Kezia Dugdale MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab)

I congratulate Christina McKelvie on securing the debate, and I note her long-term commitment to the issue. Like her, I have supported votes at 16 for a long time.

There is a need for much wider political and electoral reform on a number of issues. I am grateful to Christina McKelvie for her recent support for a campaign that I am involved in—women 50:50—which is about ensuring that all future sessions of this Parliament are balanced 50:50. At least four other members who are now in the chamber have shown their support, and I would encourage my colleagues to do so, too. The moment is now.

On the issue of votes at 16, I cannot believe, looking back, that it was ever viewed as controversial. As Christina McKelvie touched on, it seems the normal and right thing to do to give young people a voice. Christina McKelvie reflected on some of her experiences of the referendum campaign. I remember doing one street stall in the east end of Edinburgh. At about 3 o’clock, the school tipped out and we were overtaken with secondary 5 and 6 pupils from Portobello high school, desperate to ask some hard questions about the currency—“Ah, but what about X, Y and Z?”—so much so that we blocked the road. A few people on Twitter highlighted the health and safety hazards that we had created, and it all got a bit dramatic for a second.

I participated in dozens of other hustings. Without a doubt, the most invigorating were those for young people. For example, I took part in hustings that Boroughmuir high school and James Gillespie’s high school hosted. Some 700 S5 and S6 pupils were in one place grilling me and Sarah Beattie-Smith from the yes campaign on the cases for and against independence.

Saying that the best questions came from young people has the danger of sounding patronising, but that is true. I think that that was the case because young people are less likely to think about I, the individual, and are more likely to talk about we, the country, and what type of country we want to be. They have less political baggage and are more driven by the first principle of what can be done to make this country a better place.

I have not read the full report, but earlier this week I heard Professor Ailsa Henderson talking on “Scotland Tonight”, I think, about the demographics in the referendum result. I am sure that I heard her say that, when research was done into who had read the most before they came to their conclusion on how they would vote, it was found that 16 and 17-year-olds were the most informed group. I think that the evidence from the University of Edinburgh was that those in the 16-to-17 age category had done the most homework.

So what now? We have a duty to keep the political engagement alive. There is a great danger that those people, who currently have a voice, will be excluded from next year’s general election. I appreciate the sensitivities of a members’ business debate, but I have no doubt that Christina McKelvie is calling on us and David Cameron to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds have a vote in next year’s general election. I support that call; indeed, I have written to David Cameron to ask for that to happen.

There is a reason for that. If a person voted no, as I did, they did so because they believe that the best way to make our country a more prosperous, equal and just place is by working together across these isles using the resources, hopes and ambitions of 63 million people. If a 16 or 17-year-old voted no, they are now relying on other people to vote for that vision. If a person voted yes, they will be angry and disappointed. I get that, but there is a great danger that they might be disenfranchised from the political process because they, too, are voiceless without a vote.

Therefore, I back 100 per cent what Christina McKelvie is arguing for. I fully support her campaign and hope that the message to Mr Cameron from the Parliament is loud and clear. We need to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote next year.

12:47  

Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab)

Does the cabinet secretary think that the test is stringent enough?



Meeting of the Parliament 13 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab)

5. To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the recent report by Fiscal Affairs Scotland. (S4O-03465)



Meeting of the Parliament 13 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Kezia Dugdale The Fiscal Affairs Scotland report, which was published yesterday, states that, in order to be better off with independence, we need to inherit just half our population share of debt or get double the Office for Budget Responsibility’s estimate of oil revenues. Which of those scenarios does the cabinet secretary think is more likely?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 June 2014 : Thursday, June 26, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab)

I, too, thank committee members, and indeed the clerks, who do the work behind the scenes.

When we last met to discuss the bill, I expressed my frustration at the rules that preclude members who represent an area from participating in a private bill process that affects that area. I was worried that my colleagues would not understand the complex and long-standing community interest in the issue and that they would be cold to the arguments from both sides and simply go through the motions, without an affinity for the community in question.

On reflection, that approach was exactly what was needed. I commend committee members and the clerks for their dedicated but dispassionate approach to the bill. They have examined the detail in great depth and have often delved into the detail beyond the strict application of the bill, producing a report that is thorough, robust and a credit to the Parliament.

I have received a number of emails from people who are opposed to the bill, which have questioned the committee’s integrity. Each email follows the same format and highlights the same key points; it feels co-ordinated in the way that many charity-led campaign emails do, but it does not have the parallel numbers.

