Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Youth Charities Call On The Smith Commission To Consider Votes At 16

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Scotland will be viewed as a world leader by fully engaging and empowering its 16 and 17 year olds as fully franchised citizens active in the political life of the country.

The past few months have clearly marked a new era of democratic engagement. The Independence Referendum engaged young people in the political landscape in an unprecedented way. Over 100,000 16 and 17 years olds registered to vote.

Evidence shows they were amongst the most informed, engaged and questioning voters, carrying out their own own research and using multiple sources in order to come to their own personal decision. Many young individuals dedicated countless hours to campaign for both sides. On September 18th 2014, queues of young people entered polling stations for the first time in order to have their say on Scotland’s future, valuing that responsibility and casting their vote.

We, as an alliance of Scottish Youth Charities, representing 1.1 million young people, are united in our belief that we cannot let young people down and must continue to fully engage them in the democratic process. We as a country need to capture this emergent enthusiasm for the democratic process. We need to stimulate their ongoing involvement and we need to value their contribution.

We are therefore calling on Lord Smith to recommend a mechanism for the franchise for all future elections in Scotland to be extended to 16 and 17 year olds.

The Smith Commission should build in enfranchisement of our young people as a key principle and a core value in a fully engaged and effective devolved administration.

This ground-breaking enfranchisement of young people will ensure their voices are heard now and for generations to come.

We, as national third sector organisations working with young people in communities across Scotland, stand ready to support them.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive, Young Scot, said: “Young people have put to bed the myth that they are not interested in being involved in the democratic process. The huge level of engagement in the Independence Referendum vindicates all those who have campaigned for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds. The truth about Scotland’s young people is that they are switched on, engaged and passionate about the difference they can make to their local communities and to tackling local and national issues.

We know that young people are doing amazing things to make their local communities a better place to grow up every single day. We look forward to continuing to work with them to support them to become active local, national and global citizens, whose contributions are valued and acted upon, and where young people – as shown throughout the debate – are leading the future of Scotland right now.”

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “The referendum has proved young people take the right to vote seriously. Over 80 per cent of young people registered to vote, and we have earned an extension of the voting age to all elections.

“I urge Lord Smith, the Prime Minister and the UK Government to look to our experience in Scotland when considering a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The ability to lower the voting age to 16 for all Scottish elections should be part of this settlement.”


Thoughts from Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament ahead of SYP55

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

SYP55 in Perth

With only a few days left to go until the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 55th National Sitting, MSYPs from across Scotland are making last minute preparations for what is set to be a great weekend in Perth and Kinross.

Since the last National Sitting in July 2014, a lot has happened. The Care.Fair.Share. campaign has been progressing with great success thanks to the dedicated efforts of MSYPs.

Also, MSYPs have recently seen fantastic achievements as a result of all the hard work and commitment to encourage young people all over Scotland to vote in the referendum. Young people registered in their masses, and turned out on the 18th September to have their say, proving that young people take their right to vote seriously, and undoubtedly deserve the right to vote in all elections.

Young people truly are at the forefront of shaping the future of our society.

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, has shared her thoughts in a video message ahead of SYP55. You can watch what Louise has to say here.


Youth organisations launch dedicated young voter week

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

RSV  logoScottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Youth organisations launch dedicated young voter week

A group of organisations who work with young people in Scotland has launched a week of action devoted to encouraging young people to register to vote for the referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. Every day throughout the week will be dedicated to ensuring Scotland’s young people are empowered and ready to have their say.

The group, convened by the Scottish Youth Parliament in January 2014, includes a range of organisations which have adopted a neutral stance on the referendum, across the voluntary, youth work and educational sectors, as well as both campaigns and the Electoral Commission. The aim of the group was to consider ways to encourage collaboration and joint working in relation to young voter engagement and registration in advance of the referendum.

Ready, Steady, Vote Week, a product of the group, is a dedicated week, primarily co-ordinated through online, digital media and social media, to raise awareness about the importance of voting with young people.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Ready, Steady, Vote Week on Saturday, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“I feel that it is very important that young people use their right to vote. It is important that we have our say about issues that affect us as young people, especially in such a major decision like the future of our country. The point of Ready, Steady, Vote Week is to raise awareness of the importance of voting with young people, and to point them to sources of impartial information about voter registration and other issues so as they can make an informed decision for themselves.”

