathing of the six Labour members.
James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, said: “These figures which reveal the true cost of the House of Lords are a damning indictment of democracy in the UK in 2014.”
The figures for Lords’ allowances show the bill for Scottish peers went up by £136,000 last year.
It hit £2.2 million according to the figures for the financial year that ended in March which have just been published.
This isn’t the first time Baroness Adams’ expense claims have come under the microscope. She’s been dogged by accusations of overblown expenses since joining the Lords and was even asked to repay some money she’d claimed while an MP after the audit that followed the 2009 expenses scandal.
Lord Kirkhill, Lord Elder, Baroness Smith, Lord Howie and Lord Leitch, who all sit for Labour, also appear to have made no real contribution in the 12 months to March. Along with Baroness Adams their claims for allowances top £250,000. Lord Leitch claimed £12,000 while the others all took home between £39,000-£53,000 in daily allowances and travel costs including air fares and taxis.
Peers are allowed to claim £300 per day, just for turning up.
Last week the Metropolitan Police revealed they have launched a criminal investigation into peers “clocking on” in order to claim the cash only to leave again after just a few minutes.
James Dornan added: “This system of inherited privilege and unelected power is bad enough but it is totally reprehensible that the total cost of Scottish Lords has risen to £2,177,081.
“In the last financial year, six lazy Labour Lords claiming to represent Scotland who have never spoken or asked a question in the Lords have still cost the taxpayer over £250,000.
“It is insulting to hard-working families struggling to make ends meet that these Lords can pick up money for simply turning up.
“The hypocrisy of the Westminster parties is astounding. With hollow words they criticise the Lords –Labour and the Lib Dems even question its very existence – but in practice they accept peerages and their Lords are running up higher expenses bills than ever.”
A Labour Lords spokesman defended the peers, saying their voting patterns stand up to scrutiny.
He said: “Lords Elder, Howie, Leitch and Kirkhill and Baroness Adams have maintained strong voting records in the House of Lords, holding David Cameron’s Government to account and contributing towards almost 100 Coalition defeats since the last General Election.
“Lord Elder and Baroness Adams have spoken on the floor of the Lords recently, in important debates on assisted dying and Scotland.”
Source: Sunday Post 30/11/14: http://www.sundaypost.com/news-views/politics/westminster/anger-at-250-000-expenses-claims-of-lazy-labour-lords-1.710315
Dornan congratulates Alasdair Maclean on being named SUL's learner of the year.
James Dornan MSP has today welcomed the announcement that Alasdair Maclean from Simshill, Glasgow has been named as Scottish Union Learning’s 2014 Learner of the Year.
Alasdair is a member of the Communication Workers Union and a postal worker at the Glasgow Royal Mail Centre in Springburn. He was chosen as the 2014 Learner of the Year because of his strong commitment to learning, despite his physical difficulties caused by his Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Commenting James said;
“I am delighted that my constituent Alasdair has been awarded the 2014 Learner of the Year award and was pleased to meet him in Parliament recently.
“Alasdair has overcome significant difficulties in order to continue his learning and career in The Royal Mail, including being asked to retire as a postie after he was diagnosed with MS at the age of 32. He asked instead if he could be transferred to the mail sorting office.
“His dedication to learning is an example to us all and he has gone the extra mile to achieve his aims. I have laid a motion in Parliament congratulating Alasdair on this achievement.”
“I never thought I would be chosen as Learner of the Year because I knew there were a lot of people being put forward by different unions. I was shocked when my union told me I had won the award.
“After speaking to others, I realise that the Learner of the Year Award is quite an honour. The Award gives me more confidence to go forward, and in completing the tests. I’m really surprised at how happy my colleagues, tutor and my Union Learning Reps are that I was chosen, but the best part is making my family proud.
“I’m really glad I wasn’t forced into retirement because of my MS.”
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said:
“The challenges Alasdair has overcome on his learning journey are remarkable. Union learning has given Alasdair a second chance at making his career and personal life more fulfilling. With the support of his CWU Learning Reps, Alasdair has come from being a shy and quiet person to developing into a dedicated learner who has never missed a class, even during his annual leave and time off.
“Despite his health difficulties, Alasdair is now fully engaged with union learning. With union support, thousands of workers across Scotland successfully undertake learning journeys every year and Alasdair is a shining example of how union learning is for everyone.”
DORNAN WELCOMES ACTIVE TRAVEL VISION.
Local MSP James Dornan has welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government’s long term vision for active travel which aims to encourage more people to walk or cycle shorter journeys. The vision focuses on areas such as infrastructure, transport integration, cultural and behaviour change, community ownership and planning.
James Dornan MSP said;
“I welcome to launch of the initiative from The Scottish Government which aims to get more people making active travel choices to improve their health and the environment.
“It is clear that there are many health benefits , both physical and mental, to be had from walking and cycling more but there are other benefits too including benefits to the environment through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.”
Ian Findlay, Chief Officer of Paths for All said;
“We welcome and support this vision, which underlines the huge benefits of increasing active travel in Scotland.
“More people walking and cycling for regular journeys will result in a healthier nation in body and mind. We’ll breathe cleaner air and live in more attractive, prosperous, safe places. This can only happen if Scotland prioritises improving the infrastructure and environment for people to walk or cycle, as well as encouraging people to change travel behaviours.
"Everyday walking is the easiest and most accessible way for most people to get out of their cars and into a healthier lifestyle. Paths for All will contribute and push for measures which make travelling actively easier and safer for everyone."
John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, said;
“Sustrans Scotland very much welcomes the long-term vision for active travel as set out by Mr Brown today. The challenge now is to translate this vision into action on the ground.
Work needs to start on developing a long-term delivery plan, with appropriate funding mechanisms, to deliver not only the vision set out in this document but also the visions identified in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland and the National Walking Strategy.”
Rwandan Dream: Launch at the Scottish Parliament
I was pleased to attend the launch of Rwandan Dream in the Scottish Parliament, an album commemorating 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide; promoting reconciliation, peace building, and forgiveness, through the power of music.
As Rwanda commemorates 20 years of the Genocide the Rwanda Dream project recognises how far Rwanda has come in such a short time. It recognises that it has much to teach the world. Rwandan Dream is the brain child of musicians Jean Paul Samputu and Iain Stewart. It is their vision for the future of Rwanda and for the world. A vision of hope, love and universal peace. It believes that music can play an important part in achieving that vision, encouraging our hearts and souls to embrace it. It is an album of songs for the commemoration of many sharing this vision.
A percentage of profits from all album sales will help to support and raise funds for orphans in Rwanda many whose families were victims of the Genocide. Rwandan Dream recognises that by investing in youth today we can help them to create a better world for themselves and for generations to come.
James Dornan MSP backs scrapping historic poll tax debt.
A leading campaign group for electoral reform has hailed the Scottish Government’s moves to scrap Poll Tax debt as “the right thing to do”.
In an article in today’s Sunday Herald, Electoral Reform Society director Willie Sullivan praises the move to scrap Poll Tax debt and called for further action to break the link between the electoral roll and debt collection. The Scottish Government has welcomed this intervention and called for Westminster to devolve the powers Scotland needs to take further action in this area.
Commenting, SNP MSP James Dornan said:
“Following the cynical Tory tactic of suggesting they would ‘go after’ people that registered to vote, the Scottish Government is taking action to ensure their details will not be used to chase up historic Poll Tax debts.
“I welcome that the Electoral Reform Society is saying this is the ‘right thing to do’ and all politicians and political parties should heed the words of this respected organisation. After all we should be encouraging participation in the democratic process, not discouraging it.
“People registered to vote in good faith and any attempt to use their details to chase up Poll Tax debt would have been a misguided breach of that faith. After 25 years a line was finally drawn under the deeply unfair and widely hated Poll Tax last Thursday.
“We must ensure that the Tories cannot scare people into being disenfranchised in future elections.”
JAMES DORNAN MSP SUPPORTS ROYAL MAIL’S DOG AWARENESS WEEK
Glasgow Cathcart MSP, James Dornan has given his backing to Royal Mail’s annual Dog Awareness Week which runs from 30 June 30 to 4 July.
Mr Dornan met with postal workers at Glasgow G44 Delivery Office on 3 July to lend his support to the initiative.
Royal Mail has launched Dog Awareness Week to highlight the number of dog attacks on postmen and women as well other members of the public. There were around eleven attacks recorded across the Glasgow Cathcart constituency from April 2013 to April 2014.
