Stewart Stevenson MSP

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Stewart Stevenson MSP

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  • Member for: Banffshire and Buchan Coast
  • Region: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Stewart is a member of the following Committees:

Stewart is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Member of the Conveners Group

Search for other Speeches made by Stewart Stevenson

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

It is true.



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

I like the member’s direction of travel. Does he suggest that there is a case for aligning a series of administrative boundaries covering different services, of which the health board might be one?



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

I will close on the issue of a postcode lottery, which the committee touched on. I am in favour of variable delivery, which allows for core requirements to be met but does not require every community to do the same thing. We need strong messages that reinforce that throughout Scotland if we want people to be engaged.

15:11  

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

I think that some of the smaller communities, perhaps in the West Indies or the Indian Ocean, would be the appropriate places to go. However, as I am only a substitute member of the committee, I shall be left guarding the gates back here.

We talk about turnout going down, but the turnout among those who could vote in the 1945 general election was 70.05 per cent, and the turnout in the 1997 general election was almost identical, at 69.39 per cent. So, what motivates people to vote is perhaps something quite subtle. The high turnout that we had in the referendum might be because people felt that they could change the system, which they wanted to do, rather than simply change the faces, which they were perhaps less interested in doing.

I have some useful proposals in relation to local elections in particular, and I know that the committee has not considered them. We talked about randomising the order of people on the ballot paper. However, there is a much easier way of doing it: have circular ballot papers, which could just be turned around, with nobody being at the top and nobody being at the bottom. That would work.

When I first voted, the party designation did not appear on the ballot paper. I wonder whether, particularly in local elections, it would be helpful if people voted only for people whom they actually knew, free from any influence of party—I say that as a member of a party for 53 years.



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)

I have been a member of a political party now for 53 years and I am going to say some things that are perhaps negative about the involvement of political parties when they get close to communities. First, let me visit a little bit of history. In 1831, there were fewer than 3,000 electors in Scotland for parliamentary elections. Therefore, the connection with the wider community was all but nil. Incidentally, we tend to forget that the 1832 great reform act removed the right of female persons to vote in parliamentary elections, although it left them able to vote in council elections, subject to the property qualification. When we look at the history of this topic, we see quite a lot of interesting things.

Of course, until the Pontefract by-election, which took place on 15 August 1872, people voted by going up to the front, to the returning officer, and saying what candidate they were going to vote for. Indeed, before 1872, the way in which people voted was published. I have the electoral roll for the Blofield district, which happens to be near Norwich; it was the only one that I could readily find. It shows that in the 1871 parliamentary by-election, James Bond voted Tory but his neighbour on the electoral roll, John Bailey, voted Whig. People’s votes were all recorded. Of course, democracy worked in a substantially different way from how it worked once the 1872 Ballot Act came into operation, for the 1872 elections.

That is relatively recent history because all my grandparents were already born by the time of the Pontefract by-election, so a lot has changed in recent times. Indeed, it is as well to remember what has happened in the 20th century. When Churchill lost his seat in 1922 in the general election—at that point, he was an MP for Dundee—Dundee elected two members in a single first-past-the-post ballot, so it was actually a first and second-past-the-post ballot. Even though people had only one vote, they elected two members. When my mother first voted, she had two votes, because university graduates had a vote for a university MP as well as for their own constituency member. Indeed, the university vote was by single, transferable vote, which continued until the 1950 general election, so quite a lot has changed and continues to change.

What effect do such changes have on people’s engagement? The answer is, as far as I can make out, almost none. As regards international comparisons, the figures that I was able to conveniently find cover a period from 1960 to 1995—an arbitrary period, but it is probably useful. Top of the league is Malta, which in that period—without compulsory voting—had an average turnout of 94 per cent. Helpfully, the committee has visited some Scandinavian countries. In the period between 1960 and 1995, Denmark had 87 per cent turnout, Sweden had 86 per cent turnout and the UK had 76 per cent turnout.

In the United States, turnout in that period was lower, at 48 per cent. That is interesting because the US has a very different model of democracy. Basically, all power is held at the bottom of the heap and the states choose what powers to give back up to the top. However, that does not seem to make any difference to engagement, although instinctively I feel that I would be a little bit more comfortable with that model.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

Ireland?



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

Can the member tell us of any tax in any of those places that we cannot assert? She will not have to look very far.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

Like the member, I very much welcome the new powers for this Parliament. Does she assert that we will be more powerful than the provinces of Canada, the states of the United States, the Länder of Germany and the states of Australia?



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)

Will the member give way?



Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee 09 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Stewart Stevenson

Correct.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
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YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
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YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
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YesCarried

S4M-11763 Mary Fee: Private Sector Rent Reform—That the Parliament notes that, over the last 10 year
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YesCarried

S4M-11766.3 Shona Robison: The State of the NHS—As an amendment to motion S4M-11766 in the name of N
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Stewart Stevenson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11008: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10600: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10473: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10312: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10244: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10243: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10200: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10089: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09510: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08833: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, Date Lodged: 23/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Stewart Stevenson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03766: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03730: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03633: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03594: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03478: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03434: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03140: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03048: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02929: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/02/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02882: Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/01/2014 Show Full Question >>