Also speaking ahead of the launch, Gordon Maloney, President of the National Union of Students in Scotland said:

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen amazing work from students’ associations across Scotland in helping facilitate discussion and debate among their members over how education, housing and other issues will be effected by the outcome of the referendum vote.

“Ready, Steady, Vote week will mark the beginning of a final push to get students and young people registered to vote in Scotland. With two weeks to go before the September 2 registration deadline, it’s more important than ever that we ensure that students and young people are able to take part in the most important decision faced by Scotland in the past 300 years.

“By asking students and young people to encourage their friends to register,  NUS Scotland, SYP and other participating organisations in Ready, Steady, Vote Week will help allow all sides of the debate, and Scotland as a whole, to know the impact of students and young people in determining Scotland’s future.”

Vice Chair Update July 2014 – Terri Smith MSYP

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Terri Smith MSYPHello fellow MSYPs, I’m excited to be sending out my very first Vice Chair update. I would just like to start off by saying a massive thank you for allowing me to stand and address you all in my candidacy speech, and of course for electing me as your Vice Chair- it’s going to be a fantastic year ahead.

Since SYP54 in Shetland, I’ve been gradually getting used to my new role and learning something new every day. On Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd July, your new Board Members met together for the very first time to take part in Board training. It was a fantastic two days of learning more about SYP and the roles of the wonderful staff team, as well as a fantastic opportunity to bond together as a group and discuss the key things we would like to achieve this year. As Trustees, we were all assigned with our portfolios for the year, which are as follows:

  • Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair – No specific portfolio – overall responsibility for organisation.
  • Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair – Responsible for UK & International work and joint responsibility for communications in addition to other duties.
  • David McLaughlin MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Public Affairs and the Procedures Group.
  • Rachael McCully MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Youth Engagement.
  • Sian Hughes MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Local Authorities & Voluntary Organisations.
  • David Stewart MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Projects.

While July has been a busy month, it has also been was used to recover from Shetland and settle into our new roles. I hope this time next month there will be even more exciting news around what I’ve been doing as Vice Chair.

Locally

Locally, I have started to collate the data from my local consultation on, “if you had one wish for the local area what would it be?” This was exciting as it allowed me to initiate discussion with so many young people about what matters to them the most. I also ran ten different engagement sessions locally and finally hit my personal target of registering over 100 young people to vote.

July was a fantastic month for me locally and young people were really at the forefront of the work I’ve been taking on. Therefore, I would like to take a moment to thank all of my constituents for their continued support.

Terri’s Corner

I’d like to introduce this section with my personal favourite inspirational quote – “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Remember to laugh…

Thank you for all the jokes which have been submitted to me. There were some real ‘belters’, but I have chosen the ones that made me laugh the most. Thumbs up to the following MSYPs and I hope they make you laugh like me.

  • Mason Rowan MSYP – A man walks into a bar with a roll of tarmac under his arm. “Pint please”, he asks, “And one for the road.”
  • Chris Smith MSYP – “What do you call a dead parrot?” – Polygone
  • Grant Macleod MSYP – “Two TV aerials met on the roof and fell in love. The wedding was terrible, but the reception was great.”
  • Jordan Linden MSYP – “Why are seagulls called seagulls? Because if they landed on the bay, they’d be bagels?”

Shoutouts

Once again, there has been some incredible work going on over the last month and I would like to give a quick mention to the following MSYPs for their efforts:

  • Louise Cameron MSYP –  not only was Louise elected as our Chair but she made the entire organisation feel incredibly proud when she sang at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
  • Jamie MacLeod MSYP and Martyna Napierskaa MSYP both attended the UKYP Sitting in Lancaster representing the young people of Scotland.
  • Nairn McDonald MSYP was successfully elected as the Conveners’ Representative on the Board.
  • Struan King MSYP and Robbie Nicoll MSYP presented a successful Members Motion on PSHE at SYP54.
  • Nicola Bruley MSYP presented a successful Members Motion on banning smoking in cars with children at SYP54.

Those are just some of the incredible things MSYPs have been up to over the last month.

