For many of us, summer is the most relaxing time of year – a season for barbecues, visits, day trips and, of course, holidays.
As an MP, I’ve decided to fill my time working hard, here in the constituency. The Commons may be in recess, but I’m determined to keep my diary full and arrange as many meetings as possible.
It’s a privilege to do this job – seeing individual constituents and visiting local businesses, third-sector bodies and other organisations. I’m building up my knowledge about them so I can represent them better.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Border Union Show in Kelso –an opportunity to speak to people in our vital rural sector and to hear about their issues, successes and concerns.
Many of the people and businesses I’ve met are at the centre of our rural economy – including McGregor Farms at Coldstream Mains and BSW Timber Group, Earlston. They’re are at the forefront of innovation and have far-sighted managements with skill and vision.
I was hugely impressed with the sheer scale of BSW’s operations – its the largest sawmilling firm in the UK and has a presence in Latvia, in total employing 1,000 people.
McGregor uses GPS systems on its tractors to vary how much seed is put down in different parts of a field and treat areas individually. It’s called precision farming and I found it all very impressive.
I’ve also been in touch with Scottish Borders Council over the threatened 120 bus route which affects Hawick, Kelso and Jedburgh, met the teams in Selkirk working on the business improvement district proposals and visited the new Galashiels Men’s Shed community project. And I’ve been talking to the boss of BT Scotland about improving local broadband.
I’m in the final stages of sorting out an office and starting to turn my mind as to how to boost the Borders economy, help with welfare issues and make this region a fantastic place to live and work in.
Plus I’ve been appointed the SNP’s lead Westminster spokesperson on the environment, food and rural affairs – a role which covers the whole of Scotland. I’ve already had several meetings with NFU Scotland and will shortly be visiting Peterhead to meet key figures in the fishing industry.
Luckily, I’m not on my own, as I have a small, but dedicated team of staff to share the workload. If you think I can help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But it’s not all work – I’m planning a couple of weeks’ holiday with the family. I’m trying to be conscientious, but not a martyr!