Results 61–80 of 692 for speaker:Mike Watson

Scottish Parliament: Scottish Solutions Inquiry (17 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: I am sorry that, even as I rise to my feet, Murdo Fraser is disappointed. Perhaps there is nothing new there. I suppose that by this stage in his political life, he should have learned to come to terms with disappointment. This has been a stimulating debate in many ways. I echo the comments that have been made by many of my colleagues about the support that we had in putting together the...

Scottish Parliament: Scottish Solutions Inquiry (17 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: I thank Chris Ballance for that. By my reading, the Executive has acknowledged recommendation 9 and will encourage collaboration largely through the task force that was set up by the Department for Education and Skills to bring universities and businesses closer together, rather than just to bring universities together. Both those links are important. As I said, that was one of the 10...

Scottish Parliament: Scottish Solutions Inquiry (17 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: I hear what the minister says. I emphasise that joined-up government is important not just within Scotland, but within the various parts of the United Kingdom. Alasdair Morgan and Christine May talked of the need to give more emphasis to the pay of teaching and research staff, and our report stressed that point. I was pleased that the phase 3 report on the competitiveness of higher education,...

Scottish Parliament: Scottish Solutions Inquiry (17 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: That is a matter for the staff, their unions and the employers to thrash out. Our report makes it clear that modernisation is important. The time to start preparing for the introduction of top-up fees, which is only two years away, is now. The sooner that that gets under way, the better. I agree with those who talked about the need to take a strategic approach to the higher education sector...

Scottish Parliament: General Questions: Physical Education (Primary Schools) (11 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: Will the minister comment on the suggestion that we should be concerned not only with physical education, but with physical activity in schools, which can take forms other than competitive sport, such as dance and drama? Will he comment on last year's report of the physical activity task force, which stressed the need for a minimum of two hours of physical education in schools each week? I...

Scottish Parliament written answers — Justice: Justice (11 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: To ask the Scottish Executive what support and supervision it will offer to newly-released prisoners to ensure that they do not reoffend.

Scottish Parliament written answers — Roads: Roads (11 Mar 2004)

Mike Watson: To ask the Scottish Executive what financial support it provides to Glasgow City Council in relation to the maintenance of the Clyde Tunnel.

Scottish Parliament: VisitScotland (Tourist Information) (11 Feb 2004)

Mike Watson: I, too, commend Nora Radcliffe for securing this debate and for the way she introduced it. Indeed, I also commend the wording of her motion. Although she drew attention to people's concerns, she also highlighted at least one example of someone who had written about the service in glowing terms. I welcome such a balanced approach. I should first declare an interest as the minister responsible...

Scottish Parliament: VisitScotland (Tourist Information) (11 Feb 2004)

Mike Watson: I am sorry; I really do not have the time. That is a testament to visitscotland.com's initial success. Although I accept that that success is somewhat qualified, it is still relatively early days. Scottish tourism is a healthy product and the more it is marketed internationally, the healthier it will become. I also point out that people are still able to book establishments directly, which is...

Scottish Parliament written answers — Homelessness: Homelessness (5 Feb 2004)

Mike Watson: To ask the Scottish Executive how it can further reduce homelessness, particularly among drug users and vulnerable young people.

Scottish Parliament: Higher Education (Top-up Fees) (22 Jan 2004)

Mike Watson: As always, it was instructive to listen to Fiona Hyslop's opening remarks. I was astonished to hear her say that the Executive should see the higher education sector as an opportunity and not as a "burden". I hope that I have quoted her correctly. I would like to see evidence that the Executive sees the sector as a burden, bearing in mind the increases in funding that have already been...

Scottish Parliament: Higher Education (Top-up Fees) (22 Jan 2004)

Mike Watson: I will in a moment. Fiona Hyslop might want to respond to the most surprising thing, which is that the committee is chaired by her colleague Alasdair Morgan, and includes Brian Adam as a member. I sat through most of the meetings, if not all of them, and I do not remember the view being put forward that it was a secret group—we welcome the study that is being undertaken. I would welcome...

Scottish Parliament: Higher Education (Top-up Fees) (22 Jan 2004)

Mike Watson: As I understand it, the group will report next month. At the moment, we do not know the final form of the bill or even whether it will be passed by the House of Commons. The issue is an imprecise one, just as it was when the Enterprise and Culture Committee considered it. In fairness, the Executive is doing as much as it can, given the imprecise nature of the issue. That has not prevented...

Scottish Parliament written answers — Economy: Economy (22 Jan 2004)

Mike Watson: To ask the Scottish Executive what the future is for Scotland's financial sector in general and fund asset management in particular.

Scottish Parliament: European Commission (Work Programme) (15 Jan 2004)

Mike Watson: It is indeed good to see Keith Raffan back in the chamber—I am enjoying his speech. However, I am interested in his comment about the need to reunify Cyprus, which was set in the context of his hope for Turkey's early admission to the EU. Does he accept that until Turkey gets out of northern Cyprus, which it has occupied illegally since 1974, there can be no question of allowing its...

Scottish Parliament: Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (7 Jan 2004)

Mike Watson: In light of the remarks that the minister has just made, does he not agree that it is very disappointing that the committee's conclusions on snaring fail to recognise the indiscriminate nature of all snaring, which has the potential to cause extreme suffering to animals? Scotland is one of five countries in the European Union that continues to allow the practice of snaring. Why does he feel...

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2004-05: Stage 2 (17 Dec 2003)

Mike Watson: It is a pleasure to be asked to sum up in this debate. I am not a new boy or a new girl, as some members who have spoken in the debate have characterised themselves. I am a returner, in the sense that for the first two and a half years of this Parliament I was in the position that Des McNulty is in now. I admit that Rab McNeil was much kinder to me than he has been to Des McNulty. That was...

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2004-05: Stage 2 (17 Dec 2003)

Mike Watson: I am the last person to talk Scotland down—I never do it, under any circumstances—but the situation is there for everyone to see. Whether or not North sea oil revenues are added in, we are still in a deficit position relative to other parts of the UK. That is a fact.

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2004-05: Stage 2 (17 Dec 2003)

Mike Watson: That question could lead us into a debate about what should happen to the Royal Scots Regiment and where army expenditure goes. All that money is not necessarily spent in Scotland, although it funds a lot of activity that the SNP would no doubt want to be taken out of the country. Indeed, some of us understand why that should happen. However, the point is that the GERS figures contain...

Scottish Parliament: World AIDS Day 2003 (27 Nov 2003)

Mike Watson: I, too, am pleased that Des McNulty has secured the debate, four days in advance of world AIDS day on 1 December. World AIDS day is now an established mark on the calendar and it is appropriate that we in the Parliament should recognise it. The revealing document that was published by the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organisation to coincide with world AIDS...


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