St Andrew’s Day

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th November 2012.

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Photo of Hanzala Malik Hanzala Malik Labour

I welcome the opportunity to take part in today’s debate on Scotland’s national day, the St Andrew’s public holiday. The St Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007 was first supported by the Scottish Labour Party under Jack McConnell MSP’s Administration, following a member’s bill by Dennis Canavan.

St Andrew’s day is Scotland’s national day. The Labour amendment reflects that the St Andrew’s flag belongs to all Scots,

“regardless of origin, current residence and political beliefs”.

That is an important point to take on board.

The amendment also notes that St Andrew’s day marks the start of Scotland’s winter festival season, which ends on Burns Night and includes the Christmas, Hogmanay and New Year celebrations” and other cultural festivals that take place at this time of year. At a time of economic downturn, festivals are particularly important as an opportunity to attract more tourists to Scotland and promote Scottish products. Some members have touched on that. I welcome that.

Let me show members another side of St Andrew’s day celebrations. In Nuremberg, there is a Burns supper every year. It is so successful that anyone who gets a place at that Burns supper is considered lucky. As some members have already done, I suggest that the cabinet secretary pursues that type of activity around the world, not only in the USA but in all the countries with which we have twinning agreements, all the countries with which we engage and all the countries that are friendly with Scottish culture. Such links are important.

There has been some talk that we in Scotland seem to have fallen behind in our overseas activity. We cannot engage with people around the world unless we are willing to get up and do it.