Happy February everyone!
SYP is now busier than ever, and as usual, nothing’s changed TV wise for me – I’m still pretty bored, and I just wish EastEnders would stop dragging out their storylines. Believe it or not, I’ve just turned 20 and not 60 (I know that’s hard to believe). So far this month, we’ve had Valentine’s Day and Pancake Day! I’ve just about finished opening all the Valentine’s Day cards and gifts I received. Only joking; I think Royal Mail must have lost them.
#SYPElex is nearly in full swing, with less than one week until voting opens across Scotland. I just want to take this opportunity to wish current MSYPs and all candidates throughout the country the very best of luck. Enjoy your time campaigning, relish the experience, and remember, if you don’t get elected, don’t give up. As my wee auld Nana would say, “What’s for you won’t go by you.”
What has your Vice Chair been up to?
February has been as busy as every other month. At the start of the month, I had the privilege of speaking at the media launch of Anne McTaggart MSP’s proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill, which took place in the Scottish Parliament. At the event, I spoke with young people who had received or were waiting to receive an organ. Their stories were remarkable, and that is why I felt so honoured to speak on behalf of Scotland’s young people at the event.
I also attended another Board meeting. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday 6th March 2015, so if you have any questions or queries in advance of this, please get in touch. Also this month, I attended and chaired the Campaign for Scottish Home Rule event in Stirling, which was facilitated by MSYPs. This was another unique experience for young people to voice their opinions on important matters. Finally, just over one week ago, I travelled to Belfast with five other MSYPs to take part in the Participation of the Isles Conference. Once again, this was a fantastic experience where young people from all over the U.K. and Ireland came together to discuss our differences and similarities. The trip involved a black cab tour of the city, during which we visited all the murals and peace walls built during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was a truly fascinating experience, and one I’ll never forget. You can hear what MSYPs had to say about the conference further into my update.
I’ve been involved in much more SYP elections activity in my local area and I’m really looking forward to the Edinburgh hustings this week. Aside from this, I visited the City Chambers, home to the Edinburgh City Councillors, to discuss our new POVERTY: See It Change It campaign. The councillors showed unanimous support for the campaign, and I will be working alongside the full council to gain cross party support for a council motion to be passed. Also, I was really pleased to be informed that after a year of lobbying the City of Edinburgh Council on Care.Fair.Share., they have passed a motion to further investigate introducing concessionary travel for young carers. This is particularly pleasing, as it looks like young carers will receive reduced travel from transport Lothian from April 2016. I’m extremely proud to have made this significant progress locally.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.
Thanks for all your submissions! Once again, I think I laughed way more than I should have, but you all have great banter.
Best Board Joke
Rachael McCully MSYP – How does NASA plan their company parties? They planet.
Best MSYP Jokes
Rhianne Carroll MSYP – My mate has a heart of a lion and a lifetime ban from Edinburgh Zoo.
Nancy Russell MSYP – What did Jay-Z call his wife before they got married? Feyoncè.
Best Procedures Group Joke
Jordan Linden MSYP – What did the green grape say to the purple grape? Oh my god, breathe!
Best Conveners Group Joke
Thomas McEachan MSYP – What do you call a laughing jar of mayonnaise? LMAYO
Once again, I’m continually impressed with all your great work. My main shoutouts this month go to:
The North Lanarkshire MSYPs – I would like to congratulate all eight North Lanarkshire MSYPs who are being presented with the Lord Provost badges this month in recognition of their hard work over the last two years.
Joshua McCormick MSYP – I would like to congratulate and wish Josh the best of luck as he is a finalist in the North Ayrshire Civic Pride Awards in the category of Young Citizen of the Year.
Louise Cameron MSYP – I would like to thank Louise for her hard work as the UKYP’s Procedures Group representative for Scotland, and I also wish all the best to Martyna Napiereska MSYP, who has taken over the role this month.
Jordan Linden MSYP – Finally, I would like to congratulate Jordan on his appointment as Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Procedures Group.
Mini Staff Interview
The staff interview this month is with Gareth Brown, which now means we’ve heard from everyone on the Public Affairs Team. Therefore, I just want to thank everyone for their efforts and contributions – you’ve all been fab. For anyone that doesn’t know, Gareth is SYP’s Public Affairs Coordinator and he has been working at SYP since August 2013.