The campaign is calling for responsible dog ownership and is appealing to dog owners to keep their animals under control when the postman or woman calls at their door.
It is being held in partnership with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and has received support from a wide range of organisations and animal charities. This includes Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, National Animal Welfare Trust, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Dog Warden Association.
Dog attacks are a significant hazard faced by postmen and women on a daily basis. On average around nine postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK with over 3,300 attacks taking place from April 2013 to April 2014, some leading to a permanent disabling injury. The number of attacks has risen by 8 per cent nationally since 2012*.
However, postal workers are not alone in facing the risk of being attacked by a dog while carrying out their jobs. Politicians and volunteers may also encounter dogs when out canvassing and leafleting in their local areas. In a survey of Members of Parliament, Royal Mail heard from more than 50 MPs who have personal experiences of dog attacks.
Mr Dornan is working with Royal Mail in encouraging dogs owners to play their part in reducing the number of incidents.
James Dornan MSP said; “Postmen and women perform an incredibly important function in our communities. I wanted to get a real understanding of the issues postmen and women face on a daily basis whilst delivering the mail to my constituents in Cathcart.
“Dog attacks are a significant issue faced by postal workers, members of the public and indeed by myself and my colleagues when out leafleting. Royal Mail, CWU, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Dogs Trust are doing a fantastic job promoting responsible dog ownership and I fully support this important campaign”.
James Dornan MSP backs campaign to improve access to MS medicines
James Dornan MSP has pledged to help ensure that all people living with MS in Scotland have better access to treatments, regardless of where they live.
This comes as the MS Society revealed that people with MS often face significant barriers in accessing licensed treatments, the information to decide what is right for them and the specialists who can help. Marking MS Week (28 April – 4 May) the MS Society launched its new campaign Treat Me Right, during its reception last night at the Scottish Parliament.
The charity’s campaign calls on decision-makers and the MS community to tackle the barriers in the way of people getting the right treatment at the right time.
Mr Dornan attended the event to show his support for the Treat Me Right campaign and to meet people living with the condition.
Commenting James said;
“I’m pleased to be able to show my support for this important campaign. Scotland has the highest incidence of MS in the world and the disease affects many of my constituents and we must strive to do all we can to ensure everyone with this condition gets the right treatment at the right time.
“With the progress made in MS research over the years it is unacceptable that licensed treatments that help people with the condition are still sometimes out of out of reach.
“This Scottish Government has made good progress in this area already through the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). The onus is now on the drug companies to engage with the SMC and allow people access to the disease modifying drugs.”
DORNAN SEEKS ACTION OVER UGANDA’S ANTI-GAY LEGISLATION
SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, has today written to the High Commission of Uganda regarding the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality, 2014 Act in the East African country.
The law, which was signed by the country’s President Museveni yesterday (Monday), means that gay people in Uganda can face life in prison for committing a homosexual act.
Mr Dornan has asked the Ambassador, Her Excellency. Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, to meet with him and LGBT organisations in Scotland during her visit to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.Mr Dornan has also written to the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Minister, Humza Yousaf, urging him to ensure that the UK Home Office offers asylum to those Ugandans whose photographs and names were printed in a tabloid newspaper.
The MSP visited Uganda in 2012 with international aid agency, Glasgow the Caring City, to see more about the work that the charity does to support Uganda. He said that whilst he counts himself as a friend of the people of Uganda, he is deeply saddened by this legislation.
Mr Dornan said: “This legislation has quite rightly provoked outcry from the international community. It seeks to imprison people for no reason other than the fact that they are gay, and it is right that Scotland speaks out against this along with people such as Desmond Tutu.
"I believe that people in Scotland will be outraged at this legislation, and at the horrific reaction of a tabloid newspaper which seeks to promote lynch mob tactics against gay and lesbian people. I’m confident that Scotland will make it clear to the UK Home Office that we are ready and willing to welcome anyone who requires refuge from this nightmare.
“When I visited Uganda I was astonished by the beauty of the country and humbled by the hospitality of the people that I met there. This is not the Uganda that I remember from my trip.
“Scotland has a positive story to tell on LGBT equality, and that is why I have asked the ambassador to meet with me when she is in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. I do not seek to lecture Uganda. I simply want to put forward Scotland’s story on gay equality and demonstrate the benefits of an inclusive, tolerant and equal society.
”Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said: “We welcome these letters to the Minister for External Affairs and the High Commissioner of Uganda. We also welcome the calls made with regard asylum and have also made representation to the UK Government to ask that those seeking asylum to escape persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity are treated sensitively and with dignity throughout the process.”
James Dornan MSP signs for Men United...
James Dornan, MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, has become the latest big name signing for Men United.
He has backed Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer’ campaign, which uses the language of sport to engage men in the battle against the disease.
James Dornan signed up over a game of table football with staff and volunteers at a Prostate Cancer UK conference exhibition stand.
James Dornan MSP said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is predicted to be the most common cancer overall by 2030. Despite this we know that the quality of care and support men with the condition receive varies throughout Scotland. To address this I have previously called on NHS Boards to implement Prostate Cancer UK’s excellent Quality Checklist, and reiterate that call today.
Furthermore I am delighted to sign for Men United v Prostate Cancer. It’s a big ask but, working together, I know we can win this.”
Men - and women - are encouraged to go online to search ‘Men United’ to get involved by testing their knowledge of the disease with a simple quiz, and signing for the team. They can also pledge their allegiance by proudly wearing the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badge. To sign for Men United visit: www.prostatecanceruk.org/menunited
Dornan responds to Glasgow City Council Parks Management Consultation.
James Dornan MSP has today urged his constituents to respond to Glasgow City Council's consultation on Park Management Rules. James has written the following submission to the consultation;
RE: Management Rules Regulating Public Parks, Gardens, Open Spaces and Places of Public Resort or Recreation.
Further to your consultation on future park management rules in Glasgow, I have a number of points that I think should be clarified before you proceed.
1) Regarding 4.1 - "Dogs... must be kept on short lead and under close control" and 4.3(a) -" No-one shall in any park exercise more than three dogs at any one time" how was the length of the lead permitted decided upon? Also how many incidents have their been in the last decade in parks in Glasgow that have been caused either by a dog being on too long a lead or by the dog walker walking more than three dogs at a time?
2) As per 7.1 - you state that "Cycle speed should not exceed 5 miles per hour" - how do you intend to police this?
3) Regarding Section 10 - Events and Other Activities, it is clear that you intend to limit the amount of people who can be in the park together as a group. What effect will this have on local park running groups who offer a safe, traffic-free way to take part in exercise all year round and would appear to assist Glasgow City Council in their aim to get more people active, particularly given this is a cost effective way to do it?
It is clear from the correspondence I have received from a number of constituents that these proposals do not have the support of the people of Glasgow partly because it is not clear why some of the proposals in the document have been made.
I urge you to reconsider these proposals and delay implementation until such times as you carry the support of the people of Glasgow and can produce a document which puts their needs at the heart and centre of any future plan so that Glasgow can continue to be our Dear Green Place.
DORNAN WELCOMES IMMIGRATION STORIES AS AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO DEBATE ON IMMIGRATION
SNP MSP for Cathcart, James Dornan, today welcomed the launch of a new book in Scotland called “Scottish Memories – Immigration Stories”. Launching today at the Burrell Collection in Mr Dornan’s constituency, the book is a collaborative piece of work between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Trust Housing, Hanover Scotland and Bield Housing.
The book documents the lives of immigrants who came to Scotland from places such as India, China, Pakistan, Africa and the Caribbean, and share their stories of how they came to settle in Scotland and call Scotland their home. It features men and women who have lived, worked and settled right across the country, most of whom have now raised families here.
The book launch comes on the same day that The Oxford University Migration Observatory published a poll showing that people in Scotland were more at ease with immigration than those in England and Wales. The poll also showed that a majority of people – sixty percent – believe that the Scottish Government is best placed to control immigration policy rather than Westminster.
Mr Dornan said:
“Today brings together the Scottish message on immigration, and that is that we’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns.
“This morning I attended the launch of Immigration Stories in my constituency. It was a pleasure to meet people who had come from all over the world and now call Scotland their home. In a move that wasn’t easy, these remarkable men and women made their living here, got educated here and have raised their families here. Their contribution to our community, our culture and our public life has made Scotland all the better for it.
