Allison is an intern on our Access to Elected Office project which placed disabled interns with Scottish political parties where they are researching the experiences of disabled members.
As the end of March is fast approaching, I have been reflecting on my time as an Intern with James Dornan MSP. I am also having the reverse feelings of a child (or this current 23 year old) on waiting for Christmas day. Instead of wanting to be able to speed up time I very much wish it would slow down!
It has a fantastic experience for many reasons. I have had the great experience of working in the Scottish Parliament, a beautiful yet confusing building with a fantastic restaurant and great coffee. The building itself is beautiful inside and a fantastic work environment but the environment is something else. There is always a buzz of energy with so much going on yet everyone I have meet so far is friendly and cheerful.
This opportunity has given me so much, to be able to experience working in the parliament, to be able to work in a constituency office, conducting research and being able to share all this with my partner in crime John through job sharing has been a great experience that certainly isn’t your standard office job!
With this in mind there are two experiences that I see as highlights of the internship so far!
Attending the SNP Disabled Members Conference.
Despite growing up in a strong political family and proceeding to study politics for a further four years I had never fully committed myself to a party and had certainly never attended a members conference, so it was safe to say this was an exciting opportunity for me. One of the first things I noticed about the conference was the atmosphere. Getting a group of people together who share similar beliefs and experiences creates quite an electric atmosphere with everyone buzzing around and chatting.
This was a great day, I got to meet up with John who I job share with and Michelle and Phyl from Inclusion, to speak to many people in regards to our research as well as listen to the many great speakers and I even got a selfie with the First Minister!
The Adoption Night.
I had never heard of an adoption night until I started this internship and whilst it was not a compulsory part of the experience, I quickly bought a ticket for myself and my other half. It turns out that an adoption night is similar to a Roast (comedy). Lots of James supporters gather together (It was in the Cathcart Bowling Club) everyone socialises, buys raffle tickets and drink. Then a few guest speakers talk about the work of the party and in particular the achievements of James and any stories they have of working with him. All spaced out with a nice food buffet!
I feel like this was one of the parts I best enjoyed about the internship ( I don’t mean just this night) it was another opportunity to have an insight into what life is like as an MSP and the different events that happen within a party. I think The Adoption Night highlights one of the best parts of this internship and this is that I pretty much get to shadow my host MSP James Dornan. Through working at both the parliament and the constituency office I get to be immersed in so much. The night also had another opportunity for a First Minister group selfie!