Jackson Carlaw MSP

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Jackson Carlaw MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

Today, Holocaust memorial day, 27 January 2015, marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in which one and a quarter million souls from across Europe perished: young and old, male and female, Jew and Gentile, were murdered without compunction by a barbarous Nazi tyranny.

Last Saturday evening, among many commemorative programmes on television and radio was Channel 4’s broadcast of an extraordinary documentary called “Holocaust: Night Will Fall”, which tells the story of the film makers who filmed, in the immediate aftermath of the war, the liberation of the various death camps. It is a film that had been suppressed until now, because geopolitical tides shifted after the war and it was felt at the time that it would be inappropriate and inconvenient for the film to be seen.

I learned fresh information from the film—for example, I did not know that much of the footage that we now see of Auschwitz was filmed some time after its liberation. However, that is not the case for the film of the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Despite everything that I have seen over the years, I was stupefied all over again by seeing stuff that I had never thought possible and that had never previously been screened. That film is going to be released later this year in cinemas and on DVD. To touch on something that Stewart Maxwell said, because the denial business was already well established at the end of the war, the British contingent insisted that local people were filmed witnessing the events so that they could not subsequently deny what had been seen.

The Jewish community in East Renfrewshire, where I live and grew up, is of long standing. In his magnificent biographical trilogy, which commenced in 1986 with the publication of “Growing Up in the Gorbals”, Ralph Glasser memorably traced the arrival and integration of Scotland’s Jewish community in and around Glasgow over a century ago. As the community migrated south to Newton Mearns in the post-war years, members of it became my neighbours and friends. I learned very little from them about the horrors that had been endured, although many of them had survived or had lost family as the European genocide unfolded. What I did not know was that they kept silent about that not just with neighbours and friends but within their own families. They did so in many cases because the horror of what they had ensured had been so great but—horribly—they also did so out of shame that they had survived, and because they were unable to come to terms with that fact or discuss it.

Unfortunately, it is also true that in the post-war years in Britain anti-Semitism persisted in ignorance. Two landmark television programmes in 1973 together transformed public understanding—certainly my understanding—of the issue. They were Jeremy Isaacs’s 26-part “The World at War”; and the outstanding “The Ascent of Man”, which was presented by Dr Jacob Bronowski. I can vividly remember Dr Bronowski’s testimony as he stood ankle deep in water—in his mind, it was water that was mingled with the ashes of his people—in the ruins of Auschwitz-Birkenau, intensely moved and speaking directly to the camera. That footage is readily available on YouTube. I watched it again recently, and it is as powerful now as it was over 40 years ago. If members have not seen it, please look at it and perhaps also at the remarkable interview that Dr Bronowski gave, just before he died, to Michael Parkinson.

Like others, I have visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. I did so privately a few years ago. It is a desolate place, and I visited it at the bleakest time of the year. My guide was the grandson of a local Oswiecim family. He was full of compassion—to be a guide on that site he had to be. As a father, I looked at the photographs of small children skipping with joy and relief after leaving the confines a long train journey. What father has not been in that position with his children?. But to know that they were skipping, holding hands and smiling, along a short path to their execution made that as chilling and moving an image as any.

It is an uncomfortable truth that is simply not admitted enough that much of occupied Europe was complicit in sending the Jews to their deaths. Any cursory study demonstrates that the defence of ignorance is shallow, but it suits precious sensibilities that that fiction be maintained. Far too many people in occupied or Axis Europe knew exactly what was going on and far too few raised a hand to stop it.

In this country, we were never called upon by an invading Nazi machine to be complicit; we resisted invasion and helped to win the war. However, I believe that all our island character and history would have seen individuals and communities stand and resist. In the event, only two Britons, from the occupied Channel Islands, were shipped under cover of darkness and transported by sea and train across a continent to Auschwitz, to be murdered at their journey’s end. What madness was that? Yet 70 years later, as was evidenced horribly in Paris a fortnight ago, anti-Semitism is finding a voice again. It must be confronted, challenged and defeated.

Auschwitz was liberated 70 years ago, and 50 years ago Churchill died. I will end with a quotation from him:

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never—in nothing great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Britain did not yield 70 years ago, and 70 years on Scotland will not.


Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

My question underpins all of that. Does the First Minister agree that, whatever disagreements individuals may have with the day-to-day policy of the state of Israel, that should not be conflated with the Jewish community here in Scotland, and that such disagreements must never be allowed to justify the abuse or intolerance that, unfortunately, they are sometimes used to justify.

Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

I begin by acknowledging the comments that others have made. It is now accepted that all parties in this Parliament are committed to an NHS in Scotland that is in public hands and free at the point of need. Although the Government’s motion is not worded exactly as I might have chosen, we will be supporting it tonight.

Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Jackson Carlaw

Of course I will not. I obviously cannot respond to every barking mad tendency in the United Kingdom, but I can confirm and underwrite the commitment that the Conservatives have given.

The less said about the Labour amendment the better. Quite why Jenny Marra should put to the sword again a proposal underwritten by funding mechanisms so discredited here only a week ago and so widely ridiculed elsewhere, not least by significant and senior figures in her own party, is a mystery.

Most recently, Lord Mandelson, the architect of Labour’s only UK election victories in the past 40 years, dismissed it out of hand. It is extraordinary and telling that Ed Miliband’s contribution to our debate is that London should step in. He is talking about the same London party that the Scottish Parliament, through its votes and approach, has deemed, over 13 years under Mr Blair and Mr Brown, to have embarked on health reforms that have so damaged the NHS in England. Labour’s solution is for Ed Miliband to act in some colonial potentate capacity, imposing reparations on the people of London to fund nurses in Scotland. After 16 years of devolved responsibility for health, no one other than Scottish Labour believes that responsibility for nursing in Scotland remains with the people of London.

At best, having correctly, if belatedly, identified the urgent need for 1,000 additional nurses in Scotland, Scottish Labour makes it conditional, not on the election of a Labour Administration in Scotland, to where the responsibility is devolved, but on the election of a Labour Government at Westminster, the prospect of which—I will be generous here—is, at least, doubtful. Let us be done with Mr Miliband’s nonsense, just as Britain will be done with him on 7 May.

Before the exigencies of the referendum campaign, the cabinet secretary’s predecessor embarked, albeit tentatively, on a collaborative journey with the other parties to seek understanding and agreement on the future for Scotland’s NHS that takes in its stride the 2020 vision and looks beyond. Scottish Conservatives have made it clear that we will support a courageous vision, with all the difficulties that that might entail, if the Government is prepared to be bold and direct in its purpose. The cabinet secretary has convened a meeting with health spokesmen next week, and I hope that she will demonstrate the same resolve and purpose. Whatever the merits of the 2020 vision—that is the thrust of the cabinet secretary’s speech today—it is clear from the testimony of so many that, although it is underpinned by general agreement, it is nonetheless being hampered by an NHS that is, for want of a better description, bursting at the seams. I do not mean that as a criticism, but the capacity issues are huge.

We, like Labour, accept the need for additional nurses, but I repeat that our preferred and deliverable funding method in Scotland is the reintroduction of prescription charges on an agreed model so that those who can afford to pay do pay. In so doing, they pay not just for their prescriptions but for the NHS to have 1,000 additional nurses. That is not conditional on anything other than the will of the Scottish Parliament.

Although we accept the thrust of the Government’s motion and the various achievements it identifies, I make the point that agreement between us on a publicly funded NHS that is free at the point of need is not a destination; it is a starting point. There is an urgent need for creative discussion, some of which might be uncomfortable but is no less urgent for that, on where Scotland’s NHS must head and how the more distant vision is achieved and made sustainable.

I will not rehearse the challenges again today, but it is surely time for us to speak of ideas. Scottish Conservatives will not shy away from contributing to the debate. We may not have settled on our views and we genuinely wish to work with others to achieve a plan that we can all support. However, strands of thinking are now emerging.

We cannot sustain the current NHS board structure. The new Southern General hospital is the model for the future but it suggests a structure that has, perhaps, four health boards. Such centres of health will still need a significant hospital structure and support, particularly given Scotland’s diverse landscape and all the challenges, such as that posed by dementia, that follow. That would in turn lead to a leaner pharmaceutical prescribing structure across Scotland, with more universal access to drugs for all Scots.

Scottish Conservatives have talked about the responsibility of Scots to an NHS that is guaranteed by health insurance. The conundrum remains that there is ultimately no appetite to deny those who are reckless with their own health access to health care. So what can we do to enhance individual responsibility? Perhaps when individuals reach their majority, a more deliberate insurance contract should be entered into. Perhaps just as households receive an annual council tax statement, they should receive an annual and personalised NHS statement that details their use of services, current key healthcare information and health statistics and advice, making it clear how they access the NHS and what they must consider as part of a responsible approach to their own healthcare.

At the heart of a sustainable future must be a rethink of primary care. It cannot be allowed to become marginalised, with the public routinely seeking out accident and emergency care ahead of their GP. It needs investment. Perhaps urban should follow rural and accept that small, underresourced GP practices will fall away and be replaced with larger practices that are capable of sustaining a 24-hour model locally, as the cabinet secretary suggested moments ago. We need to make general practice attractive to a new generation—and soon, as the ageing demographic of our current cohort of GPs is deeply worrying.

A model that is based on larger, well-resourced practices should be supported by an attached national and universal health visiting service. I welcome the announcement last year on more health visitor funding, but if our preventative agenda is to succeed, we need that universal service to reach beyond the earliest years and perhaps to offer support up to the age of seven to ensure that the changes that we all want are entrenched in individuals’ spirit as they become self-aware. We believe that such an approach will help to tackle persistent health inequalities at source.

Primary care offers the majority of healthcare but does not receive anything like the resource that that suggests, and some argue that it is commanding an ever-reducing share of the healthcare resource.

We have been too quiet in our deliberations on addictions, particularly to alcohol, since we passed minimum unit pricing nearly two years ago. That has yet to be implemented. However, the consequences of alcohol abuse remain a central and morale-sapping demand on accident and emergency services. Again, there is reluctance to introduce a system of fines for repeated alcohol admissions, but no alternative strategy has emerged. The Scottish Conservatives believe that an alternative approach is required—not an approach that is based on fines, but certainly one that seeks to reduce the reliance on A and E services and offers a more direct rehabilitation and recovery strategy.

The cabinet secretary has made quite a bit of the fact that Scotland’s healthcare budget is now some £12 billion. That is a staggering sum that is beyond the physical comprehension of many. That is why some find it all too easy to say that the solution is more money still. When we appreciate just how much of what the Government spends goes towards healthcare, it may seem hard but it is surely an inevitable conclusion that calls just for ever more spending are a fool’s gold healthcare strategy.

The challenges are understood. We may get lucky: breakthroughs in science and technology may come to our rescue. Think what a fundamental breakthrough in the treatment of dementia or type 2 diabetes would represent for all our fears, plans and calculations. In truth, such breakthroughs may yet be our best hope. However, we can hope for the best but we must plan otherwise, as they say.

We need to evolve a new platform for the structure and delivery of both primary and secondary care. Our preventative agenda must be dynamic, universal and sustained, and our approach to addictions has to become specialised and must not overwhelm the other mainstream services.

We support the motion—that is the easy, consensual bit. Last week, I urged the cabinet secretary to initiate the very discussion that she has announced this afternoon and to shape a plan that can achieve what we want. It is over to the cabinet secretary. We will work with her as she does that.

Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : Thursday, January 15, 2015
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

I endorse everything that the cabinet secretary—and Mr Henry—said on the scope, scale and range of services in which we have such confidence and pride. The extraordinary efforts of so many throughout Scotland are always made without fuss or celebrity; the hallmark is the professional, exemplary and compassionate way in which those involved go about their jobs.

I lodged the small but slightly significant amendment that is in my name for one reason only. I was shocked by the events last week in Paris, as we all were, and I reflected that our history is peppered with such incidents. They are always very much of the moment, but we can go back 100 years and find similar examples of incidents in which services were brought to bear on behalf of the public.

We depend in large part on an anonymous body of people: those who provide the intelligence that can potentially prevent such atrocities from happening in the first place. We have at GCHQ in Cheltenham a world-leading intelligence-gathering operation in which many Scots have assisted in providing services that are vital to the protection of the public beyond Scotland’s boundaries. That work is not just keeping us safe in Scotland; it is recognised as contributing to keeping others safe way beyond our country. We will probably never know who those people are, and we can really thank them only in absentia.