“Immigration Stories is a remarkable piece of work, and praise should go to Bield Housing, Trust Housing and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their joint efforts. I’d also like to particularly thank Rohini Sharma Joshi, who has driven this project forward right from the start – she can be proud of her efforts.”
“This book is an important contribution to the wider immigration debate. It counters the scare stories that we see pushed by the main Westminster parties, and lays bare the real contribution that immigrants have made to our country.
“It’s also timely that this is launched on the same day as a new poll showing that Scots are much more at ease with immigration than people in England and Wales, and that a majority of people believe that immigration policy should be determined here in Scotland. Scotland is increasingly rejecting the hysterical and irrational debate about immigration that is taking place in Westminster, and instead want to focus on the positive impact that it has and still can make to society.”
James Dornan MSP has welcomed Holocaust Remembrance Day as a chance to reflect on an abhorent, but nevertheless important part of history.
The 27th January, National Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an opportunity to comtemplate the massive loss of innocent life that occurred in Europe from 1933-1945.
Mr. Dornan believes that it is crutial that the persecution of the Jewish people, as well as many other minority groups in Europe, should be remembered by all, so that such a heinous crime may never again be committed.
The Holocaust saw the extermination of almost six million Jews, an uncomprehendable number, across Europe, as well as the deaths of over five million civilians including the specific targeting of homosexuals, the disable, and several ethnic minorities.
Dornan Welcomes Expansion of Free School Meals & Childcare.
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has today (7th January 2014) welcomed the news families and young people across Scotland will benefit from millions of pounds of additional support after First Minister Alex Salmond announced a significant expansion of free school meals and childcare provision.
As part of a £114 million package for young people over two years, every one of Scotland’s P1 to P3 children will have the option of a free meal in school from January next year, improving health and wellbeing, increasing attainment and saving families at least £330 a year for each child.
The measure has been supported by a powerful alliance of campaigners against child poverty, including Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, Children in Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, the Church of Scotland and trade unions.”
Mr Dornan said;
“This announcement will make a real difference to the lives of families and young people across my constituency.
“Between April and September 2013, 23,078 people in Scotland were referred to the Trussell Trust, of these 6,608 were children. Free school meals available for all P1-P3 children is an immediate and direct way to support families who are under increasing pressure from continued cuts at Westminster – cuts which the Conservative Chancellor George Osbourne has said will continue for years to come.
“I’m also delighted that childcare is continuing to be expanded, the extension to childcare announced today will ensure that by August 2015, Scotland will deliver 80 million hours of childcare to pre-school children – the greatest amount in the UK and 6.5 per cent more than if Scotland followed Westminster’s approach in England.
“However only with independence can a truly transformation shift in childcare, such as the commitments to extending childcare outlined in Scotland’s Future, be funded."
James Dornan dismisses Westminster pay rise as 'wrong'.
James Dornan MSP has today hit out at a proposed 11% pay rise for Westminster MPs.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is set to increase MPs’ annual salaries from £66,396 to £74,000. The 11% rise would also mean a rise for MSPs who's earnings are set at 87.5% of that of an MP - or £58,097.
However, Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick has confirmed plans to 'decouple' the salaries, branding a rise 'unthinkable' in the current ecnomic climate.
Speaking to the Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra, Mr. Dornan said: “In a time when family budgets are extremely tight, it is wrong for Westminster to wish to increase the salary of MPs by such a huge amount. I am confident the Scottish parliament will not follow suit.”
James pledges support for Shawlands parking petition
MSP James Dornan has today signed a local petition calling for a review into parking price hikes in the Shawlands area.
The 'Parking Mad' Petition, backed by local businesses and newspapers, calls for Glasgow City Council to review it's policy of raising the prices of parking in Shawlands amind fears that business in the area will be negatively effected.
Mr. Dornan said: “A lot of good work is going on to make Shawlands once again the vibrant, bustling, successful town centre it used to be. This extra disincentive for shoppers and visitors flies in the face of all that.”
James welcomes publication of guide to an independent Scotland
James Dornan MSP has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Governement's White Paper and Urges all Cathcart residents to read most detailed independence blueprint ever produced.
SNP MSP James Dornan is urging all Cathcart residents to get involved in the referendum debate by reading the Scottish Government's flagship guide to independence, which was published this week.
The 670-page document - the most comprehensive blueprint for independence ever produced by any country ahead of an independence vote - was launched to an audience of hundreds of journalists from across the globe.
The document Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland contains a comprehensive Question and Answer section, running to more than 200 pages, providing answers to 650 questions on independence.
The answers – along with downloadable copies of “Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland" - are available at www.scotreferendum.com as a fully searchable resource so that residents of Cathcart can easily find the answers they are looking for ahead of the referendum. Constituents can also request a hard copy by calling 0300 012 1809
The guide shows how Scotland will move from a Yes vote on September 18th next year, toward its independence on March 24th 2016 – ahead of the first elections in an independent Scotland. It also describes the huge financial savings that can be made – including half a billion pounds on defence spending, and savings from no longer contributing to the funding of the Westminster Parliament.
Besides addressing the various questions asked about what independence offers, Scotland's Future also outlines the Scottish Government's ambitious plans to use the powers to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country – should the SNP win the first elections of an independent Scotland in 2016.
At the heart of this is a transformational increase in childcare provision that would help more people into work – particularly women – and provide up to 35,000 jobs in the process. This only becomes possible with the powers offered by independence, because only an independent Scotland would have the resources to make it happen. Currently all the increased tax revenues that would help make the policy affordable would go to the Westminster Treasury, rather than staying in Scotland.
As well as guarantees on the minimum wage and a ‘triple lock’ on pension increases to ensure that they rise at least in line with the cost of living, the Scottish Government also proposes new measures to permanently reduce energy bills by 5% and ensure basic rate tax allowances and credits to rise in line at least with inflation.
Commenting, MSP James Dornan said: "This landmark document takes the referendum debate into a new phase. No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move toward independence, and even the staunchest opponents of Yes now accept that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.
“The guide and the answers it provides will show clearly and simply the difference that we can make in Scotland if decisions on Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland, that is the people who live and work here.
"The referendum on 18th September next year is a vote unlike any other - it is the biggest opportunity we have had as a country in 300 years. That's why I'm calling on everyone in Cathcart - regardless of what their current views are on independence - to read this guide, to compare it with any alternative future for Scotland and make up your own mind.”
MSP BACKING EQUAL MARRIAGE WITH HIS BROTHER IN MIND
SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, will today back equal marriage in the Scottish Parliament with his brother in mind.
Mr Dornan’s brother, Michael, left Scotland a number of years ago to start a new life where he met his partner, Raoul. They now live in Lisbon, Portugal. Michael and Raoul recently announced their intention to marry and, coincidentally, are today signing the papers to start the process for their wedding arrangements in Portugal.
Although James Dornan has been a long-time supporter of equal marriage, his brother’s experience has made him even more determined to back the bill and support LGBT equality.
Speaking ahead of the debate, James said:
“This is a big day for Scotland. A day in which we get to end one of the last pieces of legislative discrimination against our LGBT community. I’m proud that we have got to this stage, and I’ll be proud to vote for equal marriage tonight.
“My brother Michael contacted me only a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he and his partner, Raoul, will be getting married in Portugal.
“Michael had a tough time in Glasgow when he was younger. Being gay was not anywhere near as socially acceptable as it is now. It was because of this; because of the fear and pressure; that he decided to move from Glasgow to London, and then on to Portugal where he has a successful career as a translator.
“Whilst I’m proud of how far we have come as a society I’m ashamed that my brother, and many others like him, felt that they could not stay in their community and be themselves. That there was an entire generation of young gay men and women who felt the need to go elsewhere to be accepted, is a stain on our social history.
“The equal marriage bill that Parliament will vote on tonight will be one of the most debated pieces of legislation that our Parliament has considered so far. It has had a number of public consultations, and has been the source of great debate right across the country.
“Having considered the legislation and the arguments from both sides of the debate, I will be voting in favour of equal marriage and I hope that a majority of my colleagues in the Parliament will join me in doing so. I do this not only for my brother Michael, but for future generations. Never again can we risk people not feeling accepted by their community and society because of their sexuality. Tonight’s vote, and the passing of this bill, is about doing just that.”
Dornan welcomes Scottish Government support for people affected by the bedroom tax
James Dornan MSP has welcomed the £20m in additional support for people affected by the bedroom tax outlined by Finance Secretary John Swinney, in his budget statement.
