Settling into new life at Holyrood
Since my last column a fortnight ago, I’ve settled into my new role a little more.
It’s a real honour to be one of 51 new MSPs – making up over a third of parliament.
There’s still quite a sense of novelty, and a lot of firsts still to do.
One thing I have done though is make my maiden speech at Holyrood.
I made my speech during a debate on creating a fairer Scotland – a topic which truly reflects why I got into politics in the first place.
The road to a fairer Scotland is not an easy one.
We face many challenges, and some roadblocks, regrettably placed there by other politicians who present themselves as standing up for ordinary people.
Take trade union legislation for example.
As an ardent trade unionist, I oppose the pernicious Tory Trade Union Bill with every fibre of my being.
It is an odious piece of legislation, which, if passed, will make it almost impossible for trade unions to operate effectively.
It will restrict unions’ ability to recruit and to represent members, and how they use their resources; and it will place restrictions on peaceful picketing and protests.
We had a chance during the Smith Commission negotiations to devolve powers over employment – including trade unions – to the Scottish Parliament.
This was blocked by the Scottish Labour party.
The SNP will do all we can at Holyrood and Westminster to continue to oppose the Trade Union Bill, but it is regrettable that we have been left to fight for Scotland’s workers with one hand tied behind our back. I also used my speech to focus on health.
As a former nurse, I know that our health service is a fundamental part of tackling inequalities – it is a cornerstone of the fairer Scotland I strive towards.
With record investment in health, and a clear priority over mental health, I have every confidence that the NHS in Scotland is in the best possible hands.
The next few weeks will be very busy.
With another referendum around the corner – this time on our membership of the EU – I’ll be out on the streets encouraging voters to remain in the European Union.
Our membership of the EU is a good thing for workers’ rights, from paid holidays, to maternity and paternity leave, and even how many hours you can be made to work each week.
The EU remains hugely beneficial in everyday life.
I look forward to talking to as many people as possible and convincing them of these positive reasons – and others – for remaining in the EU.
I oppose the pernicious Tory Trade Union Bill with every fibre of my being
New role Clare Haughey, pictured to the left of Nicola Sturgeon, was one of 51 new MSPs elected last month