Keep up the fantastic work

I would finally just like to say a massive well done to all the MSYPs who have volunteered at Glasgow 2014, well done to all the new Conveners and Deputy Conveners, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and anyone who has volunteered their time and effort in the last month.

That’s all from me for the lovely month of July. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer holidays and as always, any questions, queries or comments, feel free to get in contact with me.

Terri Smith MSYP

Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

 

Care.Fair.Share. – Kirsty McCahill MSYP

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Kirsty McCahill MSYPIn January 2014, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched the Care.Fair.Share. campaign – a campaign which aims to make life fairer for young carers. Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) have been campaigning across the country to raise awareness of the campaign and make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s dedicated young people who sacrifice their own time to help the lives of others.

John Scott MSP supportIn my constituency, I have been campaigning alongside Kate Fleming MSYP and Mason Rowan MSYP. We collectively met with South Ayrshire’s Young Adult Carers to inform them of the campaign and find out more about their everyday lives. They highlighted some of the problems and struggles that they face day-to-day which gave us an understanding of just how hard the life of a young carer can be. This also allowed us to find out what personally affects young adult carers in our area and we can now work to improve these issues.

I sent out emails to our local MSPs seeking their support and requesting to meet with them to discuss the campaign further. I received in reply kind words of support from many and was able to arrange a meeting with John Scott MSP and Chic Brodie MSP. Kate, Mason, and I met with them and spoke of the aims of the campaign, along with the issues that were highlighted to us by South Ayrshire’s Young Adult Carers, and afterwards, they showed their support by signing the Care.Fair.Share pledgeboard.

As for the future, we plan to hold a Care.Fair.Share. event to promote the campaign and share our efforts andChic Brodie MSP Support 2 successes so far. We also hope to meet with the younger carers of South Ayrshire, once they begin to meet again after the summer, to talk about the campaign, find out about their everyday problems and discuss how we can make things better, easier, and fairer for them.

As the campaign states, care doesn’t have to mean compromise, and I’m incredibly proud that as an organisation, we are making this a reality. Young carers are an integral and valuable part of our society and we are doing all we can to make sure they do not suffer due to financial stress and government policy. It is unjust that these hardworking and selfless young people face such challenges simply because they devote their time to caring for others. It is also essential that pursuing further education and engaging in social activities is made more manageable for young carers as this is a fundamental part of a young person’s life. Everyone deserves an equal chance.

So it’s time for change. To make things better. To make things fairer. Together, we can make a difference.

-Kirsty McCahill MSYP 

A Month in the Life of an MSYP – Jordan Linden MSYP

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The life of an MSYP can be very busy at times and I’m delighted to share a snapshot of the work that an MSYP can get involved in.

The past four weeks have been particularly busy with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games beginning and a range of other events taking place throughout the month.

Last month, I took part in the Cross Party Group on Volunteering. This was a great opportunity to participate in a discussion about volunteering and what volunteering opportunities there are for people, in particular, young people across Scotland. Convener Margaret McDougall MSP and Deputy Convener Annabelle Ewing MSP, along with the CPG, were delighted to hear an MSYP’s perspective on volunteering and the benefit that these opportunities carry for young people.

JL YouthCab eventOn June 20th 2014, I joined with fellow MSYPs, Young Scot Representatives, and young people from across the country, at a Scottish Government Youth Cabinet event. The First Minister and his Cabinet Secretaries met with young people to hold intimate discussion groups on issues relating to the independence referendum. This was a fantastic opportunity to engage directly with the key decision makers in Scotland, and access the opportunity to ask the questions that young people across Scotland want to the know the answers too.

At a local level, earlier this month, I was delighted to be invited along as the inspirational speaker at the North Lanarkshire Council Saltire Awards Evening. I joined with young volunteers from across the local area to share my volunteering story and to inspire others to keep doing what they are doing. These young people really inspired me – they give up hours of their life to contribute to our communities. Some volunteers had given up as many as 500 hours to their communities. I was privileged to receive an honorary 700 hours Saltire Certificate for the work I’ve done. This is an example of the power that volunteering can have and an example of how great it is to be an MSYP – you can champion and inspire others to keep doing the work they do, and encourage others to start volunteering, as it could be the best thing they ever do!JL saltire award

July began with a bang as MSYPs from across the country joined together in Lerwick, Shetland, for the 54th National Sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament, kindly hosted by Shetland Islands Council. MSYPs had incredible debates, an independence hustings, held our Annual General Meeting, and spent time together. We also had a great journey to and from Shetland and had fun documenting it on Twitter with #SYP54Ferry – what an experience! Sittings are key to an MSYP’s role and it is an opportunity for everyone to get together, to debate and form policy, but also to see each other.

JL London
Last week, Thomas Mair MSYP, Thomas McEachan MSYP, Assad Khan MSYP, and I all attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs Annual General Meeting and discussion on access to low cost housing. We travelled to the meeting with the support of our partners at the British Youth Council and it was a really interesting event, allowing us to hear the perspectives of young people from across the United Kingdom.

Finally, I was privileged to visit the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village along with friends from Young Scot. Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, we met with friend of the Scottish Youth Parliament and ex-First Minister, Lord Jack McConnell, and Chieftain of the Village, athlete and gladiator, Shirley Addison, as well as representatives of Team Scotland. It was absolutely inspiring and exciting to be at the heart of Glasgow 2014.

I hope that I’ve been able to demonstrate the range of activities that MSYPs participate in and the difference that our roles can make to communities across Scotland. I believe MSYPs play a crucial role in empowering other young people to participate in local democracy and encourage them to become active citizens.

With the SYP elections in the near future, I hope that the examples I have highlighted will share just a quick glimpse at the amazing opportunities, events, and ultimately the contribution that you – as a future MSYP – could make to the lives of young people across Scotland.

Being an MSYP has changed my life, it has given me the confidence to be the person I am today and the skills to empower and inspire others to go better, think bigger, and help make a difference in your community. What a brilliant experience it has been.

- Jordan Linden MSYP

East Dunbartonshire’s Youth Summit Event – Rachel Crawford MSYP

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

It all started in February, when the Membership of East Dunbartonshire Youth Council were presented with the idea of hosting a ‘Youth Summit’. The aim was to improve political literacy with students in the area. In short, we wanted the day to be about engaging and informing our constituents about local issues, and most importantly, about the upcoming independence referendum. So, early this June – after hours and hours of planning – that’s what we did.

We invited a group of around twenty S5 and S6 pupils from each of the eight secondary schools in East Dunbartonshire, along with some locally elected members (who came to see the event unfold), for an action-packed day filled with different sessions. We held a session on the process of voting itself, and afterwards held a mock-vote using ballot boxes. We had speeches on ‘The Importance of Democracy’ from two members of a debating club from a local school who have recently won a televised debating competition. We held our own Aye Naw Mibbe sessions with groups of pupils, and afterwards discussed local issues concerning education, health, transport, and recreation with them. Then to finish off, we had a fantastic independence debate, where our constituents put forward their own questions to the panel – which consisted of two speakers from both Yes Scotland and Better Together. Empowering young people was a big theme of the day, so we found it important that each of the two campaigns included a young person as a speaker, giving the debate an honest opinion of how they felt independence would affect them as young people.

One of my favourite sessions of the day was the Aye Naw Mibbe session. All members of the Youth Council had been given training in how to run these sessions, so we divided off into groups and carried out an Aye Naw Mibbe session by ourselves. I was fortunate to have a really engaged and enthusiastic group, which made running this part of day even better. There was some fascinating debate and a lot of great ideas circulating during the part of the session where we asked the question, “If you were in power for a day, what would you change?” As well as having invited locally elected members, members of the SYP staff team were in attendance giving young people, including myself, the opportunity to register to vote. It was eye-opening to see how many young people there didn’t realise that they had to register to vote, and those who just hadn’t gotten around to it. It was an amazing feeling to know that most of the young people in attendance are now registered to vote, as it’s such a huge part of what will be their first ever opportunity to vote.

At the beginning and end of the day, we held short interactive voting sessions, where the use of voting pads allowed our constituents to tell us how informed they felt about registering to vote and how to vote. When the young people were asked at the end of the day, “Do you now feel more informed about how to vote?” an incredible 99% of them voted ‘yes’ – meaning our efforts in delivering the Aye Naw Mibbe session, along with the mock ballot, had helped the majority of them feel more confident in the process of voting. Also, when they were asked, “Do you now feel more capable of making an informed decision when voting in the referendum?” an amazing 83% voted yes – indicating that the independence debate helped answer a great deal of their questions.

