George Flies into see Wilson Exhibit

George outside Paisley Museum

George outside Paisley Museum

This year marks the bicentenary of the death of one of Paisley’s most brilliant son’s, Alexander Wilson. Born in Paisley, living his early years in Seedhill, Wilson attended Paisley Grammar, before going onto work as a weaver, write poetry and publish nine volumes of work which lead to him being called the Father of American Ornithology. Running until Sunday 1st September, Paisley museum is hosting an exhibit about the life and works of Alexander Wilson.

Commenting after recently visiting the exhibit, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said,

“I was keen to make it along to this exhibit having taken in others at Paisley Museum which I have been really impressed with. Last month I submitted a parliamentary motion marking the bicentenary of Alexander Wilson’s death and it was great to go along and find out a lot more about one of Paisley’s greats. One of the first things I read at the museum was about Wilson’s christening. He was christened by another famous Paisley figure, Reverend Dr John Witherspoon, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the only minister to sign the American Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776.”

Wilson started his life in Paisley, before moving to Lochwinnoch after the death of his mother. He trained as a weaver and wrote poetry, often a social commentary on events going on at the time. He was arrested after one of his most famous poems landed him in bother with the law, ‘The Shark, or Lang Mills Detected’ a protest about mill owners at the time of the French Revolution, earned him a 14 day jail sentence. The poem was also thought to have been written initially by Robert Burns as it was anonymously sent to William Sharp, Paisley Manufacturer and owner of Lang Mills.

George notes, “It just shows how good a poet Wilson must have been to have one of his poems mistaken to be that of Rabbie Burns.”

George next to the statue of Alexander Wilson at Abbey Close

George next to the statue of Alexander Wilson at Abbey Close

In May 1794, Wilson immigrated to America. It was there he was to have his biggest impact on the world, traveling the United States chronicling the birds of the country. In total he produced 9 volumes of his ‘American Ornithology’ some of which can be seen in the Paisley Museum. Speaking to Nicola McIntyre, Assistance Curator of Natural History at the museum, she told me that the museum’s collection of original Wilson works is only second in the world to Harvard. This shows the calibre of the exhibit on show right in the centre of our town.

“It only goes to show what a massive influence Paisley and it’s people have had throughout the world. No wonder I always say Paisley is the centre of the universe because Alexander Wilson’s work in ornithology is another example of what our historic town has given the world.

‘I would encourage anyone with some free time over the summer holidays to take a trip along to the museum to see the exhibit. It is filled with facts, original texts and drawings of the birds Wilson chronicled on his travels. And always a plus for me, on the lead into the exhibit, you can walk passed Buddie the lion, who has been at the museum since the 1920’s. This is an exhibit for all ages and a great way to learn about one the world’s most famous ornithologists, made even better due to him being born and breed in Paisley.”

Pop in for a Free Diabetes Test at ASDA says George

George during is free Diabetes testPaisley’s MSP George Adam, today [10/7/13] went along to ASDA at the Phoenix to get one of the free diabetes tests on offer at the store. The process involves a blood glucose test, carried out by one of the stores trained pharmacy staff members, which will indicate if you’re at risk of diabetes.

Speaking after the visit, George said, “I was glad to take the free test, and even more glad when the pharmacist told me that the blood test showed nothing untoward. However, many in our town may be at risk and taking one of these free tests can either put your mind at easy or start the process of getting you help to deal with the condition.

‘Over 200,000 people in Scotland are known to have diabetes, while there are believed to be thousands more who have not yet been diagnosed. That is why it is such a positive step that ASDA have taken to offer free diabetes tests to their customers. I have family members who suffer from diabetes and it is a manageable condition once you find out you have it, but the key is knowing you have the condition.

‘I would encourage anyone even slightly concerned about their health to pop into ASDA’s pharmacy when out getting the shopping and Store Manager Ian McMullen and his team will be more than happy to help.”

George Welcomes Rise in Student Applications

George with UWS Principal Seamus McDade and students at the opening of the new student accommodationPaisley’s MSP George Adam, who is a member of the Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee has today welcomed the figures showing a rise in the number of Scots applying to study in Scotland. The statistics, published today by UCAS, show that there has been a 6.1% rise in the number of applications to study in Scotland, including a record percentage of 18-year-olds.

However, George has called on the UK Government to act on the long-running issue of visas for international students, which Scotland’s universities, the NUS and the Scottish Government all agree are damaging universities’ abilities to attract international students. This week, Vince Cable – one of the most senior members of the Coalition Government – admitted that the Home Office is ‘not treating with proper respect’ the university sector.

Commenting, George said:

“These are hugely encouraging figures and show the Scottish universities continue to be held in high esteem by students from Scotland and from further afield.

“Having sat on the Education Committee which heard evidence from people across the spectrum on legislation to widen access in Higher Education, I was proud to support the Scottish Government’s legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament last month, which will improve access to university for students from poorer backgrounds for generations to come.

“I have seen the work first hand already being carried out by universities, particularly the one in my own constituency, UWS, where widening access and student retention are two of the main focuses for the university.

“While it is great news that applications are on the rise, we must remember that our universities could be attracting so many more international students were it not for the current rules on international student visas. UWS has greatly benefited from having a large amount of international students, as has Paisley as a town.
I recently seen a general survey conducted by marketing students at UWS. It highlighted how much current international students think of the town, which is very positive.