Our tradition of intelligence began at Bletchley Park. By coincidence, I noticed that a book on Bletchley Park was published just this week: “The Bletchley Girls: War, Secrecy, Love and Loss—The Women of Bletchley Park Tell Their Story”. I was impressed to find that there are quite a few Scots still living who were among those responsible for providing that intelligence and security. They include a constituent of mine, Lady Jean Fforde, who lives on the Isle of Arran. She was in hut 8 with Alan Turing—of whom she speaks fondly—working on providing the vital intelligence that saved lives throughout the whole United Kingdom.

Lady Jean Fforde amusingly relates that such work is incredibly dull, repetitive and unrewarding for those at the coalface, because they often do not know what they have discovered for others to interpret. I was amused by one incident that she related, which involved a German who was coding messages and who was so uber loyal that, unfortunately, he signed off every communication with “Heil Hitler”, which of course gave a magnificent way of decrypting everything that he said. I am sure that that was not his intention.

I thank Lady Jean Fforde. When I met her, I had no idea what she had done, because the hallmark of many people who have been employed in capacities of which the public are less aware is that they are so unassuming about the contribution that they have made that they do not mention it or make a fuss about it. It is probably only through thanking them in absentia that we can do justice to all that they do.

We could talk about a long list of people in this regard. There are the armed forces, of course, which assist in many ways—whether it be through adding to the complement of those who kept people visiting this country safe during the Commonwealth games or responding to the call when a bomb or suspected explosive device is discovered. There are also animal health people, who suddenly come to the fore when there is a crisis in that field.

Hugh Henry touched on those who are not in the emergency services but on whom the public depend—those in the public utilities, telecommunications and transport who step in with the same hallmark of professionalism, often at great inconvenience to themselves, to do something that is way beyond anything that they would naturally have to do. We have only to think about the isle of Arran two or three winters ago to remember how paralysed that community was by the weather that came and the extent to which the community totally depended on the efforts of the people who stepped forward to restore services, which thereafter kept people safe on that island.

More recently, when the First Minister had to take hold of the Ebola incident, we depended on the Royal Free hospital in London to step in, because it is the United Kingdom resource centre for providing the services that are necessary for Ebola cases. As we know, that situation is on-going.

Despite all that work, as I pointed out in the recent recess, there is an underbelly that is not quite so attractive. Six times a day, somebody in Scotland thinks it worth their while to make a hoax call to call out an ambulance crew. Six times a day, somewhere in Scotland, somebody thinks that that is a worthwhile pastime. Any of us who have made a 999 call know that the process is quite sophisticated. There are qualifying questions, so people who make hoax calls go to elaborate lengths to maintain the fiction that wastes the time of those who are called out. A hoax is often apparent only when the services present themselves at the location of the alleged incident.

We must be prepared to be much more robust about such hoaxes, because they are a completely unacceptable waste of public resource. We have seen at George Square and other incidents that have been referred to how much we depend on the dedication and commitment of particular individuals when a genuine emergency is occurring. It is totally unacceptable that they should, because of a hoax, be called out, have their time wasted and, frankly, be abused in that way by people in our society. I know that we all share that view, but it is sometimes harder to know how to deal with hoaxes. However, we should be prepared to do that.

Another point that I made in the aftermath of the Ebola incident is that there must be a responsible use of social media in keeping Scotland safe. Social media can be a terrific tool for ensuring that people know what they need to know, but it must be used responsibly. If people know nothing about an incident, they should keep quiet and realise that an incident is not entertainment but something distinct. That is important, because social media will be able to play an increasing role in keeping Scotland safe, if it is used responsibly.

I say on behalf of Scottish Conservatives that we are happy to support the motion. It is a worthwhile motion to put before Parliament and I know that Parliament will be united in making it clear to all those in the emergency services—although I do not know that bringing them here to watch our debate would be the inspiring vote of thanks that they would be looking for—that we support them. As Hugh Henry said, we should also ensure that they receive the resources that are necessary for them to undertake their functions.

I move amendment S4M-12060.1, to leave out first “services” and insert:

“and other services, together with those elsewhere in the UK,”.


Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

Owing to a family situation, this is the first occasion in a short while on which I have been able to participate in a health debate in the chamber. Although I have welcomed in my own way at the appropriate time the ministers individually to their portfolios, it is a pleasure to participate in a debate with them together as a team. I look forward to challenging them and, I hope, to working with them in the period ahead.

Tone is very important this afternoon. This is the first major health debate of 2015, and the issue is important to the public like no other is, of course.

