Marco Biagi MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Marco Biagi (Edinburgh Central) (SNP)

I thank Christina McKelvie for bringing the debate to the chamber. It is good to see Joe FitzPatrick in the chamber to respond to the debate—as the Minister for Parliamentary Business, he does not get many opportunities to do that, and I am sure that he will thank Christina, too.

Like Christina McKelvie, I have been a supporter of the campaign to extend the franchise for as long as I have been in the Scottish National Party, and probably longer. I have always acknowledged the point and the theory behind it: at 16, people can marry, join the Army and work full-time and pay tax. Now, we have seen the practice, and what actually happens.

It is the same with so many big reforms: things seem a bit scary and risky before they happen, but once they do, everybody suddenly sees how well they can work. Perhaps there is a wider lesson in there, but I will leave that aside for another day to avoid accusations of digging up the referendum.

To go back to what Kezia Dugdale said about the questions that are asked, it is fair to say that, during the referendum campaign, we got a different type of question when we appeared in front of a youth audience. We would get the ones that we expected: the standard questions about the currency or the European Union—even “EastEnders”—came up. However, we also got questions that surprised us.

I was on the panel at a question-and-answer session in the Scottish Youth Parliament. It was not so much the content of the questions that surprised me, but the electronic voting system that allowed reality television-style rating of our answers. I can assure members that that was a nerve-wracking experience.

At all the schools that I visited, there was a fantastic atmosphere and energy. At Broughton high school, I was ushered in to speak to the headteacher, who realised that the head of modern studies had brought me in as the sole MSP for the session, and said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t talk about the referendum.” I said that of course I would not talk about the referendum; it was just a question-and-answer session rather than a debate. However, the referendum was all the young people wanted to talk about, so I spoke about the importance of voting. I said, “Make the decision and research it—I will leave that up to you, but what matters is that you vote”—and boy, did they do so.

I have had great experiences even in primary schools. The unpredictability of the questions is amazing. At Flora Stevenson primary school, I was asked, at the end of a long series of quite serious questions, one of those questions that just throws you: “What is your secret talent?” I thought, “Oh, heck”—it was a bit like being on reality TV. What could I say to a group of 11-year-olds in that situation? I will leave members to think about how they might have answered that question.

At another primary school, I was asked towards the end of a question session if any MSPs had ever been arrested. That is an interesting question—I will not think about where it came from, but it gave me an excuse to talk about non-violent direct action and the types of things that many MSPs have done for causes that they believe in, such as removing Trident.

In the last two days before the referendum, a Yes Scotland shop opened on Gorgie Road just along from Tynecastle high school. On the first day, the Tynecastle kids all came in looking for information. It must have been good information, because they all came in the next day wearing “Yes” badges.

Those were all great experiences that I will look back on fondly. Looking ahead, I wonder whether 16 and 17-year-olds, if they are enfranchised, will vote in elections with as much passion as they voted in the referendum. Maybe they will, or maybe not. Elections are different from referendums—are we ever going to have an 85 per cent turnout in an election?

We must remember that not everyone who has the right to vote exercises it, and that is a valid choice that we have to respect. I hope that 16 and 17-year-olds will get the vote and will be able to use it, whether that is under a Scotland act or a United Kingdom-wide act. The extension of the franchise is a really good reform—as was said on the eve of the referendum, “Let’s do this!”

12:59  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marco Biagi (Edinburgh Central) (SNP)

I wanted to follow up on a topic that Mr McTaggart raised earlier: the nature of research and development, and how we can expand it to meet the needs of the Scottish economy. You picked R and D as one of the three important areas. Can you outline the policy instruments that you would like to see in the budget to bring about the objective of expanding commercial research and development in Scotland?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marco Biagi

I might be moving into the territory of bigger questions, but why do you think that Scotland has underperformed in that area? Is it reasonable to expect Scottish budgets to be able to address that in the near future?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marco Biagi

Do the other witnesses have a view on the provision of research and development support in the budget? If there are no other comments, I will ask one further question on research and development in relation to exports.

It is all very well to talk about supporting universities to spin off commercially; a lot of universities are doing that, and a lot of work has been done in that area in the past decade or so. Scotland’s companies have a lot of expertise in key areas such as oil and gas, yet our figures for commercial research and development are not very high—they are among the lowest in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development figures. Is there a problem in that we are not exporting our expertise by winning research contracts abroad? Is that issue separate from what is happening in universities? Could we help through budget measures?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marco Biagi

What I mean is, why are our companies that have expertise not winning research contracts from abroad? We know from the business enterprise research and development expenditure statistics that Scotland is not winning commercial research contracts. I assume that there is only so much that can be done in Scotland, based on our own market. Why is there no export of our expertise through winning contracts abroad? Can we do anything about that? Do you accept that interpretation?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marco Biagi

If we continue to fund public R and D, do you think that commercial funding will follow?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
4. Marco Biagi (Edinburgh Central) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish updated guidance for the delivery of relationship, sexual health and parenting education. (S4O-03574)



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marco Biagi

The Scottish Youth Parliament has conducted research about the extent of RSHPE in schools, and “Lessons for Scotland from the Jay Report into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham: A Barnardo’s Scotland discussion paper” has shown its importance for child protection. What action is the Scottish Government taking to ensure that we have top-quality RSHPE in all schools?



Equal Opportunities Committee 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Marco Biagi (Edinburgh Central) (SNP)

I am the MSP for Edinburgh Central and am the deputy convener of the committee.



Equal Opportunities Committee 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Marco Biagi

Yes, I have a question for Alice Ashworth based on her response a moment ago.

We do not generally engage in naming and shaming in committee, but I believe in naming and praising. You said that there are examples of good practice in terms of knowledge of the private rented sector. Can you point us in the direction of those examples?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
>> Show more
YesCarried

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Marco Biagi
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11342: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11341: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11324: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11237: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11218: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11194: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11193: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11154: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11085: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10800: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Marco Biagi
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03642: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03574: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03499: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03457: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22195: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21920: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03337: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02142: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03268: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03242: Marco Biagi, Edinburgh Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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