In support of Shelter’s “Banish the Bedroom Tax Monster” campaign, Mr Swinney announced an investment of up to 20 million pounds this financial year to help those struggling most with the costs of the bedroom tax.
Speaking after the announcement Mr Dornan said; “The Westminster imposed bedroom tax is causing untold stress and harm to my constituents, some of whom are having to decide between eating and heating, in energy rich Scotland this is a disgrace. Today, the bedroom tax was condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur who has called for it to be abolished in light of its dire impacts and the human rights concerns around it. However, as was shown in the reply I received from the Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the Tories have no intention of repealing this attack on the most vulnerable in society. The SNP have made it clear that once independent we will abolish this iniquitous tax but until that Yes vote I am pleased that the Scottish government is doing all it can to mitigate the worst effects of the bedroom tax. This added money will make a huge difference to many people in Cathcart and across Scotland who continue to be affected by these Westminster reforms.”
Dornan writes to Home Secretary Theresa May condemning UKBA's “Go-Home” poster pilot.
James Dornan MSP has written to Theresa May condemning the new the UK Border Agency’s new poster scheme at Brand Street, Glasgow and urging her to reconsider her pilot scheme. The campaign has the UKBA rooms at Brand Street plastered with posters and leaflets which state “Go Home.” In one there is a picture of an aeroplane with the words “The plane can take you home. We can book the tickets” on it. Others say “Is life here hard? Going home is simple.” The pilot is also running in Hounslow, London.
Commenting James said; “This is a deplorable campaign. I am writing to Home Secretary Theresa May to find out if she thinks this type of manipulative messaging to people in very difficult situations is appropriate.
“We only have to look at the terrible events in the Middle East right now to see what ‘home’ can be like for some of these people. There upwards of 1300 Syrian asylum seekers in the UK – undoubtedly including some in Glasgow – does the Westminster Government really think it is appropriate to be telling people like them that it is “easy” to “go home?”
“There is no room for this type of abhorrent xenophobic campaign which will only serve to make already vulnerable people feel unwelcome and fans the flames of racial bigotry.
“The UKBA clearly has absolutely no idea about how modern Scotland treats vulnerable people – regardless of where they are from – their campaign in Brand Street must stop immediately.
“I strongly condemn this poster campaign by the UKBA and urge them to reconsider this so-called pilot and remove their extreme tactics from Scotland.”
James Dornan MSP to set off Marie Curie supporters on twilight fundraising walk.
Cathcart MSP James Dornan will this weekend set off over 750 fundraisers and supporters on the Marie Curie Cancer Care Walk Ten Glasgow event at Pollok Country Park.
The 10k walk will raise much needed funds for local Marie Curie Nurses and services that are a lifeline to many both across Glasgow, and Scotland. Following the walk there will be a chance to enjoy a picnic with live music and entertainment as well as a firework display – this is timed to coincide with the time (10pm) Marie Curie Nurses usually begin their nightshifts, a tribute to the great work that they do.
Ahead of the event, Mr Dornan said:
“Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of the Scotland’s leading charities providing high quality nursing care, totally free, to give people with terminal illnesses the choice of dying at home, supported by their families. “As someone who knows first hand the benefits to both the patient and the family of the patient having the opportunity to die at home, I am looking forward to welcoming Marie Curie supporters to Pollok Park and setting them off on their walk. The Walk Ten event promises to be a really enjoyable night and a chance to celebrate and pay tribute to the dedication of Marie Curie Nurses as well as thank them for the work they do. The money that the participants raise will allow Marie Curie to continue to provide fantastic support and help to the people of Glasgow.”
Ian Duncan Smith invited to see the damage his policy will wreak in Glasgow
THE architect of the bedroom tax and welfare reforms has been invited to Glasgow to see the damage the "outrageous" policy will wreak in the city.
Eight housing associations and an MSP have sent a letter to UK Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, asking him to come to see how families and communities will be hit by the reforms.
James Dornan, SNP MSP for Cathcart, said 2000 families in his constituency, which covers areas like Castlemilk and Kennishead, will be affected.
Housing bosses from the largest, GHA, to smaller community-based associations, have called for action to protect the most vulnerable in the city.
Mr Dornan said: "The bedroom tax is going to be disastrous for many people across my constituency. Already I've met with people who are being expected to find up to an additional £80 per month out of their already stretched income.
"Some of these people are the most vulnerable in our communities and this attack on them is nothing short of cowardly and outrageous."
Hacking and Paterson, based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, has increased a maintenance float from £25 a year to £100 in one go – and owners said they had been warned it could double again.
Residents in the Regent's Park estate in Thornliebank, East Renfrewshire, are outraged by the increase and have contacted their MSP for advice.
The Evening Times reported last week that Hacking and Paterson director David Doran told MSPs on the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee that some owners did not understand how much it cost factors to change a light bulb. Now home owners in the estate of more than 300 properties have told of their anger and dissatisfaction with the company.
James Dornan, MSP for Cathcart, has organised a meeting for residents this week to hear their concerns.
He said the original letter implied the reason for the increase was the new Property Factors Act, when it was, in fact, a commercial decision. Alex Silverman, 68, who has lived in the estate for 11 years, said: "The float, on top of the usual bills, has been £25. Then we had a letter saying it was going up to £100. Next year it said it could be £200.
A SOUTHSIDE MSP is campaigning for residents to shop locally.
Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan visited J Lupton’s, a family-run butcher in his constituency, where the business has seen a surge in trade following revelations about horse meat in the food chain.
Mr Dornan said: “If there is any silver lining in this horse meat scandal it is that people are returning to their local butchers where they know they can be assured that the beef they’re buying is 100 per cent genuine. It’s clearly labelled so they’re able to see where the meat has come from and the journey it has made from the farm gate to the plate.
“Following the horse meat scandal, I wanted to find out what impact it has had on trade in the local butchers. I was reassured to see that trade is healthy, and in the wake, their business is benefiting from customers looking for both quality and assurance.
“Scottish Beef has a deserved reputation for quality and provenance and now is a good time for people to return to their local butcher to ensure they get the best of beef along with a high quality service.” He added: “Lupton’s has been a part of the local community for many years and I’m delighted to see them continue to thrive.”
Pay us £130,000 and we will move OUR eyesore cable box
Jim Agnew and Imran Ahmed, who own three commercial units, including Price Cutter in Tollcross Road, are hoping to convert part of the former Park Bar into three food outlets
They have been given permission by Glasgow City Council to convert the East End site in Altyre Road, which will create 10 jobs.
But a grey Virgin Media cabinet outside the front of the building is stopping them from starting work.
And after a two-year dispute with the company, they are being told it will cost £131,229 to move the cable box just six feet. Mr Agnew, 70, from King's Park, said: "We were given the building warrant and planning permission 4½ years ago.
"We always wanted to do something with this eyesore site because the Commonwealth Games are coming up and it is good for the community.
"So we drew plans with our architect and we had everything sorted. "The only thing we needed to move was the Virgin Media box because it is taking up the whole front of where the entrance would be."
Oatlands £1 property deal has turned into 'nightmare'
Bosses at Glasgow City Council have confirmed they did not value the neighbourhood of Oatlands and parts of nearby Richmond Park before giving it to a private housebuilder for a now nearly-stalled regeneration scheme.
Now city MSP James Dornan – originally from the South Side area – has accused Glasgow City Council of botching the development, which was supposed to have seen £190million worth of work done by today.
Insiders admit that the development could now take years to complete.
The SNP MSP for Cathcart said: "As someone with very close connections to Oatlands – I was born there and both my parents came from there – I looked forward to a new beginning for an area that had been allowed to die a slow and painful death.
"Unfortunately it appears that due to the incompetency of Glasgow City Council this dream is rapidly becoming a nightmare for residents.
"I'm at a loss as to how the council could sign off on a contract without doing a full valuation of the land and considering what sort of deal they would get if, as proved the case, the economy slowed down and the development became less attractive.
SHAWLANDS is on the right track – but more needs to be done to bring the area up to scratch.
That’s the opinion of MSP James Dornan, who took in the area on a walk with Shawlands and Strathbungo community council, Glasgow city council representatives and The Extra last week. The Cathcart representative was joined by Langside councillor Susan Aitken, and both were informed of the problems facing Shawlands by the community councillors working and living there.
