Alasdair McKillop previews some of the things happening in Scottish politics this week.
The Health & Sport Committee will take evidence on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill for the first time when it meets tomorrow. The Bill contains proposals to introduce a system of ‘deemed authorisation’ for organ and tissue donation. This would mean a person would be presumed to be a potential donor if they died without making their wishes known. An opt-out system will remain in place. Several religious bodies responded to the Committee’s call for evidence on the Bill to raise ethical concerns, which gives an indication of the likely scope of the debate ahead.
Liam Kerr will visit the Fire Service Control room in Dundee tonight to publicise a package of measures the Conservatives claim will improve the safety of emergency service workers. No doubt staff will be happy for the company on one of the busiest nights of the year. Suggested measures include closing the gap in the law that prevents police searching for and seizing fireworks; the introduction of a statutory aggravator for those who attack emergency services staff; and the provision of extra safety equipment. He leads a members’ business debate about the subject on Wednesday. Expect fireworks tonight, not during the debate.
Stage 3 proceedings for the Prescription
(Scotland) Bill take place in the Chamber on Thursday. The legislation has
nothing to do with medicine. Rather, it is about amending “the law relating
to the extinction of rights and obligations by the passage of time”. Sounds
like something from a fantasy film? You couldn’t be more wrong. No wizards were
involved in the scrutiny of the Bill at previous stages, even if you feel
members of the Delegated Powers & Law Reform Committee cast a certain sort
of spell. Key issues include the length of time people can be pursued for
council tax and social security payments.
Ken Macintosh makes MSPs happy by not
being Christine Grahame. As the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer, he is
part-referee, part-town-crier, part-exasperated-but-generally-good-natured-dad.
He is the human face of the institution, a hoster of events and promoter of
(good?) work. This week he will chair a Scotland’s Future Forum event with
Richard Holloway on “our cultural relationship with death”. On Friday,
he will be in Dumfries to talk about the history of the Parliament and his
plans for reform at an event sponsored by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
NFU Scotland starts a 13-date tour in
Castle Douglas on Wednesday. It wants to hear from its members about the future
of agriculture policy in Scotland after setting out its own ideas earlier this
year. Brexit is the major concern and the organisation believes an “intense
period of lobbying” lies ahead. The roadshow will end in Thainstone later