Our amendment in a way reflects the point that the cabinet secretary made. With the Labour Party in charge of health in Wales, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in charge of health in England and the SNP in charge of health in Scotland, there is no part of these isles that has not found its NHS not only under enormous seasonal pressure, but under pressure way beyond that, for which it has to find a solution.

In many respects, comparisons of the health service in Scotland with that in England are invidious. Because of the Blair reforms and the subsequent coalition reforms, the divergence of our health services south of the border and in Scotland since devolution is such that we really have to examine our own path and strategy, and judge what the success of that strategy has been and how it has to be altered in order that we make progress.

That is really why, as Dr Simpson was kind enough to acknowledge, the Scottish Conservatives accepted some 18 months ago a collective approach that is based on the principle of a health service that is free at the point of need, and of delivery within the public service in Scotland. I remember that there was almost an intake of breath at my use of the word “collective”, as if I had ushered language that would not be known to a Conservative.

All the political parties’ acceptance of that principle was fundamental if we were going to work together to move forward. I said when I made that commitment that it also means that it would not materially add to the debate or the agenda if, in the face of adversity or a deteriorating or crisis position, at the first opportunity Opposition spokesmen were simply to stand in the chamber and shout at the Government that it is all its fault and responsibility, and that if we were in charge all would be different.

I could say, after 16 years of having nothing to do with management of the health service in Scotland—some people in Scotland might say “Rejoice! Rejoice!” at that news—that Scottish Conservatives could quite happily stand back and say that responsibility lies elsewhere. However, Scotland’s health service is the responsibility not just of the Scottish Government but of the Parliament, and its destiny is ours. It is therefore important that we work together to achieve an objective and strategy that will be successful.

I have concerns about the Labour motion, although I thought that in many respects Dr Simpson made some telling points in his speech. It would be unfair not to acknowledge that some of his barbs struck home, so I do not think that we can simply dismiss all his points as being nothing more than Labour rhetoric. However, partly because of the tone of the Labour motion, if not the way in which it was introduced, I am concerned that with the new Labour leadership in Scotland there is something of a Westminsterisation of our agenda. Whereas Mr Murphy’s ultimate boss wishes to “weaponise” the NHS in England as an electoral tool, I very much hope that that does not happen here. However, I suspect that there will be an unavoidable temptation, if not an appetite, to allow the next few months to be dominated by the weaponisation of the Scottish NHS purely for electoral purposes.

I have to say that that will come on the back of a lot of agreement about how we might move forward being slightly undermined by the previous health secretary, who a month before the referendum sought to politicise the health service in a way that we had not previously seen. I am afraid that we are now in an environment where that tactic has become pre-eminent. I very much regret it and hope that we can row back from it, because people including Malcolm Chisholm, Hugh Henry and Duncan McNeil recognise the way in which we must move forward if we are going to be successful.

Our motion mentions the money, and the cabinet secretary has referred to the full passing on of the consequentials. I refer back to the answer that Alex Neil gave a year ago, almost to the day, in which he set that out. However, what has also been revealed is that it is the consequentials that are being passed on that have been the moneys on which the health service in Scotland has had to rely. Without those additional consequentials, the actual core budget for health in Scotland would have been frozen, whereas in England, as well as the consequential spending, the budget has increased. One could argue that, in net terms, there has been greater health funding elsewhere in the United Kingdom than here in Scotland. That is a concern, but in itself it really is not a response to the measure of the situation.

I will be summing up later, when I will want to come back to points that were made by the RCN last week, which I think the cabinet secretary touched on. However, I say to the cabinet secretary that she is the third cabinet secretary in this session of Parliament with responsibilities for health. The first, who is now the First Minister, was a very effective crisis manager, but I found her to be slightly Stalinist in her approach. I would characterise it by saying, to be frank, that she lacked a certain amount of imagination in terms of responding to the wider dynamic that we have to face over the next 20 years in order to get healthcare right.

I found Alex Neil to be a bit more of an LBJ, if I can characterise him in that way. I think that he is a bit of a fixer and a man who likes to find accommodations and solutions to problems. He is certainly still centre-left in his dynamic, but before we had the introduction of the referendum and the rhetoric that spurted forth at that point, I think that he was working with other parties to seek a collective strategy that we could all support.

