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We arrived on day one thinking we would be getting our desks and computers sorted, at a push we thought we'd be carefully positioning out pencil holders on our own desks by the Friday. Four weeks later our desks have just arrived - and we are very grateful - but we are still waiting on our computers. We are learning the pace of the Westminster administrative machine.
We have all had to undergo extensive security checks. I have never in my life been asked on a form about where my partner lived three years ago, or the date of birth of my mum and dad. At least we know they are thorough. Once this has all been cleared we will get access to the intranet and our own email addresses, which will be a joy. Currently we are all using Tommy's parliament one which I think may be confusing for the recipients. Tommy is getting upwards of 100 emails a day which is incredible. A huge part of our day is just managing them all and making sure the important ones like those from constituents, charities and local groups get responded to.
Anyone who has been in the office will have noticed the lovely paint job that has been done, and if they've not noticed the colour they will have noticed the smell. You might also have seen the new signage. It is official now - we are sharing with Kenny. It's fantastic to have our MP and our MSP in the same office and means we can work together on many constituency issues. We are working hard to find an office in Craigmillar too. Willowbrae is perfect because it is right in the centre of the constituency, but there are not great transport links to Craigmillar. We want a space in the south of the constituency where we can work some of the time, so people there can easily pop in to see us too. We will be doing a monthly surgery in Craigmillar as well as Portobello, Central and Willowbrae.
Speaking of surgeries we have had our first few already, which has been great. Like many party members who will have spent months knocking on the doors of our neighbours telling them what a fantastic constituency MP Tommy would be, it is really rewarding to see that come to fruition. It is one of the biggest parts of his job and one the whole team is determined that we get right. There are certain things we can't change being only the 'third' party (any one else enjoying the news coverage and seeing where they used to talk about Lib Dems it's now all about our lot?) but we can do our best to mitigate them and to fight the inherent unfairness in the system. So if anyone reading this needs help, or knows someone who does - from benefits to bins, from immigration to education or from debt issues to health issues - please come to a surgery or give us a call. If we can help we will.
We will be doing a regular 'office' blog. I can't promise it will be as exciting as Tommy's, but we want to let constituents know what we are up to and, if you do come to us for anything, whether it be for support or working together on projects or events in the constituency, you already know a bit about who we are.
Time is running out for many of Edinburgh's small businesses. Today I've written to the Chancellor asking for additional emergency assistance for our hospitality sector through the COVID-19 epidemic.