Holyrood Highlights 07.02.20

Unfortunately, due to heavy cold, I have spent much of this week in bed, with precious few ‘highlights’, Holyrood or otherwise! Nevertheless, I thought it might be helpful to offer some thoughts on the events of the week, even where I didn’t manage to witness them first hand.

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31.01.20

Once again, the Orkney Sports Awards on Friday evening more than lived up to expectations as we celebrated Orkney’s many sporting successes over the last year. It was encouraging to see so many sports represented and appropriate that the contribution made by the ‘unsung heroes’ who volunteer to coach, officiate and support our athletes was also recognised.

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Holyrood Highlights 24.01.20

My week has unfortunately been dominated by the disappointing news from HIAL that they plan to press ahead with the centralisation of air traffic control (ATC) services in Inverness. On Monday, I met local air traffic control staff who will be affected by this decision and who have repeatedly raised concerns around safety, reliability and the costs attached to this decision. These concerns have been ignored by HIAL’s management, who seem determined to press ahead, despite the risk of staff choosing to leave which in turn could put Orkney’s lifeline air services at risk. You can read about HIAL’s announcement here.

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Holyrood Highlights 17.01.20

It seems only right to start this week’s newsletter by expressing thanks to those in the Orkney Local Emergency Co-ordination Group, local police officers and others for their efforts in response to the recent flooding and adverse weather. As well as ensuring public safety, and minimising disruption, they also worked hard to community information as widely and promptly as possible. Updates on travel, flood warnings and any other services affected by the weather can be found on the Orkney Islands Council Updates page here, Radio Orkney Facebook page here and the Orcadian page here.

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Holyrood Highlights 10.01.20

Let me start by wishing you all the best for 2020. I hope you all enjoyed a restful festive break after what has been a busy and eventful 2019 for everyone. The last couple of weeks has been a welcome opportunity for me to spend some time at home and, amidst the highlights of a couple of epic Men’s Ba contests which saw the Doonies and Uppies share the spoils, which you can read about here, there have been some other notable newsworthy moments.

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Holyrood Highlights 20.12.19

So the dust is beginning to settle after last week’s General Election. Boris Johnson has the majority he craved and the UK’s departure from the EU will happen on 31 January 2020. Early hopes that, free from having to rely on the European Research Group hardliners in his own party, the Prime Minister might opt for a ‘softer’ version Brexit were quickly shattered as he moved to rule out any possibility of an extension of the transition beyond 31 December 2020. Given the amount of work required if agreement on a future trading relationship with the EU is to be reached, this move has inevitably increased significantly the likelihood of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

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Holyrood Highlights 29.11.19

A dreary Monday was certainly brightened up this week with news that Kirkwall town centre had been voted Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street 2019, fending off stiff competition from seven other towns across Scotland, including our Shetland neighbours in Lerwick.  While no great surprise, of course, this award is nevertheless testament to the outstanding work by the team at Kirkwall BID as well as local businesses and the wider community, all of whom have played a part in making the town centre such a thriving environment. To highlight this success, I lodged a motion in parliament, which you can see here.  You can also read my further comments here. You can read more about the competition here and the announcement of Kirkwall as the winners here.

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Holyrood Highlights 22.11.19

It may not be beginning to look a lot like Christmas just yet, but it’s certainly starting to feel like a General Election.

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Holyrood Highlights 15.11.19

It was a cool, crisp Sunday morning for the Remembrance commemorations last weekend, with the public turning out in force at events across the county. I had the privilege, once again, of being invited to attend proceedings on the Kirk Green and in the Cathedral in Kirkwall, following an excellent parade led by the Kirkwall City Pipe Band.  You can read more about the commemoration here.

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Holyrood Highlights 08.11.19

The crowds were out in force last weekend for the Kirkwall ‘Big BID Day Out’ and it was fantastic to see the town and local shops bustling with people.  The event was brilliantly organised, with a great variety of attractions, although the carousel undoubtedly stole the show!  Congratulations to everyone involved at Kirkwall BID on a highly successful weekend, despite the atrocious weather on Saturday, and you can read more here.

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