1.) What does your job as the Public Affairs Coordinator at SYP involve?
The beauty about my role at SYP is that it involves lots of different things. On a higher level, I am responsible for managing the Public Affairs Team, and overseeing our work which includes campaigns, communications and policy. In addition, I also have specific responsibility for Policy and Research. This includes supporting the Members’ Motions mechanism and the development of SYP policy, working with the Conveners Group to develop consultation responses and written evidence, and keeping on top of policy developments from both the UK and Scottish Governments and Parliaments to try and identify opportunities for SYP to influence these developments.
In reality, we all work very closely together in the Public Affairs Team on the majority work, which is fantastic as it incorporates all our strengths and insights.
2.) What is the best thing about working for SYP?
I’m a very ambitious person, and ultimately I thrive on and enjoy success. I love working for an organisation as successful as SYP. It makes every piece of work and every day exciting as we are constantly exploring ways to raise the bar again and again. The credibility of SYP with key decision makers comes from the work of MSYPs, and I really enjoy seeing when the hard work of MSYPs pays off through campaign successes or successful media interviews.
3.) What is your favourite musical?
This one is easy! Without a doubt, it has to be Phantom of the Opera. It is a beautifully written piece of music. I can’t describe the feeling I get when I see it, or listen to the music. Totally overwhelming. It’s now in it’s 27th consecutive year on the West End in London, so it must be doing something right!
4.) If you could invite any three people in the world to dinner, who would they be and why?
Ok, so this one is harder. So many amazing historical, fictional and sporting figures to choose from.
I think one would certainly be Sherlock Holmes. I absolutely love everything about Sherlock Holmes: the books, the short stories, the films, the series. Everything. I guess there is something cool about a hero who uses his supreme intellect to save the day! Also, the new BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch is outstanding! A secret dream of mine is to record an Audiobook of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Maybe some day.
I think another would have to be Alan Turing. Alan Turing was a mathematician who was responsible for designing the machine that broke the Nazi “Enigma code” during World War II. For those of you who enjoy your World War history, this was a defining moment in war that would shift the momentum to the Allies. He also invented what we now know as the modern “computer”. He was charged and convicted for being gay, which was a criminal offense back then, and subsequently committed suicide because of the severe chemical adjustment medication he was forced to take as his penalty.
Finally, I think it would have to be Placido Domingo. Domingo was one of the “Three Tenors” along with Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti. In my mind, he is the greatest operatic singer to have ever lived. Combined with this, he is a wonderful actor. It’s rare that someone is outstanding in both disciplines. At the age of 74, he is still performing in operas around the world, and still attends Real Madrid games. He is an inspiration for any musician.
I asked the MSYPs who attended the conference in Belfast what they thought of the experience and wanted to share it all with you:
Thomas Mair MSYP – “Once again, the Scottish Youth Parliament has been involved in another unique and truly multicultural experience. SYP has proven that our youth participation level is second to none – I am extremely proud to be an MSYP.”
Martyna Napiereska MSYP – “I believe this conference has transformed my idea of Northern Ireland and our communication. Without a doubt, I would do it again and I hope one day Scotland can host its own Participation of the Isles Conference.”
Nicole Dempster MSYP – “This weekend, I have had an amazing time meeting young people from across the five nations. It has been so interesting to find out all about the political system in Northern Ireland and enhance my understanding of the Troubles.”
Eilidh Collins MSYP – “This weekend has been incredible for engaging with young people from all over the U.K. and Ireland. I have learned so much, and I am enthused to work towards more cohesion between the five nations.”
The Procedures Group is running a consultation on Subject Committees and you can take part here
Also, don’t forget, SYP launched its survey on child and youth poverty in Scotland, which aims to collate research on what young people think about poverty. Please make sure you take part and encourage other young people to share their views.
You can also get involved in the next Vice Chair update here.
Again, I wish all #SYPElex candidates the best of luck! Don’t forget to follow the action on Twitter using the hashtag. Enjoy the rest of the month, and I’m sure the postman will bring those forgotten Valentine’s Day cards soon, ha! In the meantime, any questions, queries, or of course banter, get in touch!
Terri Smith MSYP
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament