David Stewart MSP, Labour, who will be retiring this May gave his farewell speech in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 4th of March.
David Stewart has served as a councillor, an MP and an MSP, he became the first Labour MP to represent the previous constituency of Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber in 1997, doubling his majority in 2001 before losing his seat to Lib-Dem Danny Alexander in 2005.
In 2007 he was elected to the Scottish Parliament as an MSP for the Highlands and Islands.
Describing it as ‘the best job in the world’, David Stewart said: “he was proud of the Scottish Parliament and of devolution.”
The MSP has campaigned successfully on road safety issues including the graduated driving licence. He went on to say:
“We all know the rural development challenges in the Highlands and Islands and beyond – distance, remoteness, peripherality, low population density, lack of access to services and low GDP. My great personal concern is the loss of young people from remote and rural areas.
“However, there are great opportunities for renewal and recovery. It is better to light one candle than forever curse the darkness. Let us build on the competitive advantage of the culture and the environment. Yes, the hills and the glens are important, but it is as much about the character of the people.
“Renewal and rural development must have the intelligence and individuality of the people – but we need to develop life sciences, create green jobs in green ports, build clusters of renewables, stimulate research and development in areas like spaceports and link industry with universities such as UHI.”
And he concluded:
“I have a great love of American political and military history – maybe soon I will have time to read all the books gathering dust on my bookshelf at home! I read the other day the valedictory speech of General MacArthur at West Point. He referred to a 1920s American ballad which said, ‘old soldiers never die – they just fade away’.
“In a few short weeks my parliamentary political career will come to an end – the torch passed to a younger generation
“Perhaps veteran politicians never die – they just fade away. A Highlander who loved his job and tried to do his duty.”