Margo MacDonald: I thank Dennis Canavan in absentia, because he ensured that we would celebrate St Andrew’s day in Scotland. He did it against the odds, so I am sure that he will be celebrating, probably with Irn Bru. Although I appreciate the range of activities—when we heard from Fiona McLeod about the book week, I was even more impressed—the idea of a big competition is still on. Somebody should...
Margo MacDonald: I do not find it repugnant. I find it awful sad that, because of the politics that we have in the Parliament just now, Annabel Goldie feels that she has to be British on the day for celebrating Scottishness. After that expression of togetherness, I wonder whether I might offer just a little bit of constructive criticism. We are in danger of becoming very divided. We are not having a civil...
Margo MacDonald: We should not allow the member’s analogy with the West Indies to be forgotten. Britain and the British isles that we will have after a successful yes vote in the referendum will be very much like the West Indies. We call the islands the West Indies, but the people there know the difference between Jamaicans, Barbadians, Antiguans and so on. Relationships in the British isles—as I am sure...
Margo MacDonald: Does Stewart Stevenson feel any further away, distant and separate from his family members just because they are in different states from him? In my experience of having a daughter working in Ireland and a sister working in England, I was just as close to both of them.
Margo MacDonald: I could not agree with the cabinet secretary more. It is wonderful that Jamie McGrigor made that suggestion, because we can call it a “McGrigor supper”—[Laughter.]
Margo MacDonald: Will the member give way?
Margo MacDonald: I am not going to apologise for anything. The member has just said that additional money is needed for teaching. I agree, but where will it come from?
Margo MacDonald: I thought that I heard just a hint of the criticism that Edinburgh gets too much. I put it to the minister that he must always remember that Edinburgh is the hook that gets tourists into Scotland, and it therefore deserves the money that is spent on it.
Margo MacDonald: With all due respect to the cabinet secretary, I think that the priorities are wrong. I do not think that too many folk will be put off doing business in Glasgow or Edinburgh because of a few minutes on the journey between the two. It might be more imaginative to try to get into the high-speed rail link going down the east coast and to get in bed with some of the English authorities that...
Margo MacDonald: That is it.
Margo MacDonald: Just before the minister moves on, what did the gentleman whom he met who organised conferences—or who knew all about them—say were the priorities for getting conferences?
Margo MacDonald: Although the bid fund is excellent and good use of it has already been made, an internal programme of explanation and information for the smaller people in rural areas is needed. I do not think that they know about it, so a wee programme is needed.
Margo MacDonald: I speak as a proud grandmother, whose eldest grandson just this week started as an apprentice in the hotel industry. He is a graduate and he is never going to get a job in teaching, so he is in the next best thing.
Margo MacDonald: In no way do I think that the Parliament should interfere with the running or management of the new police force, but I hope that we will have a chance to comment on the plans before they are put into effect, and I would like to know whether there are plans that would take care of a chief constable who—I will be delicate—does not quite work out.
Margo MacDonald: Further to that point of order, I appreciate that I may sound like a gamekeeper turned poacher, but there are other ways in which members can elicit information, accurate or otherwise. I always like to see it in black and white, so perhaps, in the case quoted by Gavin Brown, a letter would be better than coming to the chamber. The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Joe FitzPatrick) rose—
Margo MacDonald: I am glad to hear the last part of the First Minister’s answer, but I have my doubts, because the people who are working at ground level on the integration of health and social care services are under great stress. They are trying to do everything at once, and I imagine that such work might be an extra task too far, so I will be getting in touch with the health minister to get an assurance...
Margo MacDonald: I thank the minister for giving way, because she is well into her speech. I interrupt to ask about cocaine. According to a United Nations report, Scotland has the highest cocaine use in the world. We should therefore be considering cocaine as a special case just now, because there are different qualities coming on to the market, and it looks as though there will be a repeat performance of...
Margo MacDonald: I thank the member for giving way, given that his time is so tight. I caution him against assuming that everyone who takes drugs is poor, because a strand of people with a lot of money have now started taking drugs.
Margo MacDonald: Is it possible to have a national dispensing policy when a small chemist in the outer isles might dispense treatment to only a few but a bigger chemist elsewhere has much more business displacement?
Margo MacDonald: Will Graeme Pearson give way?