Graeme Pearson MSP

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Graeme Pearson MSP

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  • Member for: South Scotland
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Graeme is a member of the following Committees:

Graeme is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I am grateful to the cabinet secretary for giving us early sight of her statement. The presentation of the statement indicates that the Government gets it as far as the issue is concerned.

The cabinet secretary should know that survivors fear that the years of delay have enabled the destruction of paperwork and other evidence that might have identified witnesses who might have been of value to a public inquiry. Will she assure survivors that she will take all steps from here on in to ensure that paperwork is protected and that evidence is maintained to await the inquiry’s establishment? Will she ensure that instances of documentation that is missing or has been destroyed will be reported, for the information of the public and in the interests of transparency?



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Graeme Pearson

Mr Swinney will remember that, as far back as 1997, the Scottish National Party manifesto promised the introduction of a local income tax and that, in 2007, its manifesto promised “Scrapping the unfair council tax”. Today, we have had a reply from the minister indicating a timescale.

Does the cabinet secretary appreciate the pressure that local authorities have faced in those 17 years, and will he ensure that the appropriate priority is placed on delivering a working solution within that timescale?



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
14. Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government when the independent commission to examine council tax alternatives will begin its work, and what timetable it will work to. (S4O-03834)



Meeting of the Parliament 09 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Graeme Pearson

As the debate goes on, the nuances in the debate will bring out where our loyalty should lie in regard to the fishing industry, which is the most important part of what we are debating today rather than the language of the various amendments.

The way in which the developing conflict involving the western world and Russia is affecting our fishing industry reflects the importance of our discussions today, and the Commission’s agreement to enable the 25 per cent rollover in allocated catches from 2014-15 will help the Scottish fishing industry to cope with the import embargoes that have been instigated by Mr Putin, which are estimated to be costing the wider food industry up to £89 million in the year.

Fisheries in Scotland operate as a Cinderella industry across most of our communities. We enjoy the products that it produces but seldom consider how they are brought to our table and the pressures that are faced by the people in the industry in providing first-class fish that is fresh and safe for consumption. The policy imperatives for ensuring that the industry’s needs are met are complex but inescapable. We have a growing world population that is now in excess of 9 billion people, all of whom need food. The industry has geared up to supply what is needed with modern boats, modern technologies and professional crews who are able to deliver catches at industrial level. However, there is also pressure to conserve stocks of valuable fish in order to provide food for future generations and to provide for an industry that has a vision of sustainability.

The cabinet secretary must continue his support for the brave crews who go out on the sea on our behalf. The increases in quotas for the end-of-year agreements are optimistic, and one hopes that those agreements will be fulfilled. The cabinet secretary must ensure that the new rules regarding discards are made clear to the industry and the public alike, because discards are ill understood by the general population and seem to have been an area of conflict in previous years.

The cabinet secretary should also contribute to the continued development of new technologies, new net designs and crew education to ensure that mutual understanding is maintained about the competing demands that arise from conservation needs and consumer demands.

He must also ensure that there is no repeat of the black-fish scandal that affected the industry only a few years ago. I hope that he will give us an assurance that he will liaise with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to ensure that the good name of Scottish fishing is maintained in the years ahead.

At the same time, it would do no harm for Mr Lochhead to liaise with his colleague the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in order to ensure that young people across Scotland have a better understanding of the fish that are caught in our seas than I did in my time in education.

The Scottish industry delivers approximately 60 per cent of the total UK catch and about 7.5 per cent of the total volume of fish caught in the EU, according to the European Commission in 2014. The fishing industry is too important an industry for us not to take careful care of the future, and I rely on the cabinet secretary to give us an assurance that he will do so.

16:55  

Meeting of the Parliament 09 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in the debate and for the range of briefings, which I have found very informative, that I received from various organisations before the debate.

