Malcolm Chisholm MSP

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Malcolm Chisholm MSP

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  • Member for: Edinburgh Northern and Leith
  • Region: Lothian
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Malcolm is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Malcolm Chisholm

Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I like to agree with the Deputy First Minister whenever possible so, like her, obviously I welcome the new standards in participative democracy that we saw during the referendum. I hope that the wider public will be meaningfully involved in the Smith deliberations, and I believe that we must have enhanced democratic and financial accountability at the end of the process—I hope that that will be the case. It is perhaps not an astounding revelation to say that I am quite open-minded about going further than my party’s recommendations, but I think that they are a stronger set of proposals than many members have suggested in the debate. I am glad that Sarah Boyack emphasised the importance of double devolution from our point of view.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm

I have supported that position for a very long time.

It is no surprise that the Scottish Government has presented devo max proposals. I said months before the referendum—it was fairly obvious, really—that the SNP would, in the event of a no vote, become the champions of devo max.

I object not to that, but to the specific devo max narrative that the SNP has developed systematically over the past six weeks. I give the party some credit, as all its members have been saying the same thing for six weeks, but the reality is that not one person in any of the parties that are opposed to independence used the term “devo max” either in the last week of the referendum campaign or at any other point.

I re-examined the vow this week—



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm

I cannot just now, because I am already two minutes in and I have already taken one intervention.

The vow refers to

“extensive new powers”;

“sharing ... resources equitably”;

“the continuation of the Barnett allocation”;

and a

“say on how much is spent on the NHS”.

Gordon Brown has been invoked in the debate today. He spoke about home rule, which is discussed in the Labour Party’s submission to the Smith commission. He also spoke about federalism, on which I can do no better than quote John Mason, who intervened on me a moment ago. He said at the Finance Committee:

“Am I right in thinking that federalism does not define the amount of power that is down at the individual state level and is more about how the structure works?”—[Official Report, Finance Committee, 8 October 2014; c 21.]

I do not know where the idea that there was some promise of devo max or anything like it in the last week of the campaign came from, but I seriously object to the way in which that has been implied by the SNP in the past six weeks.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm

I give way to Annabelle Ewing.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm

My speech is about that. I believe that we all agree with extensive new powers; I am simply making the point that that does not equal devo max as the SNP has defined it. We should accept the correct definition, because there has been confusion in the past over different meanings of the term.

One problem with devo max is that it stands in opposition to what we regard as a fundamental principle of the devolved settlement, which is the pooling of resources and risks.

As was mentioned often in the referendum campaign, pooling resources and risks works to our advantage. For example, we benefit on pensions by getting more for our population share, and the proportion will increase in the future. I could give many other examples of how such pooling of resources helps Scotland.

The settlement is also about pooling risks. If there is an asymmetric local shock to the system, we would, as David Bell discussed at the Finance Committee on 8 October, be supported by the resources of the entire UK with regard to our welfare in such an event.

Many people have commented on the crash in the oil price in recent months. Once again, that is covered when we are part of the UK, whereas it would have a devastating effect on a Scottish economy that was either independent or devo max-dependent.

The only example that anyone can give of devo max operating anywhere in the world is the Basque country. Once again at the Finance Committee on 8 October, David Bell pointed out the fundamental difference between the Basque country and Scotland with regard to the strength of our economy.

Nicola Sturgeon majored today on job-creating powers, but again the gap is not as great as some individuals are saying in relation to what is up for grabs. Even under independence, we were not going to get many job-creating powers, such as the power to vary interest rates. On the other hand, we already have great job-creating powers through economic development, skills, education, infrastructure and investment.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress says that there are not as many issues as the SNP has suggested, and it has proposed the devolution of health and safety and of labour market regulation. I am certainly quite open-minded in that regard.

We all agree that we have to do something about the high vertical fiscal imbalance, whereby we are responsible for a lot of our spending but not much of our resources. The key flashpoint in that respect is income tax. I respect what Gordon Brown has said about that, but I note what the red paper collective says about devolving all income tax to allow the Scottish Parliament more flexibility to create a progressive tax system. That idea is quite appealing to me; I imagine the Conservatives also support the full devolution of income tax, but for other reasons.

There will be a genuine debate about that and I do not think that anyone is foreclosing on the conclusion to that debate. I do not know what people expect the Labour Party to do today apart from to come forward with the proposals that it has put to the Smith commission, but I am sure that many people in the Labour Party, as in other parties, are open-minded about the conclusion of those deliberations.

16:00  

Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I congratulate Linda Fabiani on bringing the subject of mental health to the chamber, in recognition of world mental health day earlier this month. The motion points out that there is a particular focus this year on schizophrenia and the impact that that mental illness has on the lives of individuals and families across Scotland and the wider world. I will stick to that aspect of the debate, although I agree with what Linda Fabiani said at the beginning of her speech about the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, the see me campaign and other initiatives. There has been a great deal of continuity between the previous Government and this one on those developments.

As Linda Fabiani points out, Support in Mind Scotland has been running for 30 years and doing exceptional work in bringing the issues faced by sufferers into the public consciousness, challenging stigma and raising awareness. The first stage of its one in 100 campaign was launched earlier this month with a broad inquiry into people’s experience of living with schizophrenia and the obstacles that they face in navigating everyday life. Its efforts to reach communities in Scotland who have experience of coping with mental illness is commendable. Support in Mind reaches out to share best practice and to learn from the experiences of others.