The same email says that MSPs across Scotland were being told to vote in favour of the bill before any evidence had been heard, and that there is clear evidence that the bill is being rushed through as a political decision and is not being considered on its merits. I categorically refute those suggestions. There is no Labour whip in place for this afternoon’s vote and I understand that every other party represented in the chamber has taken the same decision.

I say to colleagues across the chamber who have perhaps yet to make up their minds that I will vote for the City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Bill at 4.45 this afternoon, and I will do so with every confidence that it represents the majority will of the community.

There is substantial evidence of community support in the preliminary stage report and in the consideration stage report that was published last month. Let me add to that the reality of my five years of solid campaigning in the constituency. I have spoken to thousands and thousands of voters face to face on their doorsteps. I know that the community wants this school and wants it on the park.

I will say a bit more about the community in my closing speech, but I will spend the last few minutes of my opening speech examining the suggestion that has been made by the objectors that the bill will somehow set a precedent on common good land. The objectors’ email states that because

“there are no plans to reform common good legislation, this bill if passed will allow other councils to take common good land for any purpose they wish”.

It is exactly because the bill is so narrowly defined that no precedent is set. Should Parliament vote in favour of the bill this afternoon, the law of common good remains unchanged except for the specific instance of Portobello park. Paragraph 38 of the consideration stage report could not be clearer in that regard.

The final point that is made regularly in emails from objectors is that the Parliament is overruling a judgment of the courts. The committee addressed that point ably by highlighting the role of the courts as interpreting and applying the law as it stands. Parliament has the power to legislate as it considers appropriate, even if the effect is to change the law as determined by a court. In the simplest terms, that is democracy.

The committee also addressed the European convention on human rights issues. I understand that objectors are considering that as their next legal move. The committee’s preliminary stage report noted that

“a fair balance has been struck between the competing interests of those adversely affected by the scheme and the benefits to the wider community.”

The principle of proportionality has been applied, and I would ask the objectors to consider the concept of proportionality when they consider their next attempt to block the school.

I reiterate my thanks to my diligent colleagues who have served the committee since its establishment. I urge my colleagues in the chamber to vote based on the strength of the consideration stage report. They should be in no doubt that the vast majority of community support is for the bill to progress.

15:59

Meeting of the Parliament 26 June 2014 : Thursday, June 26, 2014
Kezia Dugdale

It is our last day of term but, instead of getting out the board games, we are here discussing a very important issue. It is worth pointing out how full the public gallery is. I welcome a number of community councillors, the chair of the Portobello for a new school—PFANS—campaign and a number of PFANS members, as well as my Labour colleagues Joan Griffiths and Maureen Child, who are both councillors for the school catchment area. I have also seen the outstanding headteacher of the school, Peigi Macarthur.

There are many other local residents in the public gallery and watching online. Perhaps some are following the debate through the TalkPorty Twitter account or through the Facebook page “A New Porty High School in the Park”, which has more than 2,500 followers. That is evidence of a real community spirit and support for a school on the park.

In the preliminary stage debate, I shared with members the story of Jessie, whose mum and dad I met while chapping doors in the area. Jessie challenged me to take a tour of the school and I did so, recognising how important it was to see the school through the eyes of a child.

Jessie was in primary 2 at Towerbank primary school when she was first promised a new school. She will most likely leave Portobello high school having achieved a complete set of highers in the current building. She has spent an educational lifetime waiting for a new school, and it will likely pass her by.

Jessie has had a first-class education at Portobello high school, as every failure of the building has been more than compensated by the determination of the staff to deliver that education. I pay tribute to the headteacher, Peigi Macarthur, for leading a school that is pounding with life, culture, sport and opportunity. She has never let the challenges of the building overshadow the school’s achievements, and for that she must be commended.

I was at Portobello high last week to see the school show, “Schools Will Rock You”, and I was blown away by the talent of pupils and the dedication of staff who were involved in the production. However, there was a sense of make-do-and-mend: there were a lot of plugs for various bits of equipment all jammed in one place, and the windows were blacked out.

I can contrast that experience with my visit last week to the new Dunfermline high school, which has a dedicated theatre space with all the rigging and the fancy stuff that many an Edinburgh festival theatre venue would envy.

In addition, the Dunfermline school has dedicated 3G pitches, which made me think of the bus trip that the Portobello pupils have to take to the Jack Kane sports centre for physical education lessons. The provision for PE at Portobello is so poor that the school has a special dispensation for the target of two hours of PE, as it has had for years.

I look at the bright, airy and spacious school in Dunfermline and contrast it with the stairwells at Portobello, which are cramped and fraught with problems. Classes at the school are timetabled on the basis of the traffic in the stairwells, in an attempt to minimise the amount of time that the kids spend walking through them from class to class.

