So summer has come and gone, and we're all trying to figure out how on earth it can possible be October already?! As parliament returns to full duties, I thought some people might like to hear what life is like in a parliamentary office during recess.
Ah recess, it sounds so peaceful and relaxing. like one long primary school playtime. A time for holidays and eating ice-cream in the sun. Or not. In fact, definitely not. Especially when you are a new MP and want to get to know everyone and everything in your constituency. Of course that isn't practical in six weeks, but Tommy did have a good go.
He embarked on a 60 visits in 20 days tour at the start of August which turned into more than 60 visits over a lot more than 20 days when weekends were added in. You can read in other blogs about the places Tommy visited - here I wanted to give you an insight into the office at such a time.
Firstly, there are the logistics. Edinburgh East is not a small constituency. Now I'm the first to admit that the travel times have nothing on people like Brendan O'Hara in Argyle and Bute but still, we needed to be realistic about being in different parts of the constituency in quick succession, in Edinburgh Festival Traffic. There did need to be a few last minute re-jigs and we have become used to making phone calls to apologise that Tommy is running late! Thankfully all the people Tommy has met with have been incredibly patient about this.
And the people have been the best bit of the tour for me. Meeting the residents and those who work and volunteer in Edinburgh East is always a pleasure. When parliament sits, more staff time is spent behind computer screens so it was great to get out and about with Tommy seeing what is actually going on. The communities of Edinburgh East are well served by the schools, health centres, charities, businesses and other organisations Tommy has met with, and we know there are many more yet to meet.
It's also been amusing watching Tommy being recognised at various times. Politics certainly has changed when the local MP can be stopped in the street by someone wanting to shake their hand and congratulate them on their maiden speech. The change is welcomed - Tommy represents the people and communities in Edinburgh East and we all want to do them proud. Don't worry though, our job in the staff team is to keep his feet firmly on the ground. I'm sure Tommy would agree that we do this with great skill (and sometimes not much tact).
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.