Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd March 2016.
I thank all the members who signed my motion to allow it to come before Parliament in what will be my final members’ business debate.
It is fitting that the debate is about fair trade. I have worked on Fairtrade fortnight, which is from 23 February to 13 March, in Parliament and in my constituency during my years in Parliament.
The tagline of this year’s Fairtrade fortnight is “Sit down for breakfast, stand up for farmers!”, which is an important message to send out across the world. “Sit down for breakfast” chimes with the Government’s belief in having a healthy lifestyle and starting the day right with a healthy breakfast. The tagline combines the idea of having a healthy breakfast with having a healthy respect for farmers around the world.
Scotland has a great reputation in fair trade. We became one of the first fair trade nations in 2013. A majority of our local authorities have now achieved fair trade status. My own local authority of East Dunbartonshire achieved it in 2007 and numerous towns and villages around Scotland have also achieved it. I have been doing a lot of travelling around the country in the past couple of months and, as I drive into a town or village, it is wonderful to see its name emblazoned with pride over its Fairtrade status symbol. In my constituency, that includes Lenzie, Bearsden and Milngavie.
What is amazing about the way in which Scotland has approached fair trade is the fact that we have done it as a community and across generations. Schools can achieve Fairtrade status. Churches were among the first organisations to get involved in the fair trade movement. In my constituency, eight schools have achieved Fairtrade status.
I think that I have said “my constituency” about three times, Presiding Officer, and I am not going to stop saying it because I have only three weeks left to do it.