Mr Dornan told The Extra: “Shawlands has its problems but it’s not the worst area in my constituency – really, the point of this is making it a place that people want to visit again”.
Issues raised included a lack of street lighting, littering and fly tipping and parking – all of which have featured in The Extra in 2012.
Community council member Margaret Seery complained about the lack of lighting on Kilmarnock Road, stating that there is “no street lighting underneath the arcade – all we have is the lighting from the building, which is too far back to cast light on the street itself”.
Fellow member Fiona Fleming added concerns about fly tipping, adding that changes to bulk uplifts by Glasgow city council had not been made clear to residents.
Dornan highlights all Cathcart has to offer visitors to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games
Dornan highlights all Cathcart has to offer visitors to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.
With implementation of the 2014 Commonwealth Games plans on time and on budget, local SNP MSP James Dornan spoke in Holyrood of what visitors to Cathcart can expect during the Games. Two venues for the Games are in the Cathcart constituency; Cathkin Braes will be the site of the Mountain Biking events which will take place on a new international standard course offering extraordinary views of Glasgow. And Hampden Park, the home of Scottish Football, will host today’s sports stars such as Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis and Eilidh Childs as the venue for the track a field events. Hampden will also host the closing ceremony.
Speaking in the Members Debate brought forward by SNP MSP John Mason, James said;
"And whilst Cathcart has this welcome influx of visitors [attending the Games] they could do worse than to spend time just looking at all we have to offer. They could visit the last conservation village in Glasgow City Boundary at Carmunnock, dating back to the early Christian missionary St Cadoc and passing in to the hands of the Stuart family in 1700. The Stuarts also owned large swathes of Castlemilk, and if you visit Castlemilk Stables, now home to Cassiltoun Housing Association, you will see some of the remnants of that and later periods.
"At the other end of the constituency we have Pollok Park, winner of Europe’s best park in 2008 and UK’s Best Park in 2006 and home to the magnificent Burrell Collection. Just down from there you have the A-listed Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, built and paid for by Sir John Stirling Maxwell in time to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, it also hosts a magnificent Wurlitzer Organ.
"Close by is Sir John Maxwell School, built in 1854, but much more importantly, famous for the fact that the great John McLean used to teach Marxism to packed night classes there at the turn of the 20th century.
"But probably the most important part of Cathcart’s history lies in the Battle of Langside. It is no exaggeration to say that if this battle, between the forces of Mary Queen of Scots and her half-brother James Stewart had turned out differently and Mary hadn’t had to flee to England to seek refuge from her cousin Elizabeth, and we all know what happened then, many of the constitutional debates we’ve been having and will continue to have over the next two years may not have been necessary. Historic Scotland are considering whether to make the Battlefield area of my constituency part of their historic battlefields inventory, clearly this is a proposal which has my full support"
Cathcart MSP, James Dornan, hosted a hugely successful jobs fayre at Langside College for young people across his constituency
The local MSP brought together private and public sector employers and agencies to offer employment opportunities and advice to 16 - 26 year olds. The event was also attended by the Scottish Government's Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance MSP, who spoke to many of those involved, discussed their experiences and highlighted The Scottish Government's commitment to tackling youth unemployment.
Following the event James Dornan said: "I was delighted with the huge success of the jobs fayre with over 500 people attending seeking work, advice and training."I decided to hold this jobs fayre as it is clear the issue of unemployment is a huge concern across my constituency. The event just confirmed my view that people are eager to find work - they only need to be given the right opportunity and support.
"As a local MSP I feel I have a responsibility to support my constituents in any way that I can, and that includes by hosting events such as this.
"Given the incredibly positive feedback I intend to repeat this event in the future and am looking into hosting smaller and more localised jobs fayres around the constituency. To ensure that this continues to be useful for my constituents I will be seeking feedback from the organisations and participants involved.
"I wish to thank the organisations that took part and Langside College for being such a great host venue, the Cathcart constituency is extremely fortunate to have such a fabulous community facility on its doorstep. I’d also like to give huge thanks to Angela Constance MSP, Minister for Youth Employment, for her participation and enthusiasm, but most of all I’d like to thank the 500 people who attended with a desire to find employment and training. I wish them every success in the future and will continue to do all I can to support them
Ross Kemp's "dangerous" Glasgow was a dangerous, and inaccurate, portrayal of this great city
Ross Kemp's Sky show Extreme World featured Glasgow on Monday night and some of the problems which affect the city. Glasgow MSP James Dornan shares his thoughts with STV on the portrayal of the city in the programme.
Kevin Bridges does a skit about Glasgow in the past being simultaneously Europe’s most violent city and the UK’s friendliest city, the punch line being that ‘Weegies’ll stab you with a smile'.
It perfectly encapsulates the traditional view of the 'old' Glasgow way, where the streets were mean and only brave souls ventured onto them but you could be sure that someone always had your back. It is the first part of this Glasgow that the recent Sky One programme presented by Ross Kemp tried to portray.
The Glasgow Kemp showed no doubt exists but what was missing was the Glasgow I see day in day out in my work as a local MSP. Kemp decided it was better television to concentrate on the difficult rather than the fantastic work being done on so many levels to make Glasgow better and the folk working tirelessly to throw off the reputation of the past.
Now it would be remiss of any politician or community activist to say that Glasgow has not had, nor does it currently have, its problems. They have been well documented and it is no secret that Glasgow’s relationship with alcohol needs to change. And steps, such as the SNP Government’s flagship policy of minimum pricing for alcohol, whilst not a silver bullet, will go some way to transforming this destructive relationship.
Knife crime, too often the scourge of our communities, is still a major issue but the numbers of those affected are falling, mainly due to the increased numbers of police on the streets and the great work of the Violence Reduction Unit and campaigns such as No Knives Better Lives are doing.
Labour's lack of vision leaves people wondering what they now stand for...
Following a speech by Scottish Labour Leader, Johann Lamont, where she suggested that policies such as free prescriptions, free concessionary travel, no tuition fees and the council tax freeze should all be abolished, James Dornan MSP has written to Glasgow South MP Tom Harris asking if he supports the policies that many in his constituency continue to benefit from.
The SNP MSP said:
"This was a disastrous speech by the Labour leader and only goes to show how out of touch the Scottish Labour Party has become with the priorities of the people of Scotland.
"Jobs and the economy is at the centre of everything that The Scottish Government does and Johann Lamont’s suggestion seems to be that we cut the number of apprentices, which are benefiting so many young people across Scotland. This just highlights that Labour just doesn’t get it when it comes to jobs and the economy. What a bizarre suggestion from the leader of what was once termed ‘the workers party’. Of course we should always be striving to make the quality of apprenticeships better, but that should be done whilst maintaining and working towards increasing their numbers.
"Johann Lamont rightly talks about the challenge that Scotland faces as the world economy adapts to emerging markets in the East, but the idea that we rise to that challenge by making it more difficult to get the education, training, skills and knowledge that is required to reindustrialise Scotland shows that she simply doesn’t have the ability or the vision to lead Scotland forward with both economic growth and equality of opportunity.
"Phrases such as ‘we can’t afford all the freebies’ could easily have come from any Tory MP or MSP, and Labour members will be left wondering how they’ll be better with labour never - mind ‘better together’ with the Tories.
"Whilst Labour continues to position itself on the right of Scottish Politics, the SNP Government will continue to fund 25, 000 apprenticeship places a year, invest in our population by maintaining the principle of free education, move forward with our relentless drive to make our nation healthier by protecting the NHS budget and keeping prescriptions free for all. We will also continue to invest in the green economy so that Scotland continues to lead the way with radical climate friendly policies, whilst benefitting our economy with jobs and growth.
"The SNP has a long term vision for Scotland as a progressive beacon in Northern Europe, where access to education, healthcare, public services and jobs is something that everyone can rely on. That’s why the people of Scotland continue to back the SNP at election time and that’s why more and more people are realising that the best people to make decisions about Scotland are the people of Scotland; and this can only be achieved with independence.
Lamont's Summer of Silence heading for winter of discontent
Johann Lamont has been challenged to end her long summer of silence and tell Scotland what she thinks on a number of key issues facing the country.
The Labour leader has conspicuously made no public comment on a number of issues running over the summer – particularly in relation to the independence debate. Despite repeated requests, she has failed to disclose:
Whether she supports Trident missiles being based on the River Clyde –the only candidate in the Labour leadership election not to state her position.
