Annabel Goldie MSP

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Annabel Goldie MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

This short but useful debate has highlighted two issues that are in themselves separate but which are from time to time interwoven: first, the creation of a single police force and secondly, the position of the Scottish Government in general and the cabinet secretary in particular.

The creation of a single police force was never going to be without controversy, and anyone who thought otherwise was naive. Some people disagreed with the proposal and found it to be it fundamentally flawed. Others, including my party, accepted the concept, but recognised that substantive measures would be required to allay legitimate worries.

The concentration of so much power, control and authority in one organisation that happened to be the law enforcement body of Scotland was always going to raise significant issues. In the absence of those issues being addressed, my party declined to support the creation of a single force, but it is quite wrong to equate that position with saying that Police Scotland is intrinsically flawed and is not doing a good job.

The difficulty for Police Scotland, the chief constable and his officers is that having a single police force without external accountability to, say, elected commissioners makes it political, as night follows day. If Police Scotland’s accountability is to a quango—the Scottish Police Authority—which is in turn accountable to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, how can Police Scotland be anything other than political?

The public, constituents and community organisations will raise their concerns with MSPs, and the only place to which we can bring those concerns is here to Parliament. We cannot say, “Oh no, we mustn’t do that, because the cabinet secretary and the chief constable won’t like it. That’s making Police Scotland a political football and interfering with police operations.” What complete and utter nonsense. That confrontational stand-off could have been avoided, bypassed and buffered by the introduction of elected commissioners. There is an accountability deficit, and the cabinet secretary has been in denial about it, through obstinately ignoring concerns and arrogantly dismissing critics.

Why does that matter, and what are the concerns? Let us start with stop and search. It has emerged this year that there seems to be an informal target culture in the single police force, which over a one-year period to the end of March conducted nearly 640,700 stop and searches. That figure is three times higher than the number of searches that were carried out by the Metropolitan Police in London, where the population is over 8 million. How can that Scottish response be proportionate? The issue was raised in Parliament, and action was instigated. Moreover, only after it was raised in this Parliament was the routine carrying of sidearms by some officers revoked.

Police Scotland has had many successes. However, the increase of 1,000 additional officers from 2007 levels was not down to the cabinet secretary, who wanted only 500 more. It was down to the Scottish Conservatives. I am in no doubt that the extra officers have played a major role in reducing crime levels.

That success neither eliminates nor mitigates on-going concerns about accountability, which have to be laid at the feet of their genesis: the cabinet secretary. Add to that what I view as the shambolic proposal to abolish corroboration, and regrettably—it is regrettable—I find the cabinet secretary’s stewardship of his portfolio unimpressive. I, too—and again with regret—urge him to consider his position.

16:04  

Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

Given that the main adjustment to the amounts received under Barnett will be consequent upon this Parliament being given increased powers to raise income tax, what will the Scottish Government’s priorities be in relation to income tax? Will its priority be to lower tax rates or to increase them?



Meeting of the Parliament 23 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

As is already clear, all of us will have different recollections of the referendum campaign and different reactions to the result. It is important that in this Parliament of all places we are responsible in what we say and careful in how we say it.

On the campaign itself, it is true that the number of voters registered and the turnout of 85 per cent reflect a degree of electoral engagement that is unprecedented. On an issue of this importance, that was reassuring and welcome.

Of course I accept that on a single issue voters will find it easier to respond. I do hope that that level of interest is reflected in the more complex territory of multiple parties fighting elections on different manifestos.

I will not dwell on the campaign. Like many, I have received numerous anecdotes of conduct that was inappropriate and unimpressive. I heard directly from no voters who were scared to display window posters or wear lapel stickers. If they were justified in that apprehension, that is certainly not the political climate that I want to see in Scotland.

Democracy is underpinned by freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, with respect for those who hold opinions with which we disagree. If we depart from that with self-indulgent displays of venom and contempt, democracy is dis-served and our country diminished. From my perspective, I very much enjoyed the campaign. It was a positive experience, and my front-room windows and stickered car remained intact, but I know at first-hand how the debate divided Scotland. As passions ran high, fissures ran deep in families, communities, the workplace and among friends.