The question now is where the cabinet secretary sees herself in the equation. She is one half of the imperial second family of the SNP that is now responsible and she has to define where she will go. Our motion calls for an early debate on that, and I am delighted to see that we will, in fact, have it next week and that she wishes to pursue the cross-party meetings that we saw being embarked on.

Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Jackson Carlaw

I hope that in her summing up the cabinet secretary will define very carefully how she hopes to work and I wonder whether she believes that she has the breadth of vision and imagination to arrive at a consensus around which the whole Parliament can unite. Only if it can—I fear—will we respond successfully to the many well-documented challenges that we have detailed in recent months.

I move amendment S4M-12045, to leave out from first “is” to end and insert:

“, as elsewhere and throughout the UK, is under considerable seasonal pressure, particularly at A&E departments, and acknowledges the resulting and unacceptable inconvenience to thousands of patients; notes the additional funding resource being committed to the NHS in England, which has resulted in consequential funding for the NHS in Scotland in excess of £1.4 billion between 2010 and 2016; notes that the total health budget for England has been protected in real terms while similar protections have not been put in place by the Scottish Government; acknowledges that, for the NHS in Scotland to achieve a sustainable future in the face of the many well documented challenges with which it is now confronted, it requires all political parties to agree and unite in support of a long-term strategic plan, and calls on the Scottish Government, without further delay, to lead the development and implementation of such a plan within the current parliamentary session.

Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Jackson Carlaw

I begin by thanking Jim Hume, who observed that the baby boomers have now got old. I hope that I do not feel as old as Mr Hume looks, if I can put it in that way. I thank him for his observation and will move smartly on, as one of those baby boomers.

As the debate wore on, there were a lot of speeches to which I warmed, but I will concentrate on just a couple. I want to pick up on something that Christian Allard followed up on, which was my concern about the potential for the health service to be weaponised, in the language of Mr Murphy’s leader at Westminster. Mr Allard said that it will not work. The problem is that it does. It was the most effective yes campaign tool in the referendum.

When the yes campaign weaponised the NHS with the outright bilge that it would be privatised on 19 September if we did not vote yes, hundreds of thousands of Scots were motivated to vote in the referendum on that basis. I am afraid that the truth is that weaponising the health service—to use the new language that we have suddenly evolved—works. Parliament and the political parties have to be prepared to rise above that, although I am concerned, and I say this not because of Dr Simpson’s conduct when he moved the motion but because of its tone, that there is a temptation to do exactly that.

That brings me to my taxi driver this morning. He is a former shop steward and lifelong Labour voter. He said to me that he was absolutely dismayed by the mansion tax and that it reminded him of the rabbit-out-of-the-hat spin politics of the Blair and Brown era. This is a man who lives in East Renfrewshire and has voted for Mr Murphy. He was concerned that Mr Murphy has gone from being the quiet, deliberate man to being the angry man who is now going to demonstrate his credentials by standing up for Scotland, which has to be through the most flaccid, flashy, flim-flam mansion tax—a preposterous confection of a policy, which Sandra White, Mark McDonald and other members illustrated as completely ridiculous.

Rhoda Grant asked whether we do not want these 1,000 extra nurses, as if they are standing ready and waiting to cross over the border if only the SNP will embrace them. It is an ephemeral nonsense.

Scottish Conservatives have argued for 1,000 extra nurses on the basis of a tough decision that other parties do not agree with: the reintroduction of the prescription charge at the level at which it was when it was abolished. That would be a properly costed way to underwrite the policy. However, other parties do not agree and I accept that.

It is also true that other health services within the United Kingdom also need additional nurses. The right way to proceed is to increase health spending when possible and for the consequential that would arise from that to come to Scotland, or for the Scottish budget to be directed in that way. To simply talk about a mansion tax is to insult voters’ intelligence. If that is weaponising the health service, I hope that it does not work during the election campaign that we are about to enter.

Richard Simpson made some telling points in his speech and the Government would do well to take note of them. As he said, the motion is a change from the kind of motions that we have seen recently from Labour. That is true. Dear old Neil Findlay was forever asking us to look to Cuba and Venezuela for our health service policy, so it was interesting and refreshing to hear Dr Simpson concentrating on the actual dynamic with which we are confronted.

