Neil Findlay MSP

Welcome to Neil Findlay MSP's biography pages

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

Will the minister take an intervention?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

The referendum campaign that we have just had has developed in people a new and healthy interest in all things political, which has to be warmly welcomed. However, with that comes increased scrutiny of politicians, political institutions, the decision-making process and those who make decisions on behalf of the people. The public have every right to know what is going on in their name and to hold institutions and people to account for their actions.

This particular institution, which claims to be open and accessible and transparent in all that it does and to operate with the values of accountability, openness, power sharing and equal opportunities, has a long way to go until it and the society and institutions that we legislate over can claim to live up to those values. According to the mace in the well of the chamber, we are supposed to operate with wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity, and the proposal that we are discussing is part of a wide range of changes that we need to make if we are to live up to those supportable aims.

I fully support the proposal for a register of interests for members of the judiciary. After all, we have the right to know whether those who are involved in determining whether a man or woman loses their freedom have any financial, business, social, political or other relationship that could influence any decision they might make. Currently there is no compulsion to declare such an interest and we rely on what is known as the fair-minded observer test. That, to me, is wholly inadequate. Through history, we have heard allegations of religious, class, financial and political bias or of members of certain organisations being helpful to each other during trials. I can think of many industrial and other disputes that have gone to court where claims of bias and collusion have been made—and, I believe, with justification.

That situation has to end, and we should have a register with clear rules that leave no one in any doubt about who and what should be registered. Is it really a surprise to people that the legal establishment does not want such a register, and is it not an outrage that Lord Gill had such contempt for this Parliament that he refused to attend a particular meeting? Does that not make people even more suspicious of his motives?

Let me give the chamber some more examples of how our politics maintains its secrecy. When I recently asked a cabinet minister a question about who had advised him on certain key areas of policy, I was told that that information could not be revealed because information about a third party would be provided. We cannot find out, for example, whether people with links to the fracking industry advise the Government on energy or whether people with financial interests in the drugs industry advise the Government on new treatments. Those are very important issues. I am not saying those people are advising the Government but we simply do not know and cannot find out, and I believe that that is fundamentally wrong.

What about when the Government appoints people to conduct inquiries or to write reports that are paid for by the public purse? Why are those people picked? Is it because they are experts or particularly knowledgeable in their field, or are there other influencing factors? How are contracts secured and why are they won? Who influences changes in Government policy, and why? The public should, if they wish, have the right to know what is being done in their name.

What about the workings of this Parliament? Why do our committees discuss so many issues in private session when there is no reason to? For example, why can we not find out why the Health and Sport Committee refused to invite the former Auditor General for Scotland to give evidence on the budget? Who stopped him coming? Why can we not find out these things? Surely the public have a right to know.

As Anne McTaggart pointed out in her speech, 16 months ago the Government said that it was minded to legislate on my proposed lobbying transparency bill. To date, however, no legislation has come forward. Why not? I say to the Government that if that legislation is not in the legislative programme, I will bring my bill back to Parliament and then we will see this Parliament’s commitment to openness and accountability.

We need to do much more to make our society less secretive and less closed, and I think that the register that we are discussing is just one step towards that end. I, for one, give it my full support and urge other MSPs to do the same.

16:19  

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Neil Findlay

Will the member take an intervention?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Neil Findlay

I wonder if Lord Gill has reflected on his non-appearance and on how he feels when someone does not turn up to his court.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

Will the cabinet secretary give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Neil Findlay

Will cabinet secretary take an intervention?



Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
9. Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government when work on the new Dumfries hospital will commence. (S4O-03569)



Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Neil Findlay

On this project, the Aberdeen bypass and the new Dundee museum, we see companies that have been up to their necks in blacklisting securing public contracts without taking any remedial action to own up, apologise or pay up to the victims.

Given the assurances that we were given during the passage of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill, why is that still happening, and will the new guidance have any impact?



Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

This is Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

As a spectator I have witnessed some great and not-so-great sporting occasions, going from the depths of despair in Genoa, watching Scotland lose to Costa Rica at the 1990 world cup, to jubilation only a few days later when we beat Sweden, raising again the cyclical hopes that we would qualify. I do not need to tell members that the inevitable happened a few days later, as we got beat off Brazil, but it was a great sporting occasion nonetheless.

I have been to the Ashes at Lord’s, and experienced gubbings and victories at Murrayfield. This summer I saw the fantastic Josh Taylor and the force of nature that is Charlie Flynn get their boxing golds in the finals at the Hydro. Those are sporting experiences that I will never forget, although I have tried desperately to forget some of them.

Standing next to the first tee at Gleneagles on Friday for the first day of the Ryder cup was up there with the best of those experiences. It is difficult to come up with superlatives to describe the experience of the spectators, never mind that of the players. The Ryder cup had everything: the noise of an old firm game, humour, song, sportsmanship and dreadful clothing, and even a deer running up the first fairway in front of 20,000 spectators, wondering what the hell we were all doing in its front room.

We saw golfing legends Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Montgomery, Olazábal, Torrance and others looking on as the players had somehow to bring themselves to swing the club, which they did in a display of golf that I think was the finest that has ever been seen in Scotland. That is saying something, because we have experienced some magic over the years.

From my perspective as a spectator, everything went smoothly, from the first point of contact with the transport arrangements on the way to the event all through the day to the final colourful—shall we say—-crowd participation at the presentation. Everything was first class. The course was immaculately presented, and—as Liz Smith said—the setting in and around Gleneagles was truly spectacular. As the minister mentioned, we had four days of dry sunny weather in Scotland in September—who would have thought it? The golfing god—or Seve, as he is known—must surely have been looking down on us.

Undoubtedly there will be a tourism legacy from the event. We heard comments from people of all nationalities who were thrilled to be in such spectacular surroundings. As for the play itself, we experienced three days with enough drama to sweep the board at the Oscars.

In the first two days there was very close competition, which set up the event for the final day. We saw McIlroy prove to be the best player in the world, and McDowell prove to be the street fighter that people knew he was. We saw Patrick Reed, pumping up himself and the crowd, Bubba Watson revelling in the atmosphere, Poulter just being Poulter and Justin Rose coming back from four down to secure a fantastic half at the last.

I am glad that Tavish Scott mentioned Stephen Gallacher, who played exceptionally well and was four under but was unable to beat the class act that was Mickelson. Of course, new stars were born such as Spieth, Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson, whose winning shot must already be classified as the shot of his life.

We saw sport played to a high standard at the highest level, with the highest level of sporting integrity. Annabelle Ewing, the minister and other members were right to list the contribution of the volunteers and all the people who made the event happen. John Pentland mentioned a jaw-dropping moment—well, I too had a jaw-dropping moment when he bought me a pint in the pavilion, but we will not dwell on that.

My main hope for the Ryder cup is that it encourages more people to play the game, especially women. I make an appeal on behalf of the parliamentary golf team for more women to join the team. We do not have any at the moment so, if anybody wants to come forward, they would be most welcome.

Golf in Scotland is in a bit of a difficult situation. Many of the 500 or so clubs are struggling to retain, never mind increase, their membership. That is certainly true of the clubs in my area. The legacy of the financial crash, changes in working and family lives, cultural change and access to new forms of entertainment and relaxation are putting immense pressure on clubs. Committees are doing everything that they can to keep their clubs alive. They are making cuts while trying to increase revenue without compromising on quality. I hope that the Government, sportscotland and other agencies will do all that they can to assist with that. Clubs get support from the Scottish Golf Union, but they need assistance to ensure that they are on a firm and sustainable business footing. They need to avoid competing each other out of business on fees. Fees are a difficulty, but the solution is not simply for clubs to lower their fees, because that will end up in clubs competing each other out of business. That is a difficulty that all the clubs face.

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 Neil Findlay
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11229: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11228: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11227: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11226: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11222: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11197: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11196: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11149: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11137: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11122: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Neil Findlay
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22842: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22798: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22694: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22695: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22723: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22690: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22689: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22691: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22693: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22692: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.