TIME FOR REFLECTION: HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY
24 January 2017
Today saw two pupils from Braes High School, Jessica Reid and Callum Docherty, lead Time for Reflection in Parliament. These two young people have been part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s “Lessons from Auschwitz” project and were given the opportunity to visit the concentration camps in Poland, in order to learn what happened, why it happened, and what can and must be done to prevent this from ever happening again.
Their words, in preparation for Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, have never been more poignant, nor have they been more significant as we remember the actions and principles of those in the past which should never be allowed to darken society again.
I was proud to have met Jessica and Callum and listen to their reflections on the lessons they have learned as part of this project. I will strive to continue to pass on these lessons to ensure that the horrors of the past will never be repeated in the future.
In preparation of today's Time for Reflection I submitted a motion to Parliament, which garnered cross party support:
That the Parliament commends Braes High School pupils, Jessica Reid and Callum Docherty, for taking part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project; understands that the project has been running since 1999 and has seen over 30,000 students and teachers take part; acknowledges that the project includes hearing at first-hand from a Holocaust survivor, visiting Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau, and seminars before and after visiting in order to provide knowledge about the Holocaust and what can happen if prejudice, racism and intolerance become acceptable; recognises the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on 27 January 2017, in helping to remember why everyone should continue to tackle racism and intolerance; anticipates Time for Reflection in the Parliament on 24 January, which will be led by Jessica and Callum in preparation for Holocaust Memorial Day, and sends its best wishes to them for the day and for their future.
Supported by: Gail Ross, Jeremy Balfour, Joan McAlpine, Stuart McMillan, James Dornan, Ruth Maguire, Mairi Evans, Colin Beattie, John Mason, Alison Harris, Bill Kidd, Richard Lyle, Neil Findlay, Ivan McKee, Tom Arthur, David Torrance, Graeme Dey, Emma Harper, Gil Paterson, Sandra White, Jenny Gilruth, Clare Adamson, Gillian Martin
FIRST MINISTER COMMENTS ON SUPREME COURT RULING
24 January 2017
Commenting on the UK Supreme Court’s ruling today, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The Scottish Government welcomes the Supreme Court's ruling that Article 50 cannot be triggered without an Act of Parliament. It is a damning indictment of a UK Government that believed it could press on towards a hard Brexit with no regard to Parliament whatsoever.
“It is vital that the Westminster Parliament is now given the fullest possible opportunity to debate and decide upon the triggering of Article 50 and also the terms of the UK's negotiating position. SNP MPs will seek to work with others across the House of Commons to stop the march towards a hard Brexit in its tracks.
“We are obviously disappointed with the Supreme Court's ruling in respect of the devolved administrations and the legal enforceability of the Sewel Convention.
“It is now crystal clear that the promises made to Scotland by the UK Government about the Sewel Convention and the importance of embedding it in statute were not worth the paper they were written on.
“Although the court has concluded that the UK Government is not legally obliged to consult the devolved administrations, there remains a clear political obligation to do so. Indeed, the court itself notes the importance of Sewel as a political convention.
“The Scottish Government will bring forward a Legislative Consent Motion and ensure that the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to vote on whether or not it consents to the triggering of Article 50.
“We will also use the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee next week to continue to press for the sensible, compromise outcomes set out in the paper we published in December.
“However, it is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland's voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK. The claims about Scotland being an equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric and the very foundations of the devolution settlement that are supposed to protect our interests – such as the statutory embedding of the Sewel Convention – are being shown to be worthless.
“This raises fundamental issues above and beyond that of EU membership. Is Scotland content for our future to be dictated by an increasingly right-wing Westminster Government with just one MP here – or is it better that we take our future into our own hands? It is becoming ever clearer that this is a choice that Scotland must make.”