Across Scotland, as we speak, the pressure that we have talked about is not illusory. It is not some fanciful debating point for the chamber, and it is not past and over. Doctors and nurses are rushing around packed wards, many of which have been closed because of norovirus and are under pressure from bed-blocking because patients cannot be moved to other parts of the hospital to be treated. They are managing as best they can. Their legs are as exhausted as their spirit, and a debate in here that is based on nothing more than recrimination can do nothing for their morale or expectations.

We all know the measure of the task, although I say to Mr McMillan that it might be a bit late in the day to say that we have just discovered that we have an ageing population. We understand the consequences of that for mental health, primary care, avoidable conditions, dementia and the contract that we need the public to have with the NHS. The reward for staff is not just financial; it is about the atmosphere and their job satisfaction, and far too many of those whom we train are seeking employment in health services elsewhere.

Those are the challenges that we have to face, and I look to the concluding spokesmen for the Government and the Labour Party to inspire the public and the staff in the NHS with hope that this will not be a political tribal fight but a genuine effort to find a strategic way forward for the health service in Scotland around which we can all unite and deliver.


Meeting of the Parliament 06 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

I thank the First Minister, her ministerial colleagues, officials and all those in the emergency services who went about their roles with quiet dignity when they were faced with the various traumas that we are discussing this afternoon. The way that they faced those matters creates a great sense of quiet pride in Scotland in the face of enormous tragedy.

I wonder whether the First Minister agrees with me that, in this social media age, although social media can be a useful information tool, it would be better if those who know nothing said nothing and if those who have no need to be in the vicinity stay away. I think that that would be a useful lesson for the wider public to learn for the future.

Our thoughts are with Pauline Cafferkey. I know that that can trip off the tongue glibly, but it should not. She is deserving of nothing less than the support, love and affection of everyone in the chamber, in Scotland and in the wider United Kingdom. She and all those like her who selflessly put themselves in the way of great hazards in the service of others deserve our total support, and we all wish her well in the fight that she now faces to get back to greater health.

My only further question is in respect of something that the First Minister touched on. Given Pauline Cafferkey’s experience as a healthcare worker, should not the concerns that she expressed on arriving in the UK—not just about other passengers on the flight but about herself—have been taken more seriously? Might she not have been saved the trauma and somewhat sensationalist coverage of her return to the Royal Free hospital in London if a more precautionary approach had been taken, given her experience, and she had had the opportunity to stay in London and be properly assessed at that point?

Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Jackson Carlaw (West Scotland) (Con)

I have to say with all candour that I thought that we had approved this appointment when we dealt with the previous series of ministerial appointments. I can understand that there may have been an oversight on the part of the First Minister. She might have been slightly distracted. After all, at the time she was in the midst of her rock-Scot-nat-chick stadia tour, campaigning to become a cult. I watched the tour with interest, because one of her MSP colleagues tweeted pictures of himself high up in the gallery at the Hydro in Glasgow. I say to the First Minister that I thought that that was so cruel. How could Elvis be in the building but not be allowed to sing? It is tough, Chic—it is tough.

Of course we wish Aileen Campbell every happiness and a very successful addition to the family in due course.

One of the questions that arises from Fiona McLeod’s appointment is, “Who is going to be the official water bearer for the Government front bench?” I hope that some gender balance is to be brought to that responsibility. Joe FitzPatrick looks to me like a champion water bearer, and I think that the responsibility should be formally allocated to him. I hope that we do not have to have an appointments session here in the Parliament to confirm it, but that would be nice.

I wish Fiona McLeod every success for the time that she is in office. She has been appointed as a temporary acting minister. Not necessarily—shine, Fiona, shine! If she does, I pledge this: the Scottish Conservatives will lodge a motion for debate with an “X Factor”-style vote on who gets to stay. I know that the Presiding Officer is looking for new procedures in the Parliament, and here is an opportunity to give Parliament that democratic extension of voice and the opportunity to say who should stay and who should go. I hope that we are able to embrace such a proposal.

I wish Aileen Campbell and Fiona McLeod every success, and the Government, colleagues and friends in Parliament a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
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S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
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S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
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S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
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S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
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S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
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S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
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S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
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S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
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S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
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Search for other Motions lodged by Jackson Carlaw
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12193: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12133: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12060.1: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12045.2: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 13/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11917: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11837: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11601: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11484.1: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11451: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11358: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Jackson Carlaw
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03993: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24026: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24027: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23589: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23588: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03656: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22764: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22765: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22766: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22767: Jackson Carlaw, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>