One of a Kind - Alex Neil

Alex Neil, the long-serving MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, announced on Twitter that he would not be contesting next year's elections to the Scottish Parliament. 

I sent Alex a personal message and good wishes for the future because he really is one of a kind - the only member of the Scottish Parliament to campaign publicly and get behind his local constituents in their long fight for equal pay.

"Sorry to hear you are taking your leave Alex - you were the only MSP of any political party to take a stand in support of your constituents in their fight for equal pay with Scotland's local councils. More power to your elbow and all the best for the future!"

See the article below from the Sunday Mail and previous posts from the blog site archive.

SNP veteran Alex Neil to stand down as an MSP at next year's Holyrood election

The MSP for Airdrie and Shotts has enjoyed a high-profile career in the SNP after he quit Labour more than 40 years ago.

By Chris McCall - Sunday Mail

Alex Neil MSP - Champion of Equal Pay (08/05/19)

Alex Neil announced on Twitter that yesterday marked 20 years since he first became a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP). 

Today marks 20 years since I became a Member of the Scottish Parliament, 8 of those as MSP for Airdrie & Shotts. It has been a privilege and honour, and I will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of my constituents.

I responded at the time because unlike the constituency MSPs in Glasgow, Alex actually stood up and spoke out on behalf of his local constituents during the long fight for equal pay. 

I take my hat off to the man - he's a true champion of equal pay which is a subject where action speaks louder than words. 


Alex Neil MSP (22/05/14)

Alex Neil MSP

I can honestly say that Alex Neil is the only Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) to have played a consistently helpful role in the fight for equal pay in Scotland over the past 10 years.

While some have dipped in and out, keen to express their opposition to pay discrimination, few have rolled up their sleeves and done anything on a practical level.

So I was pleased to see that Alex saw off his critics in the Scottish Parliament the other day who moved a vote of 'no confidence' in him as Health Minister because the politics surrounding Scotland's NHS can often be troublesome.

I well remember the time during the last Labour-led government at Holyrood when Andy Kerr was Health Minister and part of his job was to push through a programme of changes which would have cut the number of Accident and Emergency Departments in Lanarkshire hospitals.

Yet although this was the official policy of the Labour-led Scottish Government, the Labour Health Secretary had the ground cut from under him by his own side as various MSPs and MPs, including the 'heavyweight' Westminster Home Secretary John Reid, disowned the planned closures - leaving their Labour colleague, Andy Kerr, high and dry.    

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that to survive as Health Minister and as an MSP in Scotland you need to have your wits about yourself and be sharp on your feet - because Andy Kerr lost his South Lanarkshire seat at the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.

Lots of people in North Lanarkshire have been in touch with me about their MSPs and the ongoing fight for equal pay with North Lanarkshire Council, and all I would say is that Alex Neil is a good man to have on your side.

The recent spat in the Scottish Parliament will have done him nothing but good because he will be seen as navigating through treacherous political waters while also standing up for the interests of local people across Lanarkshire, North and South.  

Contact details for Alex Neil - MSP for Airdrie and Shotts

Constituency Office:

One Wellwynd
35 Wellwynd

Telephone: 01236 439331

North Lanarkshire Update (04/06/19)

I've been in touch again with Alex Neil, MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, over the foot-dragging behaviour of North Lanarkshire Council in relation to pensions and equal pay - here is the statement Alex released:

"Now the SPPA has ruled against North Lanarkshire Council there is no reason why the pensions contributions should be any further delayed

“However we will all need to keep a close eye on what NLC actually does. I do not trust them to implement the court’s ruling either quickly or in total. 

"If anyone gets short-changed on their pension payment from NLC in relation to their Equal Pay claim, or if they haven’t received it within the next four weeks, please let us know so we can pursue”

Now you can't say fairer than that and so anyone who is a local constituent in Airdrie and Shotts has an open invitation to raise the issue with Alex Neil as their MSP.

I plan to circulate this blog post to other MSPs and MPs in the North Lanarkshire area in the hope that they will throw their weight behind this pensions campaign as well.


Bravehearts vs Wee, Sleekit Cow'rin, Tim'rous Beasties (21/07/18)

I shared yesterday's posts (No 'Mean' City and Daylight is the best disinfectant) with all Glasgow councillors, as well as the city's constituency MSPs and MPs - 100 local politicians in total.

Now I haven't exactly been bowled over by the response, so far at least, but once the holiday period is over there will be a concerted effort to engage with key politicians across Glasgow including the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who represents Glasgow Southside.  

Because August/September is going to be a crucial period in the fight for equal pay in Scotland's largest council - and the city's Councillors, MSPs and MPs are going to have to decide which side they are on.

Do they stand alongside senior officials with their 'golden goodbyes' and discriminatory 37-hour 'rules' - or do they stand with the council's low paid workers who have been fighting for their rights to equal pay for the past 12 years.

In other words, are they Bravehearts when it comes to equal pay or wee, sleekit cow'rin, tim'rous beasties?

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