Whether she supports lowering the voting age to 16.
Whether she supports greater powers over railways being devolved to the Scottish Parliament, which would allow greater flexibility with the franchise.
Whether she agrees with her party colleague Ian Davidson MP that the BBC is guilty of ‘systematic bias’, following his on-air revelation that ‘several complaints’ had been made by the Labour party to the BBC. Was Johann Lamont aware of these complaints and, if so, does she agree? If she was not aware, why not?
Whether she will discipline her front-bencher Neil Findlay for publicly mocking Alasdair Darling and the Better Together campaign which Ms Lamont has taken the Labour party into.
Whether she will allow grassroots Labour members to openly debate the party’s position on the constitution at the next Labour conference.
Commenting, SNP MSP James Dornan said: “If Johann Lamont seriously aspires to be First Minister of Scotland one day, she’s going to have to start acting like a leader and tell the people of Scotland what she thinks.
“The summer months have seen the anti-independence campaign start to unravel - with a succession of senior Labour politicians openly disagreeing with Labour’s participation in the so-called Better Together campaign – but Johann has said absolutely nothing to deal with their concerns.
James Dornan congrstulates local dancer Jodie Taylor on being named a Paralympic Flame Ambassador
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has today laid down a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating local dancer Jodie Taylor on being named as one of Glasgow’s Flame Ambassadors at the Paralympic Torch Celebration which took place at the Hidden Gardens in the Tramway Theatre on Sunday 26th August. Jodie (18) had been chosen for the role through her dance class Make Music Move, a summer school at the Tramway Theatre and because she perfectly encapsulates the spirit and aims of the Paralympic Torch tour – that everyone should believe that anyone can do anything.
Commenting James said: “Jodie is a fantastic young girl who has never allowed her disability to stop her doing anything and will be a great ambassador for the south side, the city and, Scotland. She is a credit to herself, her mother Bernie and her family and it was great to see her at the Celebration at the Hidden Gardens on Sunday, which was a brilliant event and a perfect send off for the flame. I look forward to celebrating the Paralympic Games and wish all Paralympians success in London"
Dornan organises youth jobs fayre for Cathcart's young people
SNP Member of The Scottish Parliament, James Dornan, has organised a jobs fayre for young people in his constituency.
Mr Dornan has pulled together employers and, private and public sector agencies including s1 Jobs, Glasgow Housing Association, The Princes Youth Business Trust and ASDA, in a pledge to take direct action to tackle youth unemployment in his own constituency.
The event, which will run from 10:00 until 14:00 on Friday 5 October at Langside College, will also be attended by The Scottish Government’s Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance MSP.
Dornan welcomes Olympics kick-off at Hampden
James Dornan has welcomed the start of the Olympics in Scotland as the US women’s football team takes on France at Hampden.
Mr Dornan, whose constituency Cathcart covers Hampden, says he is looking forward to the opening games at the national stadium.
“It is fantastic that Olympic football events are taking place at Scotland’s National Stadium in my constituency of Cathcart.
“With today marking the beginning of Olympic football in Glasgow, I hope we can put all previous gaffes on security surrounding the games behind and focus on what they are all about – the sport.
“This city is excited to see the wealth of talent from across the world.
“Glasgow is a great city and Hampden is a great stadium. Both are ready and looking forward to welcoming players, staff and fans.
“The 2012 Olympics provide a good opportunity to showcase Scotland’s strengths on an international stage.”
Dornan welcomes Equal Marriage legislation
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has welcomed news that The Scottish Government will bring forward legislation that will allow same-sex couples in Scotland to get married.
Current legislation prevents religious bodies from holding same-sex ceremonies but the new legislation, if passed by parliament, will finally allow them to do so whilst at the same time protect those religious bodies who do not wish to solemnise same-sex relationships.
Mr Dornan, who has long supported equal marriage and will vote in favour of it in Parliament, said: “This is a brave decision by The Scottish Government and a huge step forward for equality in Scotland; leading the rest of the UK in making our country fairer.
“Equal Marriage has undoubtedly been one of the hottest political topics since I was elected in 2011 and I have always been of the opinion that equal marriage is the right and proper thing for Scotland.
“65% of those in Scotland who responded to the consultation were in favour of equal marriage, and 92% of those who responded were of the opinion that those religious bodies who do not wish to conduct same-sex ceremonies should not be compelled to do so – so the case for equal marriage and religious freedom has been made loud and clear. They are not mutually exclusive and I am delighted that The Scottish Government has taken these concerns on board.
“This will be a proud day for many people in my constituency and right across the country. I am delighted for all those who will benefit from this progressive piece of legislation.”
Dornan speaks at Glasgow Pride Festival
MORE than 6000 people took to the streets of the city for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Pride Festival last weekend.
Attendance records were shattered at Scotland’s biggest LGBT event.
Pride Glasgow kicked off last Saturday at noon with a parade from Kelvingrove Park to George Square. X Factor winner Joe McElderry and Lloyd Daniels performed on stage, as did Glasgow’s new boy band Supanova and the Cheeky Girls.
The celebration continued into the early hours with more partying at nightclub AXM. Pride Glasgow director Ross Stevenson said: “I am so glad the parade and festivities were such a success and happened without any major problems. We estimate that a record number of around 6000 people participated.”
Haydn Pope from AXM added: “We’ve opened the Glasgow club in April and what a fabulous city, and one great street party. “We stepped in as a sponsor, and it’s really important to me that we are part of the community and we’re giving back. Everyone is here having a great time partying, but also here demanding equal rights.”
At the festival, James Dornan, SNP MSP, spoke out against homophobia. He said: “No one should be in that position, and that is why we are here calling for equality. “I know Scotland is up for it, I know you are and so I am.”
Boost for Commuters as free Wi-Fi comes to Edinburgh-Glasgow Line.
The start of a free wi-fi service for passengers on trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow has been hailed by SNP MSPs in both cities as a significant economic boost. The Scottish Government has provided funding to overcome the technical challenges and provide a free wi-fi service on four trains on the Edinburgh to Glasgow route, on a trial basis between June and September.
The trial will help to establish which technology works best, with a view to on board wi-fi provision possibly forming part of the next rail franchise from 2014. Passengers will be encouraged to provide feedback while using the service.
Welcoming the start of the service, Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan said: “Like many commuters, I regularly use the Glasgow-Edinburgh line, and I know how much this will benefit people.
“This is also a strong signal of the Scottish Government’s determination to roll out broadband provision to every corner of our country.
“As we spend more and more of our lives online, the importance of better internet access to both the economy and our everyday lives cannot be understated."
Edinburgh Pentlands MSP and member of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, Gordon MacDonald added: “The ability to access the internet on the move has never been so important and has become critical to businesses in the 21st century.
“Providing wi-fi access to rail passengers helps to increase productivity and will provide an economic boost along the route.
“I am very optimistic that the results of this trial will be positive ones and the lessons learnt will be hugely valuable when looking at developing this service further."
Dornan urges Council - do more to consume less energy
MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, has urged Glasgow City Council to do more to reduce their energy consumption.
A report by Audit Scotland found that Glasgow City Council was responsible for 8% of all energy consumption across the public sector, whilst local authorities such as Edinburgh and Aberdeen were responsible for 4% and 3% respectively.
James Dornan highlighted this issue at Environment questions today in The Scottish Parliament.
He said: “This report is a scandalous indictment on Glasgow City Council and I hope steps have been taken to show a considerable improvement in its energy consumption rates. Being responsible for 8% of all energy consumption across the public sector gives Glasgow City Council the worst record of any local authority in Scotland, and I’m sure that the people of Glasgow will be expecting the council to take serious and timeous action.
“Scotland has set the most ambitious climate change targets in Europe but we won’t meet them if local authorities aren’t willing to contribute seriously. It’s time for Glasgow to play its part in helping Scotland to meet these important targets and take urgent action biw.
Labour's attack on modern apprentices 'shameful and desperate'
SNP MSP for Cathcart, James Dornan, has denounced Labour’s attack on modern apprentices as “shameful and desperate”.
Following an exchange at First Minister’s Question’s today (Thursday) where Labour’s youth employment spokesperson, Kezia Dugdale repeated her inaccurate claims that the apprenticeship programme was not getting young people in to work, James Dornan said: “Despite the rhetoric from the Labour Party the reality is that they missed a golden opportunity to show their support for modern apprentices when they voted against the creation of 25, 000 places in the last Scottish budget.
