This is a place to share words (that may or may not be published elsewhere). They may have new information or a different way of understanding ideas that are important, maybe they express something about the world in a particularly effective way. We can only post stuff here that is copyright free or has a creative commons licence as Words and Actions is not commercial.
This week’s Words and Actions monitoring from the Scottish Parliament
Parliamentary Monitoring for the week 7-14 May 2023
Tuesday 9 May
Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee meeting
-Continuing their inquiry on asylum in Scotland
-Evidence provided by TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) about victims of human trafficking
-Discussed how councils support asylum seekers and refugees and the different forms of support that can be provided to help people with their language knowledge and mental and physical health
Ministerial Statement: Europe Day 2023 – The Scottish Government’s Commitment to Remain Aligned with EU Laws
-Scottish Government reinforced its desire to stay as close to EU law as possible and explained the importance of the EU for Scotland
-Democratic basis for this as the ‘people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union’ and because ‘the global challenges facing Scotland today […] only confirm the need for ever more international co-operation and engagement, not less’
Wednesday 10 May
Education, Children and Young People Committee meeting
-Discussed the impact of Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill
Thursday 11 May
Social Justice and Social Security Committee meeting
-Considered subordinate legislation: The Committee considered the following negative instrument— Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2023
-Impact of the cost of the living crisis: The Committee considered the evidence it heard at its meetings on 27 April and 4 May relating to disabled people, unpaid carers, and lone parents.
Feedback from the committee convener:
‘The committee has recently taken evidence on the impact of the cost of living on disabled people and unpaid carers and the impact of the cost of living on lone parents. On behalf of the Committee […] and we clearly heard that the cost of living crisis has exacerbated existing inequalities and that people are continuing to struggle.’
Expert working with the committee’s opinion:
‘This is a cross cutting issue. The cost of living payments were welcome, they were useful, they weren’t enough. But actually the bigger issues around this relate to housing, energy, energy inefficiency and welfare benefits. And it’s going to require cross cutting kind of over cross-government solution to address the underlying causes of this.’
Tuesday 16 May
Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee meeting
-Continuation of inquiry on asylum
Cross party groups next/most recent meetings:
Wednesday May 24 2023- Women in Enterprise https://www.parliament.scot/get-involved/cross-party-groups/current-and-previous-cross-party-
Wednesday March 1 2023- Well-being economy
Thursday March 23 2023- Palliative care
Wednesday May 10 2023- Sustainable transport https://www.parliament.scot/get-involved/cross-party-groups/current-and-previous-cross-party-groups/2021/sustainable-transport
Wednesday February 1 2023- Disability
Thursday March 30 2023- Dyslexia
Tuesday June 20 2023- Armed Forces and Veterans Community
Wednesday 26th of April- homelessness prevention and housing supply
On the problem and extent of loneliness.
Some 10,000 children are in temporary accommodation. ‘A homeless person in Midlothian faces a 96- week wait for their homelessness application to be closed. Across the country, the average wait is more than six months. Worse still—this is a national scandal—is the fact that at least 157 homeless Scots died in the past year, seemingly without Government response or reaction.’
Scottish government official response
‘Scotland delivered 59 per cent more affordable homes per head of population than England, 72 per cent more than Labour-controlled Wales and 24 per cent more than Northern Ireland. Over that period, we also delivered nine times more social rented homes per head of population than England. That is the context. However, we need to do more.’
Scotland’s Finances and The Cost of Living: from pdf page 50
Thursday 27th April- community led housing and supporting a sustainable future
Ariane Burgess: We have a commitment to build 11,000 new and affordable rural homes by 2032. With the commitment of £25 million to help councils to buy affordable homes for key workers in rural communities, the First Minister has recognised that something must be done. Hope CoHousing in Orkney, supported by Orkney Islands Council, is establishing the United Kingdom’s first rented tenure co-housing for over-50s.
Evelyn Tweed- I am sure that all members will welcome the new housing minister’s creation of a £25 million fund for affordable homes for key workers in rural areas. That comes on top of a commitment to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 10 per cent of those being in remote, rural and island areas.
Mark Griffin- In November last year, I visited the Western Isles to learn about the severe housing crisis there and the impact of the cost of living crisis that people faced. That was at the start of a devastating winter that would leave 80 per cent of residents in fuel poverty.
