Mike MacKenzie MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

Does John Mason feel that the new legislation might help to meet our climate change targets? Mr Stevenson’s worldwide journeys merely to sign contracts may not be necessary in future.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

Does Stewart Stevenson agree that the Scottish Government is due praise for implementing across the Highlands and Islands the backbone for a fibre optic broadband system that will allow such technological improvement to our law to take place? Does he also agree that the United Kingdom Government requires to do more work to roll out 2G, 3G and 4G across the Highlands and Islands and the rural parts of Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I am happy to agree with Nigel Don. I note that the Scottish Government has said that, because of the work and consultation that the Scottish Law Commission did, it is not necessary to do further consultation. That is the stamp of approval on the work of the Scottish Law Commission and particularly the way in which it has approached the bill.

I ought to say a few words about the bill, although I see that I am beginning to run out of time. By facilitating execution in counterpart and the electronic transmission of documents, the bill simply brings an aspect of Scots law up to date. In 2014, the part of our law that is within the bill’s scope will once again become fit for purpose.

The merits of the bill are self-evident—they are obvious. The committee was unanimous on that, as were almost all our witnesses. Only the Faculty of Advocates perplexed us by maintaining that the bill would give rise to an increase in fraud. We were perplexed only in so far as we made a genuine attempt to understand the argument. In the end, we were not persuaded. The bill neither adds to nor removes the possibility of fraud.

It is not a bill of grand and sweeping intent. It is not radical. It is not controversial. It is perhaps not even all that exciting. However, I commend it to members, because modest improvements are often worth while and important.

16:16  

Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I absolutely agree with Mr Mason. Indeed, I hope to make that point while I have the opportunity to speak about the committee.

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, as it is now known, still mainly deals with subordinate legislation, which is where our legislative teeth are often found buried, rather than on the face of bills, although that is where they are most often looked for.

The committee is sometimes thought to be a dry one that deals with a dry subject, but I have found it to be otherwise. I have found its focus, clarity of thought and discipline to be demanding and instructive. I have found that the words in our Scottish statutory instruments are often words of power, and they are weighed by the committee in an almost poetic search for intent and purpose. I have sometimes said in the committee that it reminds me of a remark that is attributed to Oscar Wilde, who said that he had worked very hard on his latest poem one day—in the morning, he took out a comma and, in the afternoon, he put it back in again.

I have found the committee’s deliberations on appropriate levels and forms of scrutiny, clarity of meaning and the width and breadth of powers to be at times almost philosophical. Despite the best intentions of generations of lawyers, the language of our law is much more than the language of mere mathematics, because it often goes beyond logic and is capable of carrying objective and subjective meaning. That is where the challenge for and interest in the committee often lies. We filter our legislation through the finest of sieves.

It has been interesting to see the committee’s approach to its first piece of primary legislation—the Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill. I pause at this point to pay tribute to our clerks and legal advisers, who brought the same disciplined and painstaking approach to bear as they do to all our work. I commend them not just for their grasp of the law and impeccable skills of reasoning but for a most important ability—the ability to explain their thoughts in plain terms for us, the laypersons, who in the main make up the committee.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Mike MacKenzie (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in the debate, because the work of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee is seldom properly recognised. It is unlike any of the other committees of the Parliament, because it does not deal with policy. As a consequence, few visitors and even fewer journalists attend its public meetings—a bit like now in the chamber. We members of the committee are therefore perhaps the least scrutinised of the scrutinisers in the Parliament.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I was assuming that neither of us was driving.

We should lunch at the Eusk restaurant, which has a selection of great local foods available that are prepared to a consistently high standard. Before leaving Oban, we should call in to speak to the inspirational John Forteith, who has performed a remarkable service for local producers and local caterers alike and helped to launch brands such as Argyll venison as well as organising local food-and-drink trade shows.

Next, let us take the ferry across to Mull and sample some Isle of Mull cheese; some of the excellent biscuits produced by the Island Bakery; and some handmade chocolates at the Tobermory Chocolate Company.

At this point, Presiding Officer, I suggest that, being busy people, we recruit the services of our friend and colleague Stewart Stevenson and ask him to fly us to Stornoway to sample some of the world-famous black pudding, which has now been granted protected status by the European Union. We will then fly onwards to Orkney, where we will be literally spoilt for choice among high-quality local produce, from locally made crisps, cheese, ice cream and oatcakes to the finest roast beef that I have ever tasted and the best steak that I have had since the one that I had in France a decade or so ago. Indeed, it is hard to find a butcher on Orkney who has not won a prestigious award for the quality of their meat.

After an evening meal in one of Orkney’s many quality restaurants, we could take the overnight ferry for Shetland. Shetland is the place for fish—at which it excels above all parts of the Highlands and Islands—but also for wonderful oatcakes and cheese.

For breakfast, I recommend the smoked haddock and free-range eggs. I have never tasted better. Before we head home, we could have lunch in Frankie’s fish and chip shop in Brae and a quick trip up north to the island of Unst to the UK’s most northerly brewery, the wonderfully named Valhalla brewery, for some of Sonny Priest’s heavenly beer.

In the short time available, I have inevitably missed out more producers of excellent food and drink than I can possibly mention. There is much more to sample and feast upon.

Scotland’s high-quality, locally produced food and drink add greatly to the visitor experience and, therefore, bring quality and added value to our important tourism industry. They add to Scotland’s exports, which are vital in shoring up the UK’s balance of trade deficit. Local consumption of local food and drink saves on food miles, which helps to reduce our greenhouse gasses. Our healthy food contributes to our health and wellbeing. The provenance of our food and drink enhances Scotland’s brand worldwide.

There is no doubt that food and drink are a success story for Scotland. However, the really good news is that we have barely scratched the surface. There is much more to be discovered. It is hard to think of a part of the Highlands and Islands—or, indeed, the whole of Scotland—where new producers are not emerging and recognising the added value of bringing their quality produce to markets at home and abroad.

For many years, we failed to recognise the many opportunities afforded by our wonderful food and drink. Thanks to the Government and the cabinet secretary, that is no longer the case.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Mike MacKenzie (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

I must first compliment the cabinet secretary, for it is thanks to his ambition and drive in implementing our food and drink policy that the sector has undergone a revolution since 2008. That work has paid off beyond all reasonable expectations, with a growth in turnover of 14.4 per cent between 2008 and 2011—the strongest growth of any sector in Scotland.

Targets on turnover and exports have been exceeded, with a 51 per cent growth in the value of food and drink exports between 2007 and 2013. By any standard, that is a remarkable success story.

I have had the opportunity of witnessing that amazing phenomenon at first hand across the Highlands and Islands, and I have seen a huge improvement in the variety and quality of the food and drink available.

Presiding Officer, please allow me take you on a brief culinary tour of the Highlands and Islands: a two-day whistle-stop food fest. Arriving in Argyll via the gateway of Inveraray, we could breakfast at Loch Fyne Oysters and sample the amazing array of high-quality seafood and the other foods available.

It might be best then to fortify ourselves with a dram in Campbeltown where the Springbank distillery is the oldest family-owned distillery in Scotland, and—I understand—the only one that still carries out the full process on one site. We should also visit its sister distillery, the Glengyle distillery, which is the first of a number of new distilleries built in this millennium. Heading north, we could fortify ourselves further—if we needed it—with some Islay malts, and then on to Oban and lunch at the Eusk restaurant.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

We should perhaps recollect that it was this committee that scrutinised the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012, to which the minister referred, and that we were broadly supportive of it and welcomed its aims, intention and purpose. I simply record my welcome for the final two instruments that will complete the process of facilitating conveyancing and making the whole system fit for purpose in the 21st century.

11:45  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I have a final question, convener. I know that we are running out of time, but I have saved the most important one for the end.

I am sure that you are all aware of the Smith commission and of the fact that the Scottish Government will soon, we hope, have some tax-raising powers, or perhaps a lot. Can you see how we can use those powers to creatively assist the creative industries?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

Is being creative about our business models applicable to the other sectors, such as the craft sector? I try to imagine a young Picasso talking to the business gateway, Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland instead of Gertrude Stein, and I fear that we would have lost a great artist in the process. Are there clever and creative business models that we could apply that would move the craft sector on?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

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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NoDefeated

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

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Mike MacKenzie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11711: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11616: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11614: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11513: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11512: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11493: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11309: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11240: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11146: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11055: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Mike MacKenzie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03773: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03640: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00814: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03586: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03505: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03458: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21868: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21759: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03330: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03324: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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