I tend to use twitter for straightforward updates on my parliamentary work or visits I undertake. In a slight change of tack I highlighted what I thought was pretty absurd – a Scottish MP submitting a question to the Church of England Commissioner. However, as the matter related to an enquiry about commemorating WW1, it managed to cause a backlash as somehow it meant I do not think such commemoration important.
There are so many aspects of why I think there is no merit in a Scottish MP asking questions of the Church of England Commissioner. For a start, it is out with our locus. What if the answer that came back was the Church of England will be doing nothing? What could a Scottish based MP do between mid-October and November 11th to change things? Clearly nothing.
Also, the question was a staged one suggested by the person who was answering: every time the Church of England session is approaching, the Church of England Commissioner puts out suggested questions that an “MP might want to ask”. Therefore, if you submit one of these questions, it is in the knowledge it’s something they think is a good news story.
As for the fact I do not think commemoration important – I have laid a wreath every year I have been an elected official and for many years took part in the Newmilns parade as a member of the Scouts. I am well aware we are nearing the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One. 2018 is also 100 years since the death of my great uncle in the war. I have had a portrait of him hanging in my house as a mark of respect to his sacrifice. Anyone checking my bookcase will also see a large number of books on World War One, many of which are about the experiences of those who participated in the war. So I am sorry if I offended people but my conscience is clear about the respect I give those who participated in that war in the armed services, medical services and all the other support workers. There is a disappointing irony in other politicians and accusing me of being blinded by nationalism but then use dead soldiers as part of their faux outrage.
As we head towards Brexit I took a parliamentary trip to Dover to see first-hand how the port operates. The turnaround of ferries in such a short space of time and the number of lorries going in and out was incredible. All based on the fact that they do not necessarily need customs checks because of the current EU Customs arrangements. It has been well trailed that a no deal will cause havoc. They also confirmed that the UK Government’s current preferred option still leaves unresolved issues. As Transport Spokesperson I thought it worthwhile seeing and hearing things directly – it was also confirmation that I cannot take any glib assurances from the UK Government seriously.
These views were first expressed in the Kilmarnock Standard.