Musselburgh & East Lothian News Closures Dreadful Decision

I’m urging newspaper owners Johnston Press to rethink their decision to close the Musselburgh and East Lothian News titles.

This is a dreadful decision by Johnston Press, both for readers and for staff, and adds to the already brutal cutbacks at the Edinburgh Evening News. Our communities deserve good quality local information and investigation, and a vibrant local newspaper scene is crucial to that.

I have asked Johnston Press to explain their reasoning behind this shock decision and for assurances about the future of the skilled staff at these titles. The online media age should mean more local content, not less. Cutting staff and titles is a false economy, and I urge the owners to rethink their decision.




Scotland's MSP's Wear it Pink in support of Breast Cancer Now

Did you know that 4,600 women in Scotland are diagnosed with breast cancer, and sadly, 1,000 lose their lives to the disease every year?

Because of the incredible research by organisations like Breast Cancer Now, fewer people are dying of breast cancer than ever before, but the shocking figures above show that there is still plenty of work to be done.

I’m proud to join fellow parliamentarians in supporting Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser on this Friday 23 October 2015. Now in its 14th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it is back and bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.

The idea is simple – wear something pink to work, to school or wherever you might be going to on Friday, and donate what you can to Breast Cancer Now’s important work. It’s a fun, simple way to get involved, and I hope as many of you around the Lothians are able to join in as possible.

If you’d like to find out more about what you can do, visit and to learn about Breast Cancer Now, click on to their site at




People power can turn tide


Originally published as a column in the Edinburgh Evening News on Thursday 1 October 2015

Last Saturday, Edinburgh came together to call for urgent, decisive action to tackle climate change, one of the greatest threats our society faces. I took part in two grassroots demonstrations – first, the People’s Climate Rally on The Mound, and later on, Scotland Against Fracking down at Holyrood.

Saturday’s events proved that concerns about our impact on climate and on our local environments concern people from all walks of life. Both rallies attracted a varied range of speakers and participants, young and old, showing how the concern over the catastrophic impact of climate change is growing in our communities. The 30 years leading up to 2012 were the warmest three decades was the warmest in the last 1400 years. Our seas are getting warmer, higher and more acidic. Ice sheets are melting at an incredible rate and this water is flowing into our oceans at speeds never previously recorded.

The IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that all the warming that has occurred in the last 50 years is due to our behaviour. To me, that is also a clear signal that if we want to, we have the power and the ability to halt the dangerous path we’re on.
The big businesses that make their money from drilling oil and fracking for gas would have us think that we have to choose between cutting back on emissions and building a prosperous economy – according to these corporations, there is no real alternative to the fossil fuel industry. But people in Scotland are starting to realise that they are bluffing. The oil barons are simply trying to secure profits for themselves, while pretending that they’re doing our society a favour.

There is an immense wealth of economic opportunities beyond fossil fuels; renewables, decommissioning, sustainable forestry, home insulation – the list goes on. There are also plenty of ways in which our government could support people to tackle emissions in their daily lives, through policies that tackle climate change, for example.

By grasping those opportunities, we would secure growth, jobs, a safe climate and better health for people. Yet, our political leaders are struggling to pluck up the courage to move away from business as usual. The SNP still can’t make up its mind about fracking and Underground Coal Gasification, and Westminster is pouring in billions of pounds to subsidise failing oil companies and short-sighted nuclear power projects.

Nearly half of Scottish adults think that climate change is an immediate and urgent problem – that means tackling emissions should be at the top of our decision-makers’ agenda. This December, 195 countries will come together in Paris to discuss how to keep global warming within a rise of 2C. It was clear to me on Saturday that people in Scotland recognise the opportunities and solutions we have to tackle climate change, and are ready to do all they can to secure a safe, prosperous society for the next generations. I hope the UK Government won’t let us down, and will take our vision for a better future to the negotiating table in Paris.