I am not envious or jealous of Dunfermline high school, but proud of it. I am proud that we have a school that befits the ambitions of its pupils and teachers, and I want that for everyone, including those in Portobello. I want Portobello to have a first-class community school because of its building, not in spite of it. It would be a community asset and, in my view and according to a number of members in the chamber, an enriching one.

The committee’s report is not black and white. It recognised that the consultation was not perfect, but it stated:

“The Committee does not consider that any shortcomings identified in the consultation process are sufficient to sustain any objection regarding the consultation’s adequacy.”

That takes us back to the concept of proportionality. The question is not whether the consultation was flawed, but whether any flaws were considered to be serious enough. The same goes for the minor loss of green space, views or house price values. The question is not the validity of those arguments, but whether they constitute enough of a reason to block the building of the school on the park.

Members should look at the report’s conclusion. It is quite unusual, as Alison McInnes pointed out, for a committee to comment on the polarisation of the parties involved in a bill. The committee has sent a strong message to the community that it should find a way through the situation. We may think that the referendum debate is fractious and divisive, but it has nothing on the school debate in the Portobello community.

I hope that the journey towards reconciliation and the future will start today, with a vote in this Parliament in favour of building the school on the park. With that vote, I understand that the shovels could be in the ground as soon as September and a new school could be ready for the start of the 2016 term. I hope that today we can all help to realise that ambition.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 June 2014 : Thursday, June 26, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab) I, too, thank committee members, and indeed the clerks, who do the work behind the scenes.

When we last met to discuss the bill, I expressed my frustration at the rules that preclude members who represent an area from participating in a private bill process that affects that area. I was worried that my colleagues would not understand the complex and long-standing community interest in the issue and that they would be cold to the arguments from both sides and simply go through the motions, without an affinity for the community in question.

On reflection, that approach was exactly what was needed. I commend committee members and the clerks for their dedicated but dispassionate approach to the bill. They have examined the detail in great depth and have often delved into the detail beyond the strict application of the bill, producing a report that is thorough, robust and a credit to the Parliament.

I have received a number of emails from people who are opposed to the bill, which have questioned the committee’s integrity. Each email follows the same format and highlights the same key points; it feels co-ordinated in the way that many charity-led campaign emails do, but it does not have the parallel numbers.

The same email says that MSPs across Scotland were being told to vote in favour of the bill before any evidence had been heard, and that there is clear evidence that the bill is being rushed through as a political decision and is not being considered on its merits. I categorically refute those suggestions. There is no Labour whip in place for this afternoon’s vote and I understand that every other party represented in the chamber has taken the same decision.

I say to colleagues across the chamber who have perhaps yet to make up their minds that I will vote for the City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Bill at 4.45 this afternoon, and I will do so with every confidence that it represents the majority will of the community.

There is substantial evidence of community support in the preliminary stage report and in the consideration stage report that was published last month. Let me add to that the reality of my five years of solid campaigning in the constituency. I have spoken to thousands and thousands of voters face to face on their doorsteps. I know that the community wants this school and wants it on the park.

I will say a bit more about the community in my closing speech, but I will spend the last few minutes of my opening speech examining the suggestion that has been made by the objectors that the bill will somehow set a precedent on common good land. The objectors’ email states that because

“there are no plans to reform common good legislation, this bill if passed will allow other councils to take common good land for any purpose they wish”.

It is exactly because the bill is so narrowly defined that no precedent is set. Should Parliament vote in favour of the bill this afternoon, the law of common good remains unchanged except for the specific instance of Portobello park. Paragraph 38 of the consideration stage report could not be clearer in that regard.

The final point that is made regularly in emails from objectors is that the Parliament is overruling a judgment of the courts. The committee addressed that point ably by highlighting the role of the courts as interpreting and applying the law as it stands. Parliament has the power to legislate as it considers appropriate, even if the effect is to change the law as determined by a court. In the simplest terms, that is democracy.

The committee also addressed the European convention on human rights issues. I understand that objectors are considering that as their next legal move. The committee’s preliminary stage report noted that

“a fair balance has been struck between the competing interests of those adversely affected by the scheme and the benefits to the wider community.”

The principle of proportionality has been applied, and I would ask the objectors to consider the concept of proportionality when they consider their next attempt to block the school.

I reiterate my thanks to my diligent colleagues who have served the committee since its establishment. I urge my colleagues in the chamber to vote based on the strength of the consideration stage report. They should be in no doubt that the vast majority of community support is for the bill to progress.

