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 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)

In the light of the unfortunate administration of Pelamis, can the minister tell me whether the United Kingdom Government has made clear its policy of support for wave power projects in Scottish waters, given that such a developing technology, which is of huge importance for climate change mitigation, needs secure seed money and steady Government support?



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  

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?



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

There are no other points on that introduction to what seems like a complicated set of arrangements. I have no doubt that we will find out more as we go along. I thank the bill team and officials for their evidence. We will be taking further evidence from stakeholders, when many of those points will be teased out with the stakeholders who you seem confident are fully supportive.

We will be moving into private session in a minute or two. At our next meeting, on Wednesday 26 November, the committee will take evidence from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment on an affirmative Scottish statutory instrument, the Scotland Act 1998 (Functions Exercisable in or as Regards Scotland) Order 2015, and then on the draft budget. The committee will also take evidence from stakeholders on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill and then consider its letter to the Scottish Government on the wildlife crime 2013 annual report.

12:38 Meeting continued in private until 13:08.  

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

I think that I follow.



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

As there are no further comments on that, we move to amendments to parts 2 and 3.



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

Okay. We will see where that goes.

Given the importance that the land reform review group placed on amending part 3 of the 2003 act, on crofting, why was there not a full consultation on that? Is the bill team satisfied that the dialogue with stakeholders has been sufficient and proportionate? Would it not have been more helpful to introduce these amendments in the forthcoming land reform bill?



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

So that would be development groups, for example.



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

We move on to the meaning of community. We need to clarify whether the amendment to section 53 to include community benefit companies will be extended to legal entities that can use the provisions on community right to buy in part 4 of the bill.



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

On the other hand, it would give the community time to register an interest to buy.

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 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 S4O-03778: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
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-20965: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 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-20966: Rob Gibson, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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