Stuart McMillan MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 29 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

I welcome those comments from the cabinet secretary. I also welcome the Scottish Government’s action in securing a buyer for Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow. Does the cabinet secretary agree that closure of the yard would have resulted in the loss of valuable jobs and skills in the west of Scotland, and in particular the Inverclyde area?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

I am delighted to be speaking in the debate. The Smith commission has an opportunity to help to bring forward proposals for real substantial powers for this Parliament. It has the opportunity to take this Parliament and the people of Scotland forward by plugging some of the gaps and the democratic deficit that currently exist. I believe that it will do that; I believe that it will produce a report that contributes to that. I am sure that every party on the commission will fight its own corner and put its own case but, at the same time, will compromise to allow a report of substance to be produced.

However, there are limits to what the Smith commission can achieve. First, given the short time frame—which was not of the making of those on the SNP benches—can it take full cognisance of civic Scotland and the wider population? Secondly, where is the guarantee that the report from the commission will be implemented in full and will be unamended at Westminster?

I believe that the Smith commission must look at two key issues. The first is what powers can be devolved to Scotland to bring about real social change to help us to create a stronger economy, with more jobs, while protecting public services; and the second is how to tackle inequality within our country. To do either of those two things, the commission must build on the active engagement of the people of Scotland that we witnessed throughout the referendum campaign.

As democrats, we should all be proud of the unprecedented levels of voter registration, engagement and participation in the referendum. The result did not go the way that I wanted it to, but that does not mean to say that I do not recognise positives from the process. We cannot let that level of political engagement simply dissipate and disappear. We all have a duty to do what we can to encourage everyone to retain their interest and participation in the political process.

It is clear that the electorate voted for change. Politicians from both sides of the debate have acknowledged that point and, indeed, promises made before the referendum indicated that the status quo was no longer viable. In his pre-referendum speech in Aberdeen, the Prime Minister stated:

“‘Business as usual’ is not on the ballot paper ... The status quo is gone. This campaign has swept it away. There is no going back to the way things were.”

We also know from various surveys that the majority of voters want change. They do not want to go back to the old business-as-usual style of politics. They, and we, need real change that impacts on the everyday lives of voters, their families and the communities throughout Scotland. The vast majority of the Scottish people now expect and demand that more powers come to the Scottish Parliament. That is what the majority of the no campaign offered and that is what is anticipated.

The Sunday Herald published a survey that indicated overwhelming support for new powers—from all taxation to welfare and benefits; from devo max to broadcasting. The simple fact is that the people of Scotland are now more politically aware and active than ever before and it is time to deliver for them. The Electoral Reform Society Scotland also highlights that point. It stresses that

“there is a vital component missing in the process designed for the Smith commission which fails to reflect the levels of engagement we saw during the referendum campaign. That component is the Scottish people.”

The commission should consider each and every avenue to find a way to maintain the level of public participation that we saw in the referendum.

The deadline for public comments to the commission is this Friday. I am sure that colleagues across the chamber have already been doing what they can to encourage people to make submissions, but the commission should do everything in its power to engage with the public and civic society. The Electoral Reform Society Scotland makes a valid point that the public should be more closely involved. Its suggestion of a citizen-led process to test the outcome of the Smith commission discussions should be considered.

If the Smith commission is to do its job properly, it must take on board the promises made to the Scottish people by the no campaign. It must ensure that those promises of effective home rule, devo max or federalism are the end product. The new powers that we get need to help us to create new jobs, protect our public services and tackle inequality throughout Scotland. The main political parties have already stated their positions, but we must also take into account the views of the Scottish public.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Stuart McMillan

I am suggesting that we listen to the public, because that is important in a democratic process. We need to talk to the public and, if Mr McNeil does not want to do that, that is a matter for him.

We need to ensure that we have not only responsibility for a range of powers but the resources to ensure that we can make a positive change. We need to ensure that we control as many of the levers as possible.

On 8 October, during the debate on Scotland’s future, I asked Gavin Brown if he could guarantee that what the Smith commission produces will be enacted in full by Westminster. He could not provide that guarantee and that is the point. Power lies at Westminster and the timetable offered by the UK Government means that the bulk of the parliamentary scrutiny will take place after the Westminster elections next year. Who knows who will be in power at that point and what dynamic there will be in the political process?

A strong report from the Smith commission will give us the chance to have something meaningful for this Parliament and the people of Scotland. A strong report that reflects the promises that were made during the referendum campaign will maintain the pressure on Westminster. I believe that we will get that report but I am less convinced that the Westminster elite will not water it down as it goes through the parliamentary process at Westminster.

16:19  

Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

Should there be a national asset register? Would that be useful?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan

If a public body has a plethora of buildings and land but is not fully aware that it owns those assets, how can a small community or community organisation, particularly in a largely rural area such as Dumfries and Galloway, be aware of the assets?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan

It was worth a try.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan

That is helpful, because it takes me to my next question. Section 48 will insert new section 97F, “Register of Community Interests in Abandoned or Neglected Land”, into the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Do you have a clear understanding of what constitutes abandoned land?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan

I am keen to hear Mr Brown’s comments on the issue of abandonment.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan

Another question about the bill concerns the right to buy, which also touches on the issue of allotments. Should there be a closer tie between the right to buy and allotments? Should there be a preferential system to benefit a group in the community that wants to take on a piece of land to establish allotments?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 27 October 2014 : Monday, October 27, 2014
Stuart McMillan

Good afternoon. The bill requires public bodies to consider how requests are

“likely to promote or improve—

(i) economic development,

(ii) regeneration,

(iii) public health,

(iv) social wellbeing, or

(v) environmental wellbeing”

However, it does not say how those decisions should be prioritised or balanced. How would your individual organisations approach that aspect?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Stuart McMillan
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11232: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11231: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11058: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10998: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10899.1: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10825: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10671: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10648: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10273: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10149: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Stuart McMillan
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03641: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03598: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03502: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02210: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21729: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03351: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03299: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20483: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03108: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00642: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/03/2014 Show Full Question >>