This year marks 20 years of the Ripple Project. It was great to be able to pop in and join them in their celebrations. If you're not already aware of it, the Ripple Project is a community organisation and charity that works to improve the quality of life for residents of all ages in Restalrig, Lochend and Craigentinny. Their hub offers all sorts of activities from toddler groups and youth clubs to gentle exercise classes and a knitting network. Find out more on their website.
On a negative note, after an alleged incident at Edinburgh Central Mosque, I attended the Solidarity with Edinburgh Mosque - No to Islamaphobia vigil. There was a strong turnout to demonstrate that hate is not welcome in our city. More positively I was invited to speak at South Edinburgh SNP's Edinburgh in Europe event. It was a great demonstration of support for our EU neighbours with a wide range of speakers, music and stalls suitable for all the family. Congrats to the organisers!
You may already be aware that the UK Government is going to transfer responsibility for a number of social security benefits to the Scottish Government as a result of the Scotland Act 2016.The Scottish Government has made a commitment to bring forward Scotland’s first social security bill before the end of the first year of this current Parliament. This month I held a public consultation meeting at The Thistle Foundation with Jeane Freeman MSP (Minister for Social Security) to gather feedback on the proposals. Thanks to all who came along. If you would like to submit an individual response to the consultation you can still do so here.
A highlight of the month was visiting P7s at the Royal High Primary School who are doing a project called ‘Who Represents Us?’ I was very impressed with how engaged and knowledgeable the kids are. I was asked if I could go in to answer some of their questions and they gave me quite a grilling. The kids are incredibly well informed and questions ranged from ‘What is Mr Speaker like?’, ‘What is your average day like?’, ‘Why did you become a politician?’ all the way through to ‘Can you dab?’ The answer to which is I certainly can!
As I shared last month, TSB have announced plans to close their branch in Craigmillar. This is bad news for a community that is in the process of regeneration and growth. I met with representatives from TSB earlier in the month to express the views of the community and try to find a solution. We’re still collecting signatures on the petition (you can sign in many of the shops in Craigmillar as well as my office hub) and there’ll be a further public meeting in the area later in October.
Going back to Westminster after the summer recess you can almost feel the impending doom in the air. It’s the calm before the storm. Everyone knows something bad is going to happen. Just not what exactly. Like waiting for the ghoul to reveal itself in a horror movie.
And as the dread unfolds the discussion about whether there should be another Brexit referendum will intensify.
We need to talk about democracy. The UK government recently hosted its first ever “National Democracy Week” – with no sense of irony.
We absolutely should be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the equalisation of voting ages for men and women. Nobody would argue with that.