Emma Roddick MSP Focus Remains Our Constituents

While the leadership campaign continues – and it was good to see Orkney SNP members at the Inverness hustings on Saturday – the focus of SNP MSPs remains our constituents and work at Holyrood.

February was LGBT+ History Month, and I was pleased last week to be able to speak in a debate secured by my colleague Joe FitzPatrick which focused on this year’s theme, celebrating LGBT+ people’s hard work and contributions made to the production of film and cinema from “behind the lens”.

It is a theme that fascinated me because art and culture can have a cut-through that is hard to replicate. I know now that, growing up, my love of science fiction and fantasy—particularly anything with strong queer female characters—taught me a lot more about morality, ethics, and myself than I appreciated at the time. Enjoying art created by LGBTQ folk is a fantastic way to understand more about our experiences.

I spoke of a sapphic poem which had struck me recently; it was written more than 400 years ago by Marie Maitland and some of it is still on display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. There is a blog written by Ashley Douglas on the National Galleries website and I would encourage everyone to read it.

But there is still much work to do, and – too often – we hear not about queer folk who have been creating through the centuries, but about those who feel the need to hide away through fear. We need to get over that. It is 2023, and too many folk are still feeling they need to hide who they are.

We all have a responsibility to change that, and it starts with listening to queer people and learning from history, not repeating it.

Elsewhere, I was delighted to learn that 250,560 baby boxes have now been distributed across Scotland since distribution began in August 2017.

Of course, the baby box holds a special place in the hearts of many Orkney families, who were among the first in the country to receive the original ones during a three-month pilot between January and March 2017, when 49 boxes went to new-born Orkney babies.

As well as practical support and items that are designed to have a positive impact on parent and child interaction, Scotland’s baby box provides a financial saving of over £400 per family through the items provided. In the current cost of living crisis, that is making a huge difference to Orkney families.

And on that subject, news of further energy price rises on the horizon will be a huge worry to Orkney households, where I know from constituents that the cost of heating this winter has been unsustainable for many.

With energy companies making record profits, and the wholesale price of gas falling, there is no excuse for Tory inaction to bring costs down.

Scotland is an energy-rich country. With the full powers of independence, we could escape Westminster control, deliver energy security, and bring household bills down permanently.

This is a regular column by SNP MSP Emma Roddick. All Highlands and Islands MSPs have been offered the same space in The Orkney News to share their views.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply