Archive for November, 2007


We should be a country that is at peace with itself and at peace with the world. I have always felt that one of the best ways of judging society is how well it looks after children and older people. There are many societies from the forests of Brazil to the advanced economies of northern Europe that do things that we should aspire to. Children have a right to love, health and protection from birth and we could do a lot more for many children in Scotland in their early years.  It should not be possible for anybody on retirement to find that they have been robbed of their pension. The basic pension should provide a decent basic income. In fact I would like our pension, child support and entire benefits system to be redesigned to provide a basic income for all.  We need to recognise that our mental and spiritual health is just as important as physical health. To achieve this we need a huge investment in the arts, theatre, music and in reconciling people with their natural environment.

We should look at the yin and yang of investment. 70% at least of offenders are between 15 and 25, so put more money into youth clubs and sport, not more police officers and ASBOs. .  Educating offenders and giving them self respect and opportunities is better than locking them up in prisons, invest more in the former and you wont need the latter. We waste up to 80% of the energy we use so put 80% of new investment into insulation and energy saving.

One size does not fit all. At least a quarter of our children leave secondary school having not enjoyed it very much. Education should offer experiences and the opportunity for children to develop all of their potential not just those skills that can be expressed through writing examinations.

My vision for Scotland is a country where everyone has a sense of place and those places are well designed, environmentally sustainable, secure, in a community that loves cares for and respects every single member from birth to death.


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Robin Harper Hosts Unique Parliamentary Event

10 Questions, 10 Answers, 10 Minutes 

On Friday 2nd November, Green Lothians MSP Robin Harper will host “Why Democracy”, in the Scottish Parliament, for the Scottish Documentary Institute, with the BBC and the University of Edinburgh.

Why Democracy? explores the meaning and universal values of democracy in different societies and cultures. Launched in October 2007, with ten one-hour films focused on contemporary democracy broadcast in the world’s largest ever factual media event, more than 40 broadcasters on all continents are participating, with an estimated audience of 300 million viewers.

The Scottish Parliament is the only parliament actively involved in the initiative. Robin Harper is hosting a film about what democracy means, and a debate that will bring public debate on democracy to the heart of parliament. Robin Harper said “I am delighted to be hosting this exciting event in the Parliament. Examining what democracy means is essential if we are to engage with the big issues in Scottish society and beyond. Ten speakers will be addressing big questions in only one minute, including ‘Who rules the world?’ and ‘Is democracy good for everyone?’ I will be speaking for one minute addressing ‘Can politicians solve climate change?’ I am looking forward to a lively debate.’

The film to be screened is “Please Vote for Me” is a revealing political tale about a class of third graders in China electing a class monitor. The film follows the children as they develop their strategies to win the election and much of the behaviour we know from our own democratic process is mirrored by the pupils.

This will be followed by ten speakers, speaking for one minute each on one of ten themes raised by the Why Democracy? Project. The speakers are drawn from across Scottish society, from academics to emcees.

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