Jamie McGrigor acknowledged the pain that has been felt and the sacrifices that have been made over the decades by people in the industry, as revolution has attached to the industry, and they have reorganised to deal with modern demands. Stewart Stevenson indicated the outcomes from those previous works and the way in which the industry is now fit for purpose, in delivering on behalf of the United Kingdom.

Stewart Stevenson also recorded that our cabinet secretary is the longest-serving fisheries minister in Europe. I am unsure whether to congratulate Mr Lochhead on the honour or to commiserate and wonder where he has gone wrong in his endeavours. It is most unfortunate that the UK Tory-Lib Dem coalition decided to allocate responsibility for the negotiations last month in Brussels to Lord de Mauley to represent UK interests, instead of relying on the evident expertise of our cabinet secretary. I hope that Mr Lochhead will reflect on the fact that the frenetic promotion of nationalism over the past few years has perhaps had some influence on such decisions and that his contribution in the post-referendum era will be more welcome at UK level and more constructively received.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Graeme Pearson

Too often, the organisations that deliver services have to spend their time looking at how to get funding instead of delivering services.

The procurator fiscal service that lies behind the court provision that I mentioned is an important element that we need to deliver going forward.

I welcome the consultation on legislation to address domestic abuse and revenge porn and I look forward to contributing to the outcomes that we achieve in relation to that.

I move amendment S4M-11789.1, to insert at end:

“, and encourages the Scottish Government to enhance its efforts to deal head-on with the prevailing culture, exacerbated by some media, music and internet content, which promotes the view of women as sexual objects rather than as human beings who are worthy of the same equal rights and respect as men”.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Graeme Pearson

Mark McDonald beat me by a heartbeat in making that comment, because my next bullet point is about the media’s and the internet’s impact in this context. I have no doubt that the cabinet secretary knows that we need, through the United Kingdom authorities, Europe and the United Nations, to address how we might best turn the corner and ensure that the page 3 culture is not projected as a way of life in Scotland, and that a report that seeks to deliver a strategy for gender equality in order to deal with the issues should be considered by the cabinet secretary, and its findings implemented, where appropriate.

I point out that class has no bearing on who suffers domestic abuse. We need to bear it in mind that people who are more affluent and middle class often protect themselves from the embarrassment that comes with reporting domestic abuse.

The provision of support for victims needs attention. There is no doubt that budgets are stretched, but the cabinet secretary would do well to identify the elements that work effectively and then to deliver them on behalf of victims and their families. He should invest the funds that we do have in what works to ensure its long-term delivery.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I welcome the cabinet secretary to his new duties and indicate support for the Government motion. I seek also to engender support from across the chamber for the amendment in my name.

I acknowledge all that the cabinet secretary said at the end of his speech and reflect the value of those words. I dedicate what I say this afternoon to a woman whom I first met 43 years ago. Unfortunately, I could not help her, and in the week before Christmas, she became my first homicide inquiry. The reason for the violence on that day—the culmination of two years of domestic abuse—was that, in the absence of her partner, who was the father of one of her children, she had had the temerity to purchase some Christmas presents for the children. On his return from the pub, the partner was so enraged by that action that not only did he decide that he was going to beat this woman, but he took his shoes off, put on a pair of boots in order that he could deliver the blows more effectively, and proceeded for the afternoon to kick her, stamp on her, slap her and punch her to death.

The reality of that incident I rehearse today because, in the 43 years since, thousands of women in Scotland have faced the same kind of behaviour and some have died. Behind that are hundreds of thousands of women and girls who suffer psychological abuse and what we would call minor physical abuse, all with a view to demeaning and controlling their futures—unfortunately, primarily by men.

In 2012-13, more than 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded in Scotland. It is a matter of record that women often suffer the abuse more than five times before they make an official report. Once that report is made, the women and the children whom they seek to protect are left in limbo as they try to deal with the consequences of the abuse.