I feel incredibly proud of the East Dunbartonshire Youth Council for the huge effort that we made in order to make this day a success – alongside the wonderful SYP Youth Engagement Team, who offered a great deal of support. Being part of our Youth Council and making an impact on the political involvement and interest of our constituents gives me a great deal of pride – and I’m sure other youth forums looking to do something similar would feel the same too.

Rachel Crawford MSYP

Empowering Women Through Conversation – Nicole Dempster MSYP

Friday, June 6th, 2014

‘Empowering Women Through Conversation’ is a series of community led conversations aimed at women across East Renfrewshire. The six conversations will take women on a journey through time, exploring the inequalities faced by women in the past and their participation in the democratic process, and the actions which have led to social change for women in the UK. Find out all the details here.

Speaking about the importance of such events Nicole Dempster MSYP said:

“These events aim to bring together women of all ages to inspire discussion in the lead up to the referendum. The events have been designed by a group of women who did not use their vote because they did not recognise the value of their opinion. Each session has a different theme, and has been designed to encourage conversations.

Myself and SYPeer Jessie Ling, along with the women’s library, will facilitate the education session. This is a real opportunity for women to freely chat about why they have the right to vote. We will also hear about the suffragettes and the women’s movement. It is important that all women feel valued within society so that they use their vote.

Everyone’s opinion matters and everyone should be heard. Events like these are hugely important, as they are a fantastic source of information and encourage people to use the vote that they rightly deserve.”

Are there are any exciting events coming up in your local area? Use the SYP website or the Aye Naw Mibbe hub to promote these opportunities to your peers. You can send any details to Stephanie Brown, Communications Officer, at stephanie.b@syp.org.uk.


‘Rural Scotland in Focus’ 2014 report launch – Scott Simpson MSYP

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Scott Simpson MSYP, Convener of the Transport, Environment and Rural AffairsOn Monday 2nd June 2014, I attended the Scottish Rural College’s (SRUC) ‘Rural Scotland in Focus’ 2014 report launch at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh. The Scottish Youth Parliament’s Transport, Environment and Rural Affairs Subject Committee met with Dr Jane Atterton from the SRUC at the SYP’s 53rd National Sitting in Stirling in March 2014. I was delighted to see that the session with Jane was featured in the report, in which Members highlighted the following points:

  • The sense in which rural issues are often neglected at a Scottish-wide level.
  • Issues surrounding transport as a key short-term issue. Particularly cost, timing and frequency, causing problems with accessing employment, education and other services.
  • The main long-term issue highlighted was access to affordable housing and good quality jobs to encourage young people to stay in or return to rural areas.
  • Cultural and family ties in rural areas are prominent, and are one of the leading reasons for those staying in rural areas, even on a temporary basis.
  • Members acknowledged that recent developments had helped, such as increased provision for education.

The launch event itself was a great experience for me. I spoke to several people from organizations such as Scottish Rural Action, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, and Planning Aid Scotland.

During the Q & A session, which featured authors of the report and Rob Gibson MSP, the Scottish Parliament’s Convener of Rural Affairs, Climate Change and the Environment (RACCE), who is also MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross (my constituency), I was able to ask the question “With the report highlighting the need for a new strategy/vision for rural Scotland, how would the panel recommend that young people be involved?” Mr Gibson answered the question, and highlighted the need for better careers advice for S3/S4 students, mentioning that he is a former guidance teacher.

Going forward, I feel that the best strategy for young people and rural Scotland is for more affordable housing to be made available for young people and for further provision of education in rural areas so they do not feel like the only option is to move away, enabling young people to live and work close to home.

I spoke to Dr Jane Atterton after the event, and I thanked her for coming to our Subject Committee session. Hopefully the SRUC and SYP will work more closely in future when it comes to young people in rural areas.

Debate on Scotland’s Referendum at the National Library of Scotland

Friday, May 30th, 2014

On Wednesday 4th June 2014, the Scottish Youth Parliament and the National Library of Scotland will be co-hosting a Referendum Debate.

Young people from across Scotland will join Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, to put their questions about Scotland’s constitutional future to a panel of representatives.