15:59

Meeting of the Parliament 26 June 2014 : Thursday, June 26, 2014
Kezia Dugdale It is our last day of term but, instead of getting out the board games, we are here discussing a very important issue. It is worth pointing out how full the public gallery is. I welcome a number of community councillors, the chair of the Portobello for a new school—PFANS—campaign and a number of PFANS members, as well as my Labour colleagues Joan Griffiths and Maureen Child, who are both councillors for the school catchment area. I have also seen the outstanding headteacher of the school, Peigi Macarthur.

There are many other local residents in the public gallery and watching online. Perhaps some are following the debate through the TalkPorty Twitter account or through the Facebook page “A New Porty High School in the Park”, which has more than 2,500 followers. That is evidence of a real community spirit and support for a school on the park.

In the preliminary stage debate, I shared with members the story of Jessie, whose mum and dad I met while chapping doors in the area. Jessie challenged me to take a tour of the school and I did so, recognising how important it was to see the school through the eyes of a child.

Jessie was in primary 2 at Towerbank primary school when she was first promised a new school. She will most likely leave Portobello high school having achieved a complete set of highers in the current building. She has spent an educational lifetime waiting for a new school, and it will likely pass her by.

Jessie has had a first-class education at Portobello high school, as every failure of the building has been more than compensated by the determination of the staff to deliver that education. I pay tribute to the headteacher, Peigi Macarthur, for leading a school that is pounding with life, culture, sport and opportunity. She has never let the challenges of the building overshadow the school’s achievements, and for that she must be commended.

I was at Portobello high last week to see the school show, “Schools Will Rock You”, and I was blown away by the talent of pupils and the dedication of staff who were involved in the production. However, there was a sense of make-do-and-mend: there were a lot of plugs for various bits of equipment all jammed in one place, and the windows were blacked out.

I can contrast that experience with my visit last week to the new Dunfermline high school, which has a dedicated theatre space with all the rigging and the fancy stuff that many an Edinburgh festival theatre venue would envy.

In addition, the Dunfermline school has dedicated 3G pitches, which made me think of the bus trip that the Portobello pupils have to take to the Jack Kane sports centre for physical education lessons. The provision for PE at Portobello is so poor that the school has a special dispensation for the target of two hours of PE, as it has had for years.

I look at the bright, airy and spacious school in Dunfermline and contrast it with the stairwells at Portobello, which are cramped and fraught with problems. Classes at the school are timetabled on the basis of the traffic in the stairwells, in an attempt to minimise the amount of time that the kids spend walking through them from class to class.

I am not envious or jealous of Dunfermline high school, but proud of it. I am proud that we have a school that befits the ambitions of its pupils and teachers, and I want that for everyone, including those in Portobello. I want Portobello to have a first-class community school because of its building, not in spite of it. It would be a community asset and, in my view and according to a number of members in the chamber, an enriching one.

The committee’s report is not black and white. It recognised that the consultation was not perfect, but it stated:

“The Committee does not consider that any shortcomings identified in the consultation process are sufficient to sustain any objection regarding the consultation’s adequacy.”

That takes us back to the concept of proportionality. The question is not whether the consultation was flawed, but whether any flaws were considered to be serious enough. The same goes for the minor loss of green space, views or house price values. The question is not the validity of those arguments, but whether they constitute enough of a reason to block the building of the school on the park.

Members should look at the report’s conclusion. It is quite unusual, as Alison McInnes pointed out, for a committee to comment on the polarisation of the parties involved in a bill. The committee has sent a strong message to the community that it should find a way through the situation. We may think that the referendum debate is fractious and divisive, but it has nothing on the school debate in the Portobello community.

I hope that the journey towards reconciliation and the future will start today, with a vote in this Parliament in favour of building the school on the park. With that vote, I understand that the shovels could be in the ground as soon as September and a new school could be ready for the start of the 2016 term. I hope that today we can all help to realise that ambition.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 June 2014 : Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab) The cabinet secretary is right. Attainment is improving, and it is improving for care leavers, but only at half the pace that it is for all other schoolchildren. What specific work is the cabinet secretary doing to improve the educational attainment of looked-after children across Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 24 June 2014 : Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab) Labour has long argued that the Scottish National Party’s obsession with hitting the target of 25,000 modern apprenticeships has come at the expense of meeting the economy’s skills needs. Does the Wood commission’s renewed focus on MAs at level 3 or above, tied to growth industries, prove that we were right?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Kezia Dugdale
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10384: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10241: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10131: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09915.1: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09893: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09798: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09669: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09487: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09478: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09308: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Kezia Dugdale
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22828: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22829: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22579: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22580: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22582: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22581: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22454: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22456: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22455: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22457: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/08/2014 Show Full Question >>

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