Paul McLennan- Between 2016 and 2017 and 2021 and 2022, we supported the delivery of 8,000 affordable homes in rural and island areas.
Friday 28th April 2023- Stage 1 report on the
charities(regulations and administration)
Friday 28th of April 2023- stage 1 report on patient safety
Ten Days of Prayer for Peace in Nagasaki July 7 2019
A Message from the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan
Peace is the fruit of the integral development of all people
On February 25, 1981, Pope St. John Paul II made a striking peace appeal in Hiroshima. In response to that appeal, since the following year the Japanese Church has annually marked the Ten Days of Prayer for Peace August 6-15 to think about and pray for peace. Pope Francis will visit Japan in November this year, 38 years and 9 months after John Paul’s Hiroshima Peace Appeal, and we look forward to his sending a new peace message to the world.
Since becoming pope, Pope Francis has from time to time made remarks regarding peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. On July 7, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted an historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On the previous March 23, the pope delivered a message to the UN General Assembly. Terrorism, conflicts among those with different military power, security of information, environmental issues, poverty etc. are intertwined in a complex way, threatening the peace and security of the modern world. However, nuclear threats cannot respond effectively to such issues. Stability based on fear simply increases fear and compromises trusting relationships among nations. In that case, we must ask ourselves how stability can be maintained. “International peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power. Peace must be built on justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity.” The Vatican was one of the first three countries to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (September 20), and in November sponsored a conference on nuclear disarmament: “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament”.
According to Pope Francis, “the integral development of all people” means that there are no economic gaps or exclusion among peoples, no one is excluded from society and everyone can participate. It means that the economy, culture, family life, religion, etc. that are essential for human growth and development are secure, that the individual is a freely involved member of the community under God. A peace which is not “the result of integral development” will be doomed (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 219). Therefore, in order to build and secure peace and security in the world, it is necessary not only to eliminate the nuclear threat by abolishing nuclear weapons, but at the same time to make all people richer in all aspects.
With Pope Francis, we wholeheartedly pray to the God of peace that we can build peace by being deeply involved in the integral development of all while seeking the realization of the abolition of nuclear weapons. Let us begin that task by doing whatever we can.
Mitsuaki Takami, Archbishop of Nagasaki
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan
New Zealand: Addressing Humanitarian and Environmental Concerns of Nuclear Veterans and the Impact of Fallout from French Pacific Nuclear Tests
Between 1952 and 1958, Aotearoa New Zealand military personnel participated in nuclear weapon tests carried out by the UK and the US, in Australia and Kiribati. writes Mathew Bolton Members of Aotearoa New Zealand’s armed forces were also exposed to radiation during the Allied occupation of Japan following the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and later, when protesting against France’s nuclear testing in French Polynesia. Aotearoa New Zealand nuclear veterans claim that their health, and their descendants’ health, were adversely affected by exposure to ionizing radiation. Their concerns are supported by independent medical research. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), of which Aotearoa New Zealand is a state party, obligates assistance to victims, including veterans, and remediation of contaminated environments. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for the role of its advocacy in achieving the treaty.
A new report from Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute documents the humanitarian, human rights and environmental harms of nuclear weapons use and testing to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, finding that:
- 12,000 Aotearoa New Zealand soldiers risked exposure to radiation while participating in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), following the atomic bombings in Hiroshima.
- Aotearoa New Zealand troops were deployed to UK test sites (11 troops in Australia; 551 in Kiribati).
- 551 New Zealand Navy sailors deployed to protest 1973 French nuclear tests at Moruroa Atoll.
- Many BCOF and test veterans have health problems consistent with exposure to radiation; descendants also report multi-generational health problems.
- Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, were exposed to fallout from French Pacific nuclear testing from 1966 to 1974. The population (4.6 million people) may be considered at risk of being victims of nuclear weapons testing.
- Venting and leaching of radioactive materials from France’s underground test sites into the ocean poses environmental risks to the South Pacific region.
The report recommends that Aotearoa New Zealand should:
- Encourage states to sign and RATIFY the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- Assess and RESPOND to the humanitarian needs of survivors.
- Survey and REMEDIATE contaminated environments in the Pacific.
- RESPECT, protect and fulfill the human rights of nuclear test survivors.
- RETELL the stories of the humanitarian and environmental impact of the tests.