Last week “the Beast from the East” seemed to stop Scottish life in its tracks, including mine. When the snow started to fall on Tuesday night I was at an equality event in the Scottish Parliament and I knew then we were going to have to dig in. As the week wore on alerts changed from yellow, to amber and for those of us in the central belt, a very disconcerting red.
When such severe and unusual weather conditions hit, they hit everyone, myself included. I usually come back to the constituency on a Thursday night but last week it was becoming clear that making a journey from Edinburgh wouldn’t be safe until Friday. In-fact, so many people did indeed heed the Transport Ministers warnings and decided not to travel which I was heartened to see. The minister was a bit of a “machine” during storm Emma, his updates were constant and helpful. Yes, there’s always going to be issues with roads and travel in such a storm; but I really was impressed with the constant stream of information coming from the various transport organisations.
Sadly, however, there have been several social media reports of wages being docked or workers being forced to use holidays for snow days, it’s unfair and to be frank dangerous. I understand that there are vital services which have to continue to run; and I really do admire and thank all the front line workers who went above and beyond to not only get to work, and those who stayed for extra hours to take care of the most vulnerable and ensure our infrastructure was able to continue to run as best it could. Those workers are great and we are thankful, but with the schools being closed, child care facilities minimal and many transport links out; it’s unthinkable that some employers saw fit to force staff into work using the threat of a pay cut, especially when some of the reports I’m seeing are from already low paid workers. I was quite honestly flabbergasted, I join other politicians who’ve come out to condemn it, and this will be something we will be looking at in the future.
On a brighter note my social media was also flooded with heart-warming scenes and stories of communities coming together, of neighbours looking out for each other and random acts of kindness. It reminded me of days gone by when blethering to your neighbour was just the norm, but then as we saw over the festive period, this constituency is one of the best when it comes to looking out for our most vulnerable.
In other political news the Prime Minister made her third Brexit speech, a speech which was designed to give the country a clear idea of what leaving the EU would look like, and any deals which would be struck. Instead, it left us none the wiser and it seems the negotiations are not really that much further forward; a lot of waffle and very little substance. I’ll continue to do my job at the Scottish Parliament representing my constituency and standing up for the people who live here; in such uncertain times it would seems a “strong voice” and a sure plan is needed more than ever.
This week will be a busy one, there will be a snow clear up going on across Glasgow and I point constituents to the Glasgow City Council website and twitter pages to keep up to date. As temperatures remain low we are at risk of icy conditions underfoot, so please continue to look out for some of our more vulnerable residents. I cannot thank each and individual who made this snowy week more bearable, from the carers and health care staff, to the many council workers and volunteers who cleared roads and pavements, not an ounce of work went without notice.