I turn to the result. Voters in Scotland decisively rejected independence and endorsed the partnership of the United Kingdom. That is the clear and democratic outcome of the referendum and the sovereign will of Scottish voters. This is not about triumph and victory posited against dejection and defeat; it is about allowing Scotland to have her say on an issue of unparalleled importance, hearing what she said, accepting that verdict and moving on.

The Edinburgh agreement was framed in the knowledge that one side or the other would be deeply disappointed. That is why, as the First Minister said, the agreement, which was signed by him and the Prime Minister, explicitly confirmed that both Governments would respect the outcome. On both sides, we now have to implement the spirit of that agreement. We need to do that because the democratic will obliges us to do it, because it is the right thing to do and, most important of all, because, for the sake of Scotland, we must move forward into a new era.

I do not want to diminish what I know is a deep sense of disappointment and dismay felt by those in the SNP and all the other parties and people who were involved in the yes campaign. There will be a sense of exhaustion, deflation and dejection. I am not unfamiliar with electoral defeat—I have known the heat and anguish of searing electoral defeat. We are all in politics for positive reasons, not negative ones. In our different parties, we espouse different approaches to the great public services of health, education and justice and different approaches to enterprise, the economy, the environment and climate change.

In a debate of the magnitude of the independence referendum, greater attention has been focused on constitutional issues than on any other issue. That was inevitable, as we can do only so much at any one time. There is now a huge responsibility on the Scottish Government to pick up the devolution baton and start running with it. What is the state of the health service? Why is there such concern about accident and emergency departments? Are we filling GP vacancies in rural areas and, if not, what are we doing about it? With an anticipated £0.5 billion cut to the health budget, what is the priority health plan?

Are the merged colleges producing what local economies and communities need? Are young people and those who want to update skills to return to the workplace being failed by the disappearance of part-time college courses? What is the true state of the stability of the finances of our Scottish universities? How many eligible Scottish students are failing to be placed in a Scottish university?

How do we translate the great legacy of the Commonwealth games into quantifiable progress on addressing obesity and physical inactivity among young people, and how do we measure that?

The range of significant and unanswered questions in devolved Scotland is vast. Those are the questions to which the Scottish Government must now turn and which the Opposition parties must pursue and harry the Government on to get answers. However much we discuss the result of the referendum and ponder the implications of the result, that result did something, which was to make crystal clear the renewed obligation of the Parliament to Scotland. We should discharge that obligation. We should serve our country.

15:44  

Meeting of the Parliament 21 August 2014 : Thursday, August 21, 2014
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con) This is an important day for this Parliament because, whatever the outcome of the referendum, this Parliament will change.

When we meet again in this chamber after 18 September, Scotland will have decided her future. Either she will have rejected the United Kingdom and endorsed separation, or she will have rejected separation and endorsed the United Kingdom. It is right that, in this place of all places, we mark today the magnitude of that decision by holding this debate.

It is important to be clear about what the referendum is not about. It is not about whether Scotland can be independent. It can be. It is not about whether we are doing down independence or talking up the union. It is quite simply about what is the better future for Scotland. It is not about whether one likes or dislikes Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems, however much some of the yes campaign might want to reduce it to that.

The referendum is certainly not about who is the better Scot or the bigger patriot. We all believe in our country, we all love our country and we are all fighting for what we believe is the best future for Scotland. Alex Salmond believes that separation is patriotic. I believe that partnership is patriotic. It is very importantly that the referendum is not a choice between independence and no change. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have all committed to including more powers for the Scottish Parliament in their manifestos, and to delivering on that in Government. The Scottish Parliament will get more powers.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 August 2014 : Thursday, August 21, 2014
Annabel Goldie That will be very much down to the electorate, who will decide which party’s proposals they favour. The common theme from all of those politicians is that there will be more powers for this Parliament.