James Dornan MSP challenges council's obstruction to community renewables project
James Dornan, MSP for Cathcart, has again challenged Glasgow City Council’s obstruction over the Castlemilk and Carmunnock Wind Park Trust’s project to build a small urban wind park in the community, with the profits going back in to local community projects in the communities of Castlemilk and Carmunnock.
Speaking in Parliament today the local MSP highlighted the case during parliamentary question time, and expressed his regret that Glasgow City Council would not give the local trust the right to use the land despite the council previously having granted them planning permission to build a small urban wind park on the same ground.
The project, which is made up of local volunteers from Castlemilk and Carmunnock, are now having to re-locate their project to neighbouring local authority South Lanarkshire, meaning that Glasgow has lost out on being home to Scotland’s first ever community owned and managed urban wind park.
Dornan welcomes news that GCC may use Strathclyde Pension Fund to boost employment
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has today welcomed news that Glasgow City Council are investigating ways of using the Strathclyde Pension Fund to boost employment in the city.
Following a Parliamentary Question asking what discussions the government have had with the council on employment issues, The Scottish Government said that positive discussions had already taken place on the viability of the idea. Glasgow City Council are currently carrying out their own investigations in to this.
Mr Dornan said: “Employment is a huge issue right across the city and I’m delighted to see The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council working together to come up with new and innovative ways to use their assets to create jobs.
“I have written to Councillor Gordon Matheson asking how this investigation is going, and if they have any initial ideas on how they might use these resources for the benefit of the people of Glasgow.
Dornan welcomes boost in local police numbers
MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, has welcomed news that police numbers in Strathclyde were up from 2007.
Strathclyde Policy Authority had a total of 7, 822 officers in the first quarter of 2007, however the new count shows 8, 447 officers across the Strathclyde police region – an increase of 625 new officers.
Welcoming the news, Mr Dornan said:
“I‘m delighted with these figures and believe that they demonstrate the seriousness with which The Scottish Government takes the issues of community safety and justice.
Dornan raises Clyde Pumps redundancies with First Minister
Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan has raised recent news from Clyde Union Pumps that they plan to make 90 workers at their Cathcart plant redundant with First Minister Alex Salmond.
North Carolina based SPX announced last week that they will begin consultations with staff and unions as to who will meet the criteria for redundancy, with consultations expected to end by June 16th.
Local MSP James Dornan has arranged to meet with SPX Chief Executive, Keith Mitchell, and has also raised the matter with First Minister Alex Salmond. Mr Dornan said:“This is a blow to 90 hard working employees at one of Cathcart’s oldest institutions, and to the wider community.
“I raised the matter today with the First Minister and he has assured me that PACE, (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) The Scottish Government agency responsible for dealing with large scale redundancies, have met with staff at Clyde Union Pumps on Tuesday of this week to ensure that those being made redundant are fully supported in to finding new employment.
“I have arranged to meet with Chief Executive Keith Mitchell and will be seeking assurances that the process will be fair and transparent. I’ll also be offering my services as the local MSP to any member of staff who needs any advice during or following the redundancy process.
Dornan welcomes the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to the Scottish Parliament.
James Dornan MSP for Glasgow Cathcart hosted an event in Parliament in 16th May in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust MSPs were able to learn more about the Trust’s Living Longer, Living Better campaign.
The event pitted MSPs against each other in a lung function test to see how their function compared with someone with Cystic Fibrosis. James achieved 110% on his spirometry test coming in 2nd place amongst his fellow MSPs.Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common inherited conditions with almost 1,000 suffers in Scotland. It is caused by a faulty gene that affects the lungs, digestive system and pancreas, clogging them with a thick sticky mucus. It is a progressive disease but advances in treatment and better access to clinical expertise means that many people with CF are living longer than ever before.
Commenting James said; “After visiting the fantastic facilities at Gartnavel Hospital and getting the chance to meet the dedicated health professionals and sufferers of the condition I was delighted to get the opportunity to host this event for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Putting the highly competitive MSP’s results from the lung function test on to a league table and using that to compare to the lung function of someone with CF was a great idea .
It really illustrated how much more effort people with CF have to make just to take a breath and highlighted what a battle it is to live with this condition that claims two young lives a week. But progress is being made, both by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and also by biomedical companies in Scotland . This includes Lamellar Biomedical who I met with after my initial meeting with the CF Trust and who are conducting pioneering and innovative work in the field of synthesising lamellar bodies. The up-coming opening of the new children’s hospital at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow in the next few years will ensure that Scots with the disease continue to receive the best quality of care.
Dornan celebrates achievement of local firm
Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan has today laid down a Parliamentary motion congratulating Castlemilk based Castle Precision Engineering Systems on being awarded the contract to build the 90kg solid aluminium wheels on the Bloodhound Supersonic Car.
The Bloodhound Project aims to build a supersonic car that will attempt to break the land speed record and reach an astonishing speed of 1,000 miles per hour. Chosen to engineer the wheels on the supersonic car is Castle Precision Engineering Systems, a prestigious engineering firm which was awarded the 2010 Institution of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturer of the Year awards.
Commenting James said: “The principle aim of Bloodhound Project is to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists and after seeing the reaction to the replica that was shown at the Scottish Parliament last week, it is clear that the future is in good hands and that innovation is alive and well in Scotland.
That Castle Precision Engineering Systems, a local company which has been at the top of its game for decades, is playing a pivotal role in this project is fantastic and is testament to all at the company. I am delighted that the fastest wheels in the world will be built in Scotland, in Glasgow Cathcart, and I wish the project every success
Dornan welcomes funding boost for local Veterans
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has today welcomed the announcement of an additional £80,000 of funding across Scotland from the Scottish Veterans Fund of which £5,732 will go to Glasgow’s Helping Heroes by laying down a motion in the Scottish Parliament.
Glasgow’s Helping Heroes was established in 2010 as an organisation that aims to provide information on access to and co-ordination of support across a wide range of areas including health, housing, social care, employability and financial services, for service personnel and their families and carers.
Commenting after the announcement James said: “I am delighted that Veterans Minister Keith Brown has announced this extra provision for helping veterans across the country and more specifically welcome the announcement of funds to Glasgow’s Helping Heroes. Mr Brown and I recently visited Cathcart Old Parish Church in my constituency who do lots of work to support veterans and where more is planned for the future. I am absolutely thrilled that this money has been awarded to Glasgow’s Helping Heroes who are doing fantastic work across the city with veterans and their families"
Scotland's final should stay at Hampden
Cathcart MSP James Dornan has laid down a motion in the Scottish Parliament urging the Scottish Football Association to ignore calls for the Scottish Cup Final to be played a Murrayfield in Edinburgh.
Hampden Park, within the Cathcart constituency, has held a number of memorable international and national finals and few stadiums in the world match it for its atmosphere. Speaking from Holyrood James said: “I wholeheartedly congratulate both Hibs and Hearts for reaching the final of the Scottish Cup.
Playing at the national stadium in a national final will be something that many of these players will have dreamt about and it would be a shame to take that from them. I’m sure that the vast majority of players and fans will be looking forward to seeing the first Scottish Cup Final between these two great clubs since 1896 being played at the home of Scottish Football here in Cathcart, the constituency I have the honour to represent.
"Glasgow is a great city and Hampden is a great stadium. Both are ready and looking forward to welcoming both sets of fans when their teams take their place in the final on May 19th."
James Dornan MSP welcomes recognition of Glasgow as "International City of Sporting Excellence"
Cathcart MSP James Dornan today lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming news that Glasgow has been named on the 25 city shortlist as one of the world’s greatest sporting cities.
The SportBusiness Ultimate Sport’s City Awards are a bi-annual award recognising the best sporting cities in the world. Criteria met includes the relative size of cities, infrastructure, and, ability to host international events. Glasgow placed 11th on the list in 2010. Amongst the other cities shortlisted are London, Sydney, Rio De Janeiro, Durban and the 2010 winner Melbourne.
Commenting James said: “Anyone who has been to a sporting event in Glasgow will know of the fantastic facilities and infrastructure that Glasgow has to offer. This includes Hampden Park, standing proudly in my constituency. Few will ever forget Zinedine Zidane’s wonder goal in the UEFA Champions League Final held at Hampden in 2002 and being further recognised on the shortlist of such a prestigious international list is something that all Glaswegians can be proud of.
