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


Well done to the Trimontium Trust in securing £395,000 to extend and develop the museum in Melrose. I have visited there on more than one occasion and indeed sponsored an exhibition here at Parliament when some of the artefacts were displayed. I think there is even a piccie of me somewhere posing (as if!) with a Roman helmet. The museum is an understated treasure but without the trust and supporters then there is no doubt this funding might have passed them by. The total cost is over the 1 million mark but this is a great start. By the way if you haven’t popped in, do so, it’s a part of Borders history well worth uncovering for yourself.

Deputy Presiding Officer Visits and meetings

As part of the job I frequently welcome foreign dignitaries to the Scottish Parliament. This week for example the first was the Ambassador from Tajikistan. We discussed similarities between our parliament and theirs but also the issues facing his nation. It is landlocked and is bordered by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. You can immediately see how different its foreign policy priorities are to ours. Problems with Brexit pale into insignificance by comparison. Now pursuing 100 per cent domestic energy provision (through hydro power, remember that?) it is also suffering from global warming affecting the snow melt on its mountains. I met too this week the High Commissioner for Namibia, a country which hasn’t had rain for three years, again attributable they believe to global warming. Animals such as giraffe and elephants are being exported because it's export or they will die from lack of vegetation. Think how fortunate we are in Scotland with sufficient energy and drinking water.

Oversea visits

During recess, I also visited the Parliaments of Flanders and the Brussels Chamber of Representatives. Apart from the fact that Brussels in autumn sunshine (it was 14 degrees, more Global warming?) was just smashing, the two parliaments were very interested in Scotland and our Parliament. And in all these meetings, Tajikistan, Namibia and Flanders, Brexit raised its ugly head. No-one can understand why we want to leave-at least everyone who spoke to me, formally or just in passing in the hotel lift or on the train. Which brings me to Brexmas.


A whole new word I never thought we would have to contemplate. Well we are where we are. Westminster like a wee dug has been chasing its Brexit tail for three years. Fortunately we didn’t depend on it for our domestic policies and legislation though the impact on our health service is already happening. One consultant radiologist speaking at an event I chaired (again as DPO) confirmed that she has lost staff at all levels in her radiology department, who have either already returned home to Europe or are simply not applying for placements. It’s just the start, whatever happens on December 12. Ah well you might see me at your door as campaigning kicks in and my apologies in advance, even if I am sporting Xmas earrings.