I notice that it has a particular interest in a report from the Schizophrenia Commission on schizophrenia in England called “The Abandoned Illness”. Some of the findings in that report are interesting. Perhaps the minister can comment on whether there are similar features in Scotland. For example, on premature mortality rates, the report says that people with schizophrenia die 15 to 20 years earlier than their fellow citizens.

The report also talks about issues such as poor employment outcomes, the absence of support for families and the significant fear about speaking up because of stigma. I imagine many of those features are also present in relation to schizophrenia in Scotland.

On the basis of those findings, which present ample evidence for taking a more targeted approach to mental health services, Support in Mind Scotland is keen to emphasise the mutual experiences of service users in Scotland and England. What is interesting is that it proposes to carry out a review of the report and the findings to consider what applies here in Scotland and what the response of policy makers should be. To carry out that analysis, a small steering group of academics and professionals has been convened from across the national health service and other mental health networks. That will be another interesting report when it appears.

The Mental Health Foundation has also taken a great deal of interest in schizophrenia. It points out that, around the world, 26 million people live with schizophrenia. It is keen to highlight that perceptions of mental ill health and schizophrenia are slowly changing. Many who are asked state that in fact people with schizophrenia are not the danger to others once believed. That is certainly progress, although there is still further to go, not least in the media.

Moreover, the foundation says that if someone is diagnosed with schizophrenia, while it is a cause of concern, it should not mean that they lose the capacity to have a full and productive life. That can be helped by the more efficient co-ordination of services, which is one of the areas highlighted as an issue in the report on England that I mentioned. There needs to be a joined-up approach to treatment and support. That starts with early intervention and accurate signposting. Most important, the treatment of conditions such as schizophrenia should be seen as being as important as the treatment of physical conditions. Just because an illness is not visible does not mean that it is any less critical. Without vital early diagnosis, a mental illness can very quickly lead to physical symptoms and self-harm.

One of the worrying features is that people with schizophrenia and, indeed, other mental illnesses are often not looked after effectively in comparison with the treatment of other, more straightforward physical illnesses. The motion speaks of the one in every 100 people who have a life expectancy that is 15 to 20 years lower because of their mental illness. That enormous disparity tells us all that we need to know about the serious challenges faced in improving outcomes for those with schizophrenia. The worsening mental health of each affected individual should not come at the cost of deteriorating physical health.

A paper published last year in the British Medical Journal by the University of Glasgow’s Dr Daniel Smith concluded:

“People with schizophrenia have a wide range of comorbid and multiple physical health conditions but are less likely than people without schizophrenia to have a primary care record of cardiovascular disease. This suggests a systematic under-recognition and under treatment of cardiovascular disease in people with schizophrenia, which might contribute to substantial premature mortality observed within this patient group.”

In short, that suggests that people are dying earlier because of delayed diagnosis. Now is the time to recognise that kind of link and to make a pointed attempt to achieve the more preventive approach that the mental health strategy sets out.

I support the motion and welcome world mental health day’s focus on this much-misunderstood condition.

17:45  

Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm

Is John Mason suggesting that someone should have to suffer appalling behaviour from someone who could be excused on the ground of having mental health problems?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

Apart from full bedroom tax mitigation, which Labour ensured was in last year’s budget, is it not the case that the “Tackling Inequality” section of the budget is full only of warm words signifying very little for those who are the poorest and most disadvantaged in society? Is it not time that we had a comprehensive assessment of the effect of all policies and budget lines on poverty, rather than a bland equality statement that says very little about poverty and ignores specific budget lines and policies?



Meeting of the Parliament 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I welcome Clydeside Action on Asbestos to the public gallery and pay tribute to its great campaign.

Of course, asbestos-related illness does not apply just in Clydeside and I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice about one of my constituents, who is affected by asbestos in that particular way.

The answer that members want—the answer that Clydeside Action on Asbestos wants—is in the answer to three questions that were put very succinctly and effectively by Elaine Murray. First, what is the harm in doing what Elaine Murray proposes in her amendments? Secondly, what is the answer to the question about exceptional circumstances? We already treat asbestos as an exceptional circumstance and the legislation that we passed in 2009 bears testimony to that. Thirdly, if the cabinet secretary still does not accept Elaine Murray’s amendments, can he at least tell us what he has done to fulfil the commitment that he made at the Justice Committee to ease the test for remit from the sheriff court to the Court of Session?

I support the amendments in Elaine Murray’s name and I hope that, at the last minute, the cabinet secretary will have a change of mind.



Meeting of the Parliament 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Malcolm Chisholm

I strongly support Graeme Pearson’s amendments 16 and 17. John Finnie intervened on Mr Pearson to say that victims of workplace accidents and disease would be “guaranteed counsel, anyway”. I presume that he means that that is the case in practice—which the minister might want to comment on—but it certainly will not be guaranteed in law. Therefore, that seems to me to be an argument in favour of Graeme Pearson’s amendments rather than an argument against them.

I am sure that most, if not all, members are concerned about the way in which the scales of justice have been tipped against the victims of workplace accidents and disease in favour of defending employers or insurers by section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. As Graeme Pearson said—this must be an argument that appeals to Government party members—surely the least that we can do in this Parliament is use the powers that we have to tip the scales in the other direction and lessen the impact of section 69. I therefore hope that the Government will accept Graeme Pearson’s amendments.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
YesDefeated

 
NoDefeated

 
YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

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

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

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Malcolm Chisholm
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-09793: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09717: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09451: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08996: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08757: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08510: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08101: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07756: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07713: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04794: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Malcolm Chisholm
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03630: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03451: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03423: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03359: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21681: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21680: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03347: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03272: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03244: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03097: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Question >>

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