Jamie McGrigor MSP

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Jamie McGrigor MSP

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  • Member for: Highlands and Islands
  • Party: Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Jamie is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Jamie McGrigor

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Jamie McGrigor

That is a good point well made.

I agree with the motion that St Andrew’s day is a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our cultures and faiths. We also recognise that tourism businesses can need extra promotion during the winter months, which we have talked about. We want to see a continued focus to boost winter tourism in Scotland.

I am pleased that Historic Scotland offered free tickets to many of its properties on St Andrew’s day. I pay tribute to all those enterprising businesses, shops and tourism enterprises in my region of the Highlands and Islands that seek to use St Andrew’s day to boost trade.

As a keen angler, I have always thought it very appropriate that our Scottish patron St Andrew was a fisherman from Galilee. I wish all those who have Friday off for St Andrew’s day an enjoyable day. I hope that some of them will do a spot of fishing or even enjoy some of our first-class shellfish.

14:18  

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Jamie McGrigor

In a moment.

The Confederation of British Industry Scotland has stated in the past that more and more firms are moving away from closing on specified days to a system in which employees have an annual leave entitlement and decide for themselves, in agreement with their employer, when to take a holiday. We would be happy for employees to engage with their employers to discuss taking St Andrew’s day off instead of another holiday if that was appropriate, which might be the case if the employee’s spouse, partner or children have St Andrew’s day off.

I will take the intervention now.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Jamie McGrigor

I was very glad to learn that it was a dream of St Andrew that inspired the saltire. It is a beautiful flag and it is owned by all the Scottish people—and of course it is part of the union jack.

Quite why St Andrews was considered to be the end of the earth, where St Rule was instructed to take St Andrew’s remains, is a mystery to me, as I have always considered it a very fine town, with a great university and a marvellous golf course. Perhaps St Rule arrived on a bad day, which was made worse by a haar or something like that. He was, however, lucky to get away with his life, unlike the Hussites who arrived in St Andrews from Czechoslovakia and were burnt at the stake.

What celebrations St Andrew has inspired worldwide, particularly in Australia and Canada. In China, the Caledonian Society of Beijing, of which my brother was a previous chairman, holds a St Andrew’s ball, where an enormous amount of Scotch whisky is consumed. Amazingly, in the Czech Republic, where the Hussites I spoke of came from, they hold a St Andrew’s night as well, which is very forgiving of them. In Saudi Arabia, they hold a St Andrew’s night ball in Jeddah, but I do not think that quite so much whisky is drunk at that one.

I turn to slightly more serious matters. During my time as an MSP, I have spoken in many debates on St Andrew’s day. I have argued before that our position on making the day a national holiday is consistent and clear. We have always been supportive of the desire to have St Andrew’s day as a bank holiday, but in exchange for another day, not in addition to existing days.

That was the approach adopted in the 2007 act and we remain supportive of that. St Andrew’s day is, correctly, a voluntary public holiday. That is the approach that our Parliament takes. Strangely enough, Eton College also celebrates St Andrew’s day as a holiday and has done so for hundreds of years.

We did not support the argument that St Andrew’s day must be a compulsory national holiday, as the cost of that inevitably falls on businesses, especially small businesses, and the taxpayer.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Like Christine Grahame, I am astonished that no one from the Labour benches is here for the debate. That was also the case in the debate on Ukraine the other day; I thought that that was rather odd. Perhaps Labour members have all been rendered speechless by something.

I congratulate Annabelle Ewing on securing this debate, and I am glad to take part in it, because it is important. Christine Grahame told the story of the Scottish saltire and the legend of St Andrew, which I was about to relate, so that has taken away some of my speech.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

I fully recognise the many benefits that immigration, especially from Eastern Europe, has brought to Scotland and to the tourism industry in particular, not least in my region of the Highlands and Islands. However, does the minister agree that it is paramount that we ensure that we have a fair immigration system that favours those who want to come here to work hard and contribute to Scottish society rather than those who wish only to reap benefits?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Can the Scottish Government do anything to ensure that fair trade benefits the very poorest in developing countries, in light of recent accusations that fair trade certifications are a path too narrow for the least-developed countries to tread?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

One of the key areas on the G20 agenda for 2014 has been infrastructure and investments. Does the minister agree that adequate infrastructure is paramount for sustainable growth and investment in small and medium-sized companies, and that an integrated infrastructure plan for the Highlands and Islands would be appropriate in the spirit of the recent G20 meeting?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

I, too, congratulate Marco Biagi on his new job and on securing this important debate, and I thank Kenny Gibson for standing in for him so well.