In the time that is allocated to me, I cannot deliver a forensic and lengthy dissertation on the merits, attributes, strengths, stability and security that are implicit within the partnership that is the United Kingdom, but I do not have to. The case for staying within the United Kingdom is so compelling and so self-evident that brevity is all that I need. It is a partnership of over 60 million friends and customers, working with each other for each other; a partnership with over 30 million people paying taxes and contributing jointly to our common good; and a partnership in which businesses, not least in the financial sector, can invest and operate freely because of a UK-wide system of regulation. It is a partnership that, in a global age, gives us a global reach, in the United Nations, the G7 and G8 groups of major powers and in the EU, which allows us to help those who are less fortunate; a partnership that, in an age of international uncertainty, gives us a strategic defence capability and a global diplomatic presence; and a partnership that has an established, proven and respected currency—the pound. In all of those are strength, stability and security.

Alex Salmond does not want that. He wants separation: an irrevocable and irreversible step. There are two certainties about Alex Salmond, and I am sorry that he is not here to hear this paean of praise. The first is his passion and enthusiasm for what he wants, and the second is his complete and utter inability to tell the rest of us what we will get. What will be our currency? He does not know. Will we have a central bank to support it? He does not know. When will we get into the European Union? He does not know. What conditions will be imposed on Scotland’s EU membership? He does not know. How will we pay the pensions of an increasingly ageing population? He does not know. How many thousands of defence jobs in Scotland will be lost? He does not know. What will be our credit rating? He does not know. What is the effect of our biggest trading partner becoming our biggest commercial competitor? He does not know. How will Scotland deal with a continuing budget deficit? He does not know. Will he cut expenditure or put up taxes or do both? He does not know. And, if it all goes belly-up, what will we do and who will we turn to? He does not know.

I have compared that gamble to being asked to put one’s life savings on a 100 to 1 outsider with a limp at the 3.30 at Ayr. Given the recent telling interventions from Sir Ian Wood and Dr Anna Gregor, the odds have just lengthened. I am not going to take a punt on Scotland’s future. On 18 September, I shall choose partnership and say no to separation. I shall choose mutual support and say no to severance. I shall choose union and say no to isolation. I shall choose certainty and say no to risk. I shall do that because I have the best of both worlds—I know that—and so do hundreds of thousands of voters the length and breadth of Scotland. On 18 September, united and together, we shall reject independence.

16:10

Meeting of the Parliament 21 August 2014 : Thursday, August 21, 2014
Annabel Goldie Will the cabinet secretary give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 21 August 2014 : Thursday, August 21, 2014
Annabel Goldie I thank the cabinet secretary for taking an intervention. I am sure that she did not deliberately intend to misrepresent me. I said that the solution would rest with voters. That is right and proper. Voters will be given proposals and they will decide what they want. That is called democracy.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

1. To ask the Scottish Government when it last met the chief constable, Sir Stephen House, and what issues were discussed. (S4O-03491)



Meeting of the Parliament 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Annabel Goldie I thank the cabinet secretary. The recent armed police controversy has confirmed the lack of any meaningful accountability to the Scottish public by Police Scotland. When will Police Scotland introduce a national crime mapping initiative to increase transparency and start tackling the issue of defective accountability to the general public?



Meeting of the Parliament 19 August 2014 : Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con) I, too, thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of his statement. I also thank him for convening the task force; I was very pleased to attend its meeting yesterday in Greenock. I echo the deep concerns, which are shared by everyone, about the events that have engulfed Ferguson’s and their consequences for the workforce.

I welcome the cabinet secretary’s commitment to shipbuilding continuing on the lower Clyde. In the interests of finding a new purchaser, which I think everyone agrees is the best way forward, has the Scottish Government had any communication with the United Kingdom Government to see whether it can help? Has it had any communication with the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association, simply to ensure that every purchase possibility is being investigated?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
Not VotedCarried

 
Not VotedDefeated

 
NoCarried

 
NoCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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NoCarried

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Annabel Goldie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10422: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10309: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09934: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09844: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09748.2: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09714: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09431: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08887: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08695: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08416: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Annabel Goldie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03528: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03491: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03445: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03371: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03318: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21259: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03180: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03165: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03119: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02871: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/01/2014 Show Full Question >>

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