Margo MacDonald: Has the member given any thought to the fact that there are perhaps too many degrees on offer and that too many people feel that they have to go to university instead of enrolling on a more suitable course elsewhere?
Margo MacDonald: Will the member take an intervention?
Margo MacDonald: Has any study found whether immigrants and temporary immigrants to this country block as much development as do the adults who are overqualified for the work that we want young people to do?
Margo MacDonald: This comment might be a bit simplistic but, given our aim to put 50 per cent of those leaving school into universities, are we not simply storing up trouble for ourselves if we do not work out a plan for what happens at the other end?
Margo MacDonald: Will the member give way?
Margo MacDonald: Are we better together?
Margo MacDonald: I will be interested to hear Duncan McNeil’s answer to my question, because he was an active trade unionist. To what extent has the trade union movement acquiesced in the growth of underemployment and part-time employment to cover the fact that we have lost so much real employment?
Margo MacDonald: I come to the debate as someone who does not know what she is going to be when she grows up. I hope that I will find out quite soon. We must not imagine that underemployment is a new thing that is attributable to either Mrs Thatcher or Tony Blair. I was first elected 40 years ago in Govan, and Govan was de-industrialising then. That was the big problem. Much of the problem was that people...
Margo MacDonald: Rhoda Grant referred to affordable childcare and affordable housing, but what we really mean by “affordable” is the cheapest we can get. How do we get round the fact that having affordable childcare for some people who want to work or train means that other folk have to work for poverty wages?
Margo MacDonald: I wonder whether the member agrees that there might be a connection between the complexities and difficulties of underemployment, unemployment and poor-quality employment and the fact that the British economy is slipping down on every single measure of economic performance that I can think of.
Margo MacDonald: I thank the cabinet secretary for giving way, particularly when he was in full flow. I welcome the cabinet secretary’s remark about stakeholders, because folk who have chronic pain know that they have it, but many doctors who treat them do not know what like it is or how to treat it. Patients learn how to cope with pain, and I suggest that some medical staff should do a course of...
Margo MacDonald: Is there an agreed standard for the severity of chronic pain among the health boards? Is it staged and so on? How do the health boards judge the requirement for clinical services?
Margo MacDonald: He never told me.
Margo MacDonald: I appreciate that the member wants to make headway, but I note that two or three members have already referred to going to Bath as if it were like going to Mars. If I need specialist treatment, I will go wherever it is provided. It is simply unrealistic to imagine that either Scotland or England can contain all the centres of excellence.
Margo MacDonald: Presiding Officer, I hope that I did not affect your nerves by leaving the chamber just before my speech—I just went out for a couple of co-proxamol. I assure members that it was not the quality of the speeches; it was just that the tablets also suffered from their postcode origin. If I earlier gave the impression of demeaning in any way the medical services in Scotland, particularly here...
Margo MacDonald: Thank you, Presiding Officer. I hope that you are feeling well. I wonder whether the First Minister has had a chance to look at the Official Report of the debate that we had on Tuesday. In that debate, people whom he has classified as offenders were split into two camps: those who had electronic tags and could vote in an election; and those who had received a custodial sentence for the same...
Margo MacDonald: I say with all due respect that the minister has set out an absolutist, fundamentalist position. I cannot see how the Government can move from it, so I wonder why we are bothering to debate it.
Margo MacDonald: It takes one to know one.
Margo MacDonald: Will the minister give way?
Margo MacDonald: I was being sooky, Presiding Officer. Why was it felt that such a provision would be defeated in court?