In the past, the authorities have often encouraged those who are being abused to move away and leave the home that they share with their abuser. However, between 2003-04 and 2012-13, the number of incidents in which ex-partners and ex-spouses have abused a victim rose from 32 to 44 per cent, so merely separating women from their abusers in order to try to bring a conclusion to the abuse is limited in its impact. As a result, services need to consider how they can best support women who are abused.

There are matters to be considered by the cabinet secretary in relation to the way in which the justice system responds to reports. Domestic abuse cases that are going through our courts in Glasgow and Edinburgh are suffering delays. A family that has made a complaint about an abuser can ill afford a delay in justice being delivered, so some form of respite must be offered to them. I urge the cabinet secretary to look at the reasons for the delays and to intercede where he can to ensure that delays are kept to an absolute minimum.

We must ensure that the significant funding for dealing with domestic abuse, in particular funding of third sector organisations, is utilised to its best. Victim Support, Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis and many other agencies operate very effectively in the circumstances, but together they can do only so much. My amendment seeks to open minds to considering the further efforts that the Government can and should make in order to change the nature of relationships between men and women in this country. For example, we can create in the education environment a new ethos that seeks to engender respect between boys and girls, and between men and women.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Graeme Pearson

The point that I poorly made was that I would like a state of grace in which human beings, as a matter of nature, acknowledge one another’s human rights, without the need for Governments of any colour to intervene.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I welcome the cabinet secretary to his new duties and responsibilities and look forward to seeing an energetic response to the issues around human rights.

It is often fashionable to record that human rights are one of Scotland’s traditional values—I know that the cabinet secretary said that in good faith. Although at the highest level, we would reflect that in all that we seek to do, in reality we would not need SNAP or committees to oversee these matters if we had reached the level of development of our society such that human rights are taken as a matter of course and are no longer thought about. The fact that so many examples have been given during the debate—in a non-contentious fashion, I hope—indicates that there is much work to be done, and that work needs to be led by the Parliament and the groups involved.

I thank the Justice Committee, the authors of the plan and the 40 organisations involved in developing the plan. The work that they do in our name and on our behalf is absolutely vital if each of us is to be allowed to play our full part in what a modern Scotland is to be in the future.

Human rights are easily identified when each of us considers the rights and entitlements that we see as inalienable for ourselves. The cultural and other challenges come to be faced and are clear when we visualise what limits we would seek to put on other people’s rights—those of the disabled, children, prisoners in our custody, migrants, asylum seekers, victims of crime and people who suffered historical abuse as children and still await a public inquiry. I remind the cabinet secretary—or I tell him this if he is unaware of it—that the former Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning promised a commitment from the Government before the December break on whether there will be an inquiry into those matters. Survivors are waiting for that with bated breath.

For each of those categories, the idea of human rights can cause the hackles to rise in some part of our community. We need to face that challenge and use evidence to ensure that people realise that, in reality, it is poverty and the weaknesses in our approach to gender and ethnic background that play a major role in determining the opportunities that people can access in delivering on their own future.

Mr Neil said that there are gaps to be filled. I encourage him to fill them, and I will give him every support in his efforts to do so. I recommend that he reanalyse our national approach to freedom of information and the granting of information to citizens and those who represent them. Each and every one of us faces difficulties when we make applications for information, and the way in which data protection legislation is administered is felt across the country.

We should seek a response that delivers not on the words of the legislation but on its spirit, with openness to evidence and facts, so that citizens can trust the authorities to make rational decisions on the basis of all the information that is available to them. When we arrive at that state of being, we will know that each and every one of us can access all that Scottish society can bring to us and that we can be a stable and forward-looking society.

We support the motion.

15:16  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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YesDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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NoCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
AbstainDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Graeme Pearson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11789.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11567.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11114: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10377: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10278.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09583: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09557.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09525: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09133: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08172: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Graeme Pearson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23676: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23677: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03834: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02386: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03681: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03662: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22970: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22969: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22968: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02309: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>

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