com­ment

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - Kieran an­drews po­lit­i­cal edi­tor

Two-and-a-half-years ago, The Courier of­fi­cially joined the cam­paign to make Frank’s Law a re­al­ity and end the dis­crim­i­na­tion suf­fered by un­der-65s who re­quire per­sonal care.

Warm words and cold shoul­ders have been re­ceived from politi­cians dur­ing that time but yes­ter­day’s events at Holy­rood proved that what has been, and still is in some cases, seen as a hope­less cause is mov­ing to­wards re­al­ity.

Amanda Kopel’s cam­paign­ing has seen her face up to two health sec­re­taries, two first min­is­ters and be called “in­spi­ra­tional” by the Prime Min­is­ter.

Al­most ev­ery step of the way, from a mov­ing first per­son ac­count of what it was like look­ing af­ter Frank, to pil­ing pres­sure on politi­cians of all per­sua­sions to come on­side and see sense, The Courier has been on Amanda’s side.

For the cov­er­age to be recog­nised through public votes to win the cam­paign award in the UK-wide So­ci­ety of Edi­tor’s Re­gional Press Awards 2016 showed the im­pact the col­lec­tive ef­fort was hav­ing.

It was also fan­tas­tic to see the rest of the me­dia fi­nally catch up as the bill was brought for­ward yes­ter­day. Fol­low­ing the 2016 Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tion, the arith­metic at Holy­rood changed and the col­lec­tive pres­sure started to pay off.

A ma­jor­ity of MSPs now sup­port Frank’s Law, mean­ing Miles Briggs’ bill can be passed even if the SNP mem­bers fail to fol­low the foot­steps of their very own Alex Neil, one of those health min­is­ters Amanda has dealt with, and fi­nally drag them­selves on board.

Amanda said: “I have to thank The Courier for your mas­sive sup­port. It re­ally has been bril­liant.”

Mr Briggs added: “This is a cul­mi­na­tion of a lot of hard work, not just from me but from lots of oth­ers, in­clud­ing The Courier. It is the work of Amanda and so many Frank’s Law cam­paign­ers over such a long pe­riod of time.

“But it now feels like we are start­ing to get some­where.”

He is cor­rect. Amanda has been the driver of the cam­paign. She is an in­cred­i­ble fig­ure whose re­lent­less pur­suit of a pol­icy change that can no longer help her but will ben­e­fit oth­ers has been noth­ing short of in­spir­ing.

Be­hind her, a team of peo­ple like Mr Briggs; Kir­riemuir’s Jona­then Smith, who trav­elled across con­ti­nents to spread the word; Emilio Mar­mol Ro­man, whose celebrity chas­ing has se­cured big-name back­ing; and The Courier is work­ing to­gether to make her dream a re­al­ity.

Now we need one big final push.

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