“With even Business Secretary Vince Cable admitting this week that the UK university sector is not being treated with proper respect by his colleagues at Westminster in the Home Office, it’s clear that Westminster is not working for Scotland’s Higher Education institutions.

“It is time for Scotland to have the powers an independent nation to ensure we fully protect the international reputation and success of our universities.”

Poll Shows Importance of Bus Passes to Paisley’s Elderly

George and Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSPAges Scotland’s sister charity, Age UK, has revealed the benefit concessionary bus passes are having on older people’s lives in England. 93% of elderly people who own a concessionary bus pass in England say their life would be adversely affect without it.

Speaking on the poll, Paisley’s MSP George Adam commented, “This poll validates the SNP’s commitment to concessionary travel and ensuring that older people are able to remain independent and lead fulfilling lives.

‘During my time as a councillor and now as Paisley’s MSP, I have met with seniors forums, disability groups and constituents and the message is clear, they need their passes and they want to keep them. My message back is simple, under a SNP government; you have nothing to worry about.

‘93% of people with the bus pass in England say they would be worse off without it. Those surveyed have made it clear that this scheme is a priority for them and something that they don’t want to lose. I truly hope Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont takes stock of these figures before she announces that concessionary bus passes are one of the things to be cuts in Labours cut commission.

‘We all have friends and family who benefit from the concessionary travel scheme and long may this continue.”

Urgent Attention Needed to Fix Paisley’s Roads

George next to one of Paisley's potholesA recent Audit Scotland report has highlighted the urgent attention needed by Renfrewshire Council to fix local roads. The report, Maintaining Scotland’s Roads, paints the stark reality that at present, many council’s, including Renfrewshire Council, are not doing enough to deliver acceptable and safe roads for drivers.

Speaking on the current roads situation in Paisley, George Adam, MSP for Paisley said, ‘One of the biggest complaints I have received from my constituents over the past year centres on the state of Paisley’s roads. In the Labour party’s manifesto before the council elections last year, they committed to having a 24 hour response team to deal with pothole repairs. Where is it?

‘A record level of cash was spent improving our roads by the previous administration. I believe we now need to see such a commitment from the current Labour administration to improve the roads in Paisley which have deteriorated under their watch.

‘An Audit Scotland report looking at Renfrewshire Council’s roads maintenance performance in 2009-10, notes that ‘there had been significant improvement in the Council’s delivery and through revised management arrangements, greater supervision of front line service delivery and revised maintenance practice and culture. Consequently practice and quality had been improved and the budget has achieved significantly more than in previous years.’

‘Its time for the Labour administration to invest in our roads. No more excuses that the Scottish Government isn’t giving them enough money; this is the same Scottish Government which has recently worked with its partners to spend £9 million upgrading Paisley Gilmour Street and £12 million electrifying the Canal Street line. They now need to use the rest of the money the Scottish Government has given them to sort this.”

Audit Scotland report on Renfrewshire Council’s accounts 2011/12

Audit Scotland report ‘Maintaining Scotland’s Roads’

Sir Alex Retires

Sir Alex Ferguson

In recognition of the career of Sir Alex Ferguson, George submitted the parliamentary motion below after Sir Alex announced his retirement. Sir Alex managed the Paisley Saints during the 70’s and won his first trophy with the Buddies.

George’s motion – That the Parliament celebrates the career of one of the greatest and most successful football managers ever to grace the game, Sir Alex Ferguson, who, at the age of 71, has decided to retire; notes that he started his management career in charge of East Stirlingshire, before taking charge of Paisley’s St Mirren where he won the Scottish First Division in 1977 with a record points total; notes that he then moved on to take charge at Aberdeen where he won the Scottish Premier League three times, the Scottish Cup four times and, memorably, the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983 by beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the final; acknowledges that, since moving to Manchester United in 1986, he continued to be successful, winning the first of his 13 Premier League titles in 1993 and winning his most recent this year, taking Manchester United’s total league wins to a record 20 times; commends Sir Alex for his many other trophy wins such as the Champions League in both 1999 and 2008, the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991, his five FA Cup wins and four League Cup wins, while also noting his 60% win ratio over his 27 years at the helm in Manchester; considers that his career and achievements are unparalleled, and wishes him well in his new roles at the club and in his retirement from management.

George Welcomes Record Youth Unemployment Drop in Scotland

George Adam MSPPaisley’s MSP George Adam has welcomed news that youth unemployment experienced the biggest fall in 20 years and unemployment in Scotland fell by 4,000 over the three months to January 2013, as shown by official statistics published.

Scotland now has a lower headline unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent than the UK’s at 7.8% and a lower youth unemployment rate of 17.0% in Scotland compared to 20.6% per cent in the UK.

This is the fourth month in a row that shows unemployment in Scotland is falling and Scotland’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest in over three years.

Commenting, George said:

“These figures show that the SNP’s commitment to job creation and addressing youth unemployment is working. Unemployment has fallen by 4,000 and youth unemployment has fallen by levels not seen for over 20 years.

“But there is no room for complacency. No matter how much progress is made, there can be no let up as long as even one young person needs help finding their way out of unemployment.

“The time when young people are starting out in their careers has a massive effect on their life chances, so it is absolutely critical that every support possible is provided.

“Looking at the improvements Scotland has made with its current limited powers, we know we could achieve so much more armed with the full economic and fiscal powers of a normal independent nation.”