Wednesday, March 18, 2015
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Scottish Parliament Speech: Freight Facilities Grants (January 2011)

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This debate is set against the background of great shifts in natural resources. The price of oil was $10 per barrel in 1999 - the year of the Parliament's inauguration - but we are now on the edge of the $100 barrel, a figure that was not expected before 2030.

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Scottish Parliament Speech: Autism (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1: "Report on Low Carbon Scotland: The Draft Report on Proposals and Policies" (January 2011)

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I will deal with two themes: first, where we live; and, secondly, how we move. Housing construction has propelled our economy, keeping our bankers happy, but the United Kingdom's average new house struggles to reach grade C on the EU's thermal efficiency level and consumes twice as much fuel as the average German or Austrian new build.

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Scottish Parliament Speech: Rural Affairs and the Environment: “Inquiry into the Impact of the Treaty of Lisbon on Scotland” (December 2010)

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I add my congratulations to the committee on the lucidity of its report. The Lisbon treaty was signed on 12 December 2007 when the market-driven economy seemed at its zenith, although as we now know, it was already crumbling from within. The treaty was a bid to bring a united Europe abreast of the United States of America as an economic motor, and in that context there was a role for Scotland as a financial services centre. What remains of that bid today?

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Scottish Parliament Speech: West Fife Enterprise (November 2010)

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I thank my Mid Scotland and Fife colleague, John Park, for securing the debate. He is well known for the interest that he takes in what could be called education for regeneration. West Fife Enterprise was set up to provide skills and work training for former west Fife coal-mining communities - the ‘Little Moscows’, as they were known - which were hit hard by the Thatcher Government's destruction of the deep-mined coal industry.

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Scottish Parliament Speech: Renewable Energy (October 2010)

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Sixteen years ago I wrote the only history of North Sea oil that has been written so far, and I view the Government's energy efficiency action plan through those lenses. It represents an excellent step towards a sustainable society, but its very merits tend to remind one of a saying beloved of investment bankers: "This time it's different." The old ghosts still walk.

 

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