This great city’s reputation will only be enhanced by holding the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the millions of pounds of investment into infrastructure in Glasgow, including the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The Games will show the world yet again the mix of facilities and hospitality that ensures Glasgow is on the elite list of places to hold these events
Dornan delighted as local bus service saved!
SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, has expressed his delight at news that the local 29 and 2 bus services in his constituency have been saved.
The MSP has been working with First Glasgow and SPT to find a solution to the gap in service that would have occurred, and he also held a public meeting which was attended by around 140 residents who were concerned about the news. After hearing the news the local MSP said: “I am delighted at the news that the number 29 and 2 bus services will continue. The local bus service really is a life line for some people, and that’s why I was determined to find a local solution to a local problem.
“I would like to pay tribute to SPT who have been most helpful throughout this entire process. I would also like to thank the many members of the public who have written to me, met with me and worked with me, to ensure that their local community gets the bus service that it deserves – this will come as great news to them.
“This result only goes to show what can be achieved when you roll up your sleeves and work for local communities, unlike the Labour Party who have tried to politicise this whole affair from the word go. They were more interested in political posturing and scaremongering for votes in May’s council election, but local people now know that it’s the SNP who has listened, it’s the SNP who has taken action and it’s the SNP who have delivered.”
Dornan welcomes more money for Carers
The Scottish Labour and, Scottish Liberal Democrats had their conferences a couple of weeks ago and the Conservatives have theirs this coming weekend.
The SNP Spring Conference took place this past weekend at the SECC in Glasgow - the biggest spring conference that the party has ever held.
Thousands of delegates, visitors, media and stall holders attended, all of whom helped to make this conference the best Spring conference that I have ever attended.
The great thing about conferences is that they give an opportunity for members to affect real decisions in the way their party moves forward. When you are the party of government this is even more important because these decisions can affect Scots from all walks of life. I was most pleased about the £9 million pounds announced by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon which has been earmarked to help provide short breaks for carers.
I’ve spoken at length in the past about my commitment to unpaid carers - the unsung heroes of Scottish society. It always floors me when I come across people of all walks of life who take on extraordinary roles, roles that require 24/7 commitment, and then make them appear ordinary by just getting on with it. On a personal level I was delighted to meet an old friend and colleague of my late father and his. It was great to get the opportunity to speak to someone who remembered him from the old days working on the docks.
Truly one of the best parts of the job is getting the opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life, from old family friends like George, to people on the door steps when out canvassing to those who work in many different sectors and spheres.
A GLASGOW aid agency is embarking on a fact-finding mission to develop some of the poorest communities in a former war-torn African country.
Volunteer Ross Galbraith, from Glasgow the Caring City, will see first hand how children and their families are living as part of the charity's Southern Sudan Project. He will be joined on the week-long trip by South Side MSP James Dornan, and one of their first stop-off points will be a return visit to Matthew's Farm in the Katire region. They will also be travelling through areas of Uganda to visit community schemes there. Matthew's Farm is close Ross's heart as he helped raise cash for it with help from the people of Glasgow.
From humble beginnings in 2006, it has become a lifeline as it helped communities grow their own produce. It has also changed the lives and shaped the futures of young people previously child soldiers in Sudan's bloody civil war. Following the success of the project, Ross believes now is the time to help the people of the town of Ikotos to further develop education, health and welfare.
Ross said: "It is years since I last visited the southern Sudan area and this trip has come at the right time.
"Matthew's Farm has been a huge success and is now self-sustaining.
"What started out with just four people being taught how to sow seeds and grow their own produce has ended up with 400 people graduating from the agricultural project.
"They are now small-holders supporting and feeding their families. It is now a case of building on this and developing health, education and welfare. That's why we want to get out there and see exactly what the community needs."
First Scottish Parliamentary Intern begins work for James Dornan MSP
A pupil from Kings Park Secondary School has become the first paid parliamentary intern in Scotland.
Campbell Mills, 16, is in fifth year at the South Side school and will work for Cathcart MSP James Dornan once a week in his constituency office in Mount Florida. Campbell won the the coveted place after entering an essay competition which Mr Dornan opened for 5th and 6th year pupils at Castlemilk High School, King’s Park Secondary School and St. Margaret Mary’s Secondary School at the end of last year.
Entrants had to submit an essay of between 2,500 and 3,000 words which related to Scotland’s future. Topics covered by pupils included multiculturalism, the Scottish justice system, Scottish independence, Scottish confidence and Scottish identity. Candidates were then interviewed as part of the selection process. Campbell’s winning essay was titled 'the Scottish Justice System – Is it working?' and since starting his internship last week, he has been carrying out research into knife crime.
Campbell will work a total of 36 hours for Mr Dornan. James Dornan MSP said: "The essays were all varied and interesting and of a very high standard but I particularly liked how Campbell used topical examples of legal cases in Scotland to explain his argument and to open up the debate.
"Campbell looked at both sides of the argument and expressed his own, well-considered views. His good use of language made the essay interesting to read. "I look forward to seeing him put his language skills to good use when he drafts press releases and research briefings for me. "Campbell will also be working on a small research project during the internship programme and his clear planning skills and obvious interest in politics will be of great benefit to him. "He will have an opportunity to experience all aspects of life and work in an MSP’s office which I hope will inspire him to see this as a possible career in the future."
James welcomes free WiFi for Mount Florida
SNP MSP for Cathcart, James Dornan, has welcomed Scottish Government investment in free WiFi at Mount Florida train station.
News of the investment came as the Transport Minister Keith Brown announced 25 stations across Scotland where free WiFi will be installed for passengers, with seven of those announced in the City of Glasgow. This sees Glasgow receive more WiFi investment than any other region.
Welcoming the news, Mr Dornan said: "This is good news for my constituents and good news for Glasgow as a whole.
"Mount Florida is an extremely busy station, one of many of the Southside’s urban rail network in my constituency, so I’m delighted that The Scottish Government have included this station along with another 6 in the city. I’ve always said that Glasgow is the economic engine room of Scotland, and if we’re to live up to that then this further WiFi connectivity across the city will only help.
"This is another demonstration of the importance that The Scottish Government places on Glasgow as far as infrastructure investment goes, and I look forward to seeing more come Glasgow’s way as WiFi is rolled out right across Scotland’s rail network.”
James welcomes news that abolition of hospital car parking charges brings £4m saving for Glasgow public
SNP MSP for Cathcart, James Dornan has welcomed news that in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS area staff, patients and visitors have saved a total of £4 million in car parking charges since their abolition in 2008 by the Scottish Government.
Mr Dornan’s constituency contains the Victoria Hospital, one of the seven hospitals in the Greater Glasgow authority where charges were abolished.
Figures reveal that £13 million has been saved by NHS staff, patients and visitors across Scotland since charges were abolished.
James Dornan said: “The Scottish Government were right to abolish car parking charges where possible, sticking to the principle that our NHS is a service there to serve people and not to make profits.
“With the Victoria Hospital being one of the main institutions in my constituency, I’m delighted to see that the abolition of these charges have saved staff, patients and visitors so much across Glasgow and here in my the Southside.
“I understand that boards are working on the potential increase in demand, the promotion of greener transport and the possible misuse of spaces by commuters and others, and this is something that I will pay attention to as their work progresses.
“Although Health Secretary Alex Neil has made it clear that he would like to abolish charges at PFI car parks, the last Labour executive in Scotland have locked boards in to long-term contracts with operators. However The Scottish Government are committed to new models of funding which mean that the private sector can’t make excessive profits at the taxpayers’ expense.”
Charity metal theft 'despicable' crime
SNP MSP James Dornan has described the theft of hospital beds from a Glasgow charity which were bound for South Sudan as a “despicable” crime.
Metal thieves have stolen 15 beds from ‘Glasgow, the Caring City’ which were due to be transported to a new maternity clinic in the African country.
James Dornan MSP, who has visited the clinic in South Sudan where the beds were due to be sent to, said: “This was a despicable crime with massive implications. These beds were for a maternity clinic where women currently have to sit on the floor while receiving treatment.
“This was an opportunistic crime at its worst where the consequences are far-reaching. These beds would have made a massive difference to the wellbeing of women at the clinic.
“Police are in the process of reviewing CCTV images and are appealing to anyone who may have any knowledge or information about the theft.
James Dornan MSP backs campaign to improve access to MS medicines