The vast famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, which is known as the Holodomor, is a very sensitive and sobering issue. This past Sunday, Ukraine remembered those who died during that dark chapter in Ukrainian history 81 years ago.

The event would probably have been hidden away in a dusty corner of the vast archives of the Soviet empire had it not been for Gareth Jones, a brave Welshman. He was a journalist and an adviser to David Lloyd George who travelled to the Ukraine when whispers of a horrendous famine started to emerge. He defied the authorities, which did not allow any journalists in the region, and ventured into what he described as

“once the richest farmland in Russia”,

which had become a desert.

The sight that met him was indeed gruesome. Corpses were lying in the streets and people were so starved that they could not be recognised as human beings. The country was enmeshed in deep despair. He exposed that to the world and was consequently banned from returning by the Soviet Union, which branded him a liar. His life came to a brutal end when he was murdered in the far east a few years later. As the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom once described him, he is an “unsung hero of Ukraine”.

Famine was not rare in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s as a result of policies that were inherently doomed to fail with disastrous consequences. The Holodomor in particular was a tragedy, as the Soviet Government did not allow any western aid nor any policies that would have helped to relieve the situation. That was contrary to the previous approach that was adopted to famines in Russia. Unfortunately, many people back then and today have seen that approach as a way to physically weaken the concept of Ukrainian nationality.

Last year, the Euromaidan protests started and the Ukrainian nation rose to show its will for freedom and the desire to shake off Russia’s dominance, and to prove its ability to chart its own course. Thousands of people have died in Ukraine this year, and its borders have been violated as Crimea was illegally annexed. Eastern regions were almost destroyed and lost their remaining economic viability, and people of the Donbas are left without water, electricity and food.

That is not a new Holodomor and is not equal to it, but it is paramount that we continue to act with a sense of urgency. A message of unanimity against the Russian actions and unity with the Ukrainians was sent at the G20 summit; that summit is now over but, unfortunately, the war in Ukraine is not.

Between 3 million and 7 million Ukrainians died during the famine. Many were Ukrainian country people—women and children. They were told to hand over their land in favour of collective farms as part of Stalin’s communist totalitarian utopia, but they refused to comply. The people were asked to abandon their church in favour of atheism and they resisted. Hard-working Ukrainian farmers wanted a chance at prosperity and were told that they had to give up everything that they had. They resisted, but they faced a horrible destiny: a long, drawn-out death by starvation.

We should also not forget Ukraine’s kurkuls—known as kulaks in the other parts of the Soviet Union—who were the relatively affluent farmer class whom Stalin declared he wanted to eliminate. The overwhelming majority of them were executed, sent to gulag camps or imprisoned. Many historians believe that removal of those experienced land managers made the famine even worse. There were centralised policies—for example, people were told from the centre to make hay when it was raining. Things were as bad as that.

We should never allow the world to forget the atrocities that were committed by the communist regime of the Soviet Union, and they should never be allowed to happen again.

17:14  

European and External Relations Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jamie McGrigor

It is on TTIP. The US has been clear that public sector services are never part of trade agreements. The greatest gain for the UK and in particular Scotland would relate to the oil and gas sector and financial services. Farmers’ eyes are also lighting up—for example, I am told that the Scotch beef import ban might be lifted, which would be important for Scottish farmers. Will you comment on some of the benefits that could accrue to Scotland from a sensible and good agreement?



European and External Relations Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jamie McGrigor

Could I come back in later on?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
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YesDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
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NoCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Jamie McGrigor
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11489: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11390: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11373: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 30/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11361: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 30/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11029.1: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10347.1: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10287: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09916.1: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09922: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09709: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Jamie McGrigor
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03761: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22940: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03624: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03525: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22518: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22517: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00777: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03493: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22331: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22231: Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Question >>

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