The First Minister might be surprised to hear that I was present during the march that took place outside the chamber at half past 5 last Thursday. I assure him that although I did not take part, I felt that it was my duty as an elected member of Parliament to stand by to hear and see what was going on at that march. Does the First Minister agree—given this great country's history of sacrifice in opposing tyranny and oppression wherever it may occur—that it is high time that our young people were made fully aware of the sacrifice that has been made by the generations that preceded us and of the great and distinguished heritage of this country?
I announced towards the end of last year that I thought that it was important that we in Scotland acknowledge a variety of occasions in our history, including the union of the crowns in 1603. I think that it is important, not for party political reasons but for reasons of knowledge, history and understanding, that young people in this country understand all of their roots, where they come from and what our country has done—good and bad—in the past. I certainly hope that in every secondary school and primary school throughout Scotland we not only teach our young people their Scottish history as effectively as possible, but teach them about the time during which they have been part of Britain, which should constitute part of their knowledge and understanding of where they come from. That will also help to inform them of the benefits of democracy, tolerance and respect, which are part of our national character.
Does the First Minister agree that anyone who studies British history should also recognise that Britain was first in the world in economic performance in the 19 th century, but is today 19 th and falling? We should recognise that many of the countries that became independent from Britain during the intervening period have prospered and that none of the countries that have become independent from Britain want to get back in.
Mr Wilson is full of contradictions; he has just made more. He has spent his four years in the Parliament —when the
Does the First Minister agree that one of the strands that goes through British history is the quest for justice? Four years ago, patients who had been infected with hepatitis C from blood products had been waiting many years for justice; they are still waiting for it today. Will the First Minister do all that he can to put pressure on the UK Government to allow the Scottish Executive ministers and the Scottish Parliament to do exactly what we want to do, which is to give fair payments to those who have been infected with hepatitis C?