Rob Gibson MSP

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Member of the Conveners Group

Scottish Green Energy Awards 2012: Best Politician

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Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)

The Highland Council has spent many millions of pounds on maintenance and landslip clear-up on this now life-threatening section of the Stromeferry bypass. Does the minister agree that the council should seek the co-operation of the Macpherson family at Attadale estate in planning the least expensive route over their land to Gleann Udalain, on a bypass to the bypass?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)

Many of the themes that have already been highlighted might well, as Alex Fergusson has suggested, be repeated. However, I want to home in on this excellent proposal to make Scotland a good food nation. The Scottish Government is aiming at a 2025 horizon—or roughly three Parliaments from now. That shows vision; indeed, it is necessary to think in such terms if we are to create a long-lasting and effective policy. If we are to be a land of food and drink, we must look not only at what we produce but at what we buy, serve and eat ourselves, and that is why I believe that “Becoming a Good Food Nation” will be the key document for achieving those aims over the next 10 years.

The policy was launched in June as an addition to “Recipe for Success”, but it hinges not on exports and lucrative niche markets but on the target that by 2025

“people from every walk of life will take pride and pleasure in the food served day by day in Scotland.”

It comes at a time of huge financial challenges for the thousands of working-poor families who require to use food banks every month, as members have said. What the policy proposes is nothing short of a food revolution. As the discussion document states, the ready availability of what constitutes good food requires that all sections of

“Scottish life – from schools to hospitals, retailers, restaurants and food manufacturers”

commit to serving it.

On that point, social justice and food justice in this country require that food producers get paid a fair amount of money for what they produce, as well as it being affordable for the people who buy it. The problem is that the supermarkets always ensure that they get their profits first. We must ensure that the grocery adjudicator that has been mentioned is effective and that we finally see some supermarkets being hauled up.

We can see that, as times get tough, the supermarkets are losing custom at the top end. Indeed, the Lidls and Aldis of this world are making inroads into the supermarkets’ custom partly because they serve things in a fashion that people can afford. However, it does not seem to me that they have as bad an effect on producers as the supermarkets do or that, indeed, they always go for the apples that look the prettiest. The reason for the waste of food that occurs is supermarkets’ selection of what vegetables, for example, they think people will wish to buy. Folk who go to farmers markets know that they will get knobbly potatoes and carrots, and so on. We have to get away from the emphasis on the look of produce and be more concerned about how it tastes.

For children’s wellbeing and reducing the prevalence of the most intractable diet-related diseases, we need an increasingly organic food industry. I would argue that, for that to thrive in Scotland, it must be based on our culinary heritage. I see the Scottish Government’s role in tackling climate change as a key driver. I see land reform and community empowerment as the means to introduce the ability for more Scots to own and control the land that supports their lives. The vision of Scandinavian levels of fairness and social justice has been debated, particularly in the independence referendum process. Such ideas can energise this nation if we apply them here.

Respect for our soils, plants and animals—the balance of nature—is what is driving arguments about returning to one-planet living. Food for the mind and body is at the heart of a sustainable country and sustainable lives, and Scots can make that a recipe for success. We should look at some of the good examples in schools. I will host a food for life partnership event for schools again next February in the Parliament. Schools from East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire previously came to the Parliament, showing us what they produce for school meals, which was an eye-opener for the cabinet secretary and many other members who were at that event. As I said, a food for life event is coming again to the Parliament.

Crofting Connections is doing a great job in the Highlands with thousands of youngsters from primary and secondary schools, who learn how to grow things and then eat them. This is for Liam McArthur’s benefit, because he probably remembers the children from Sanday who grew pigs from little piglets until they were big enough, and then the pigs were killed and the children ate them. The children were cheering when they said that at our reception in the main hall in the Parliament. I think that that gives us a sense of how people are connected. It was a superb moment because everybody burst out laughing. It underlines the fact that people are reconnecting with the growing of food and eating it.

On exports, we should be very careful about whisky. At the moment, there is a contraction in markets for whisky, which is our largest food and drink export. The whisky markets in China, Singapore, the United States, Brazil and Mexico have been reducing. Some of us remember when distilleries were being closed in the 1980s, but we are not seeing anything like that. I am not being a scaremonger, but some of the expansion projects by multinational companies such as Diageo are being put on hold. The expansion of whisky exports is therefore not necessarily the best basis for the kind of policy that we are talking about.

Social justice is about making sure that our food policy fits what we need. As I said at the SNP conference last week, it is not just about the fare that is served in the excellent restaurants in Perth or Paris; it is about what is served on every dinner plate from Durness to Dumfries so that every Scot every day can live a healthier, fairer and greener life.

15:49  

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener (Rob Gibson)

Good morning, everybody, and welcome to 29th meeting this year of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. Before we start, I remind everyone to switch off all mobile phones and so on. Members may be using tablets for the meeting—but not for playing sudoku.

We have received apologies from Graeme Dey, for whom we welcome Roderick Campbell as substitute.

Agenda item 1 is to decide whether to take in private item 6, which is consideration of our work on Scotland’s climate change targets. Are we agreed?

Members indicated agreement.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

Under agenda item 2, the committee will take evidence from the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on a draft order that has been laid under the affirmative procedure, which means that Parliament must approve the instrument before its provisions may come into force. Following this evidence session, under agenda item 3 the committee will be invited to consider the motion to approve the draft order.

I welcome the minister, Paul Wheelhouse, along with Jeff Gibbons, who is policy manager for salmon and recreational fisheries, and Johanna Irvine, who is a principal legal officer at the Scottish Government. Good morning to you.

I invite the minister to make an initial statement.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

Thank you very much, minister.

I will start with a geographical question. How much of the Tweed basin is in Scotland, roughly speaking, in terms of the catching of salmon, overall.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

As well?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

I was thinking about the tributaries that flow into the Tweed from England and the length of the Tweed that has England and Scotland on either side of its flow.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

It is very important that we get positive signals from London that the UK Government will be doing something similar. I believe that most of the Tweed is in Scotland as far as the catching of salmon is concerned.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

That is fine.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

I am sure that, because there are fewer salmon in England, the tagging process is easier there. My point is that we are keen that best practice be followed.

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—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
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
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
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 Rob Gibson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11647: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11420: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11102: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11098: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10992: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10946: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10913: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10912: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10805: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10310: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Rob Gibson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22433: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00764: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03361: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03302: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03281: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03212: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20968: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20965: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20966: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20967: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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