There are no more tickets available for this event, but if you would like to attend, please click here to be added to the waiting list.  We will contact you on a first-come-first-served basis if any tickets become available.

We will be tweeting throughout the event, so follow us at @OfficialSYP and join in the conversation at #AyeNawMibbe.

Meet The Speakers

Dr Jan Eichhorn, University of Edinburgh

Dr Jan EichhornDr Jan Eichhorn is a Chancellor’s Fellow in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh. He researches political participation and culture, with a special interest in young people’s approaches to politics.

At the moment, Dr Eichhorn is involved with two surveys relating to the Scottish independence referendum.  He is part of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey team investigating attitudes towards the constitutional future of Scotland amongst the adult population.  He also coordinates the only comprehensive and representative survey of the under-18 year olds able to vote in the referendum because of the voting age having been lowered to 16.

In addition to his university-based work, Dr Eichhorn also acts as research director of the think tank d|part which works on the intersection between research and practical engagement in the field of political participation.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Yes Scotland

PatrickHarvieMSP20110510Patrick Harvie has served as a regional MSP for Glasgow since 2003 and is Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party, and was a member of the Referendum Bill Committee. He has worked on a wide range of issues including housing, energy, climate change, equalities, transport, planning and justice. He is Convener of the Cross Party Group on Sexual Health, and has also been active on CPGs on issues including refugees and asylum seekers, food, and international development.

Before his election to Parliament, Mr Harvie was employed with the Gay Men’s Project at the sexual health agency PHACE Scotland (now known as THT Scotland) from 1997-2003, initially as a youth worker and then as Development Worker for the Lanarkshire area. Working at PHACE, Mr Harvie was involved in research, group work, resource development, fundraising and training in assertiveness, equality and discrimination issues. Mr Harvie previously worked at a recycling charity, a phone line for teenagers, and the Inland Revenue.

He is a keen cook, an occasional runner, and a fan of science fiction and long train journeys.

Liam McArthur MSP, Better Together

LiamMcArthurMSP20110510Liam McArthur MSP was elected as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Orkney in May 2007. Born in Edinburgh, he was brought up in Orkney and attended Sanday Junior Secondary and Kirkwall Grammar School.

After working at Westminster and in Brussels for a number of years, he was appointed by former Deputy First Minister and Orkney MSP, Jim Wallace, as a Special Adviser in 2002. This role involved advising Ministers across a range of policy areas, including enterprise, lifelong learning, agriculture, fisheries, environment and external affairs.

Mr McArthur is currently the Scottish Liberal Democrat member of the Education and Culture Committee, acting as party spokesman for Education and Energy. In the past, he sat on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Anne McTaggart MSP, Better Together

Anne-McTaggart20140319Anne McTaggart is a Scottish Labour MSP elected in May 2011 to represent the Glasgow region.  Prior to becoming an MSP, Anne had a diverse career history including her role as a Glasgow City Councillor for Drumchapel/Anniesland, her work as a Community Development worker and as a dance teacher.  She was also the chair of Blairdardie Primary School’s Parent Forum.

Mrs McTaggart is currently a member of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee and the Public Petitions Committee in the Scottish Parliament. She also sits on a number of Cross-Party groups (CPGs), including the CPG on Children and Young People.

Anne has lived in the Knightswood area of Glasgow for over 20 years, and still resides there with her husband and three children.  She is passionate about social justice and has a keen interest in women’s issues.

Humza Yousaf MSP, Yes Scotland

HumzaYousafMSP20110507Humza Yousaf was elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow in May 2011, aged 26.

After completing his degree in Politics at the University of Glasgow in 2007, he went to work in the Scottish Parliament as an aide to the late Bashir Ahmad MSP.

In May 2011, he was the youngest SNP MSP to be elected to Parliament. He was appointed to the Justice Committee and Public Audit Committees, and was a Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the First Minister Alex Salmond MSP.

In September 2012, he was appointed as Scotland’s first ever Minister for External Affairs and International Development, and became the youngest Minister in the Scottish Government’s history, as well as being the first ever Minister from an ethnic minority background.

His interests include tackling mental health stigma, poverty, civil liberties, issues affecting young people and international affairs. He enjoys riding his motorcycle, watching and playing football, and spending time with his family.