Christine Grahame is SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

Doddie Weir

In my role as a Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, every week I chair at least one member’s debate. So it was that last week I chaired a debate which was, if not automatically give people suffering from MND (Motor Neurone Disease) a disabled car badge, at least to accelerate the process. The Scottish Government has agreed to accelerate the application process. This is good news indeed and is all thanks to Doddie Weir and his relentless campaign to improve research and the general lot of MND sufferers. Some 40 years ago a colleague was diagnosed with this dreadful disease. Little was known then and treatment and support was basic. Yes it has come on leaps and bounds but still no cure so Doddie Weir’s profile which he has used to raise funds and awareness of the need for research is incredible. Speaking of profiles and incredible I had the good fortune to meet him after the debate and there is a piccie of me next to him where I think I reach up to his waistband. Best wishes to this gentle giant and his family.

Control of Dogs

Yet again I was on Parliamentary duties last week but this time I had stepped down from the chair to take part in a debate reviewing how effective my Act of Parliament (yes I have one) on Control of Dogs, had been. Well it’s not been as successful as I wished but I put much of the blame at the feet of the government. How many of you know about this law? Do you know it was passed nine years ago and puts the blame on the owner of a dog which is out of control, not dangerous, where it belongs. It was to prevent a dog becoming dangerous. It applies in private as well as public places, indeed many attacks take place in a garden or home. Anyway it was good to speak again and get the old debating juices flowing. By the way, my next legislative mission is due for launch in December and is entitled 'Responsible Dog Ownership' which aims to test prospective owners on whether they are looking for a puppy or dog at the right time and for the right reasons. It would also make it mandatory (subject perhaps to narrow exceptions) for the person to see the puppy with its mother. I hope that would deal a blow to on-line sales and the tragic trade in puppies from so-called puppy farms. I call them factories.


The Electoral Commission has voiced concern that because the voters’ roll is not up to date then almost 750,000 entitled to vote could turn up at the Polling Station and be turned away. With a General Election possibly as soon as mid-November do check that you are not one of the 750,000 unless that is your choice. It takes less than five minutes, you can do it on-line at