John is one of our Access to Elected Office Interns, working with the Scottish National Party and MSP James Dornan.
While officially starting on the 7th January on the AEO project, I only today got my first real taste of Parliamentary business. It’s not been an easy first couple of weeks I’ll admit. Between snow drifts out in East Lothian and massive technology failures on the part of my lap top. I was less than confident that all was going to go well.
Saying that, it’s been very interesting seeing where and what everybody on the project has been up to. Between Brenna’s extensive amount of work already done and Michelle’s continual efforts to keep us up to date and topically savvy, not to mention everybody else’s outstanding efforts I’m truly in awe.
Over in the SNP camp we’re also getting things together with our survey questions ready to go and MSP emails beaming* themselves to their respective recipients. On Saturday Allison and I will be attending the SNP Disabled Members Conference. While there we hope to further our own project ends by getting some interviews under our belts. We were also asked by our host MSP James Dornan, to write up a quick summary/speech on what AEO is all about.
That nicely brings me to my first proper day at the office. Brandishing my shiny new security clearance, I made my way up to the desk and what I’ll be calling home for the next three months. I logged in to my terminal and was assaulted by a spectacular amount of emails. Very few I might add were for me, but what the hey, I need the confidence boost. I spent the morning being taught how to go about writing speeches for our MSP and being introduced to a myriad amount of people whose names I really should remember but cannot.
Things got really fun in the afternoon when I arrived back from lunch with a visit from parliamentary security asking if I happened to have a dog in the back of my car. On this occasion it was true. I did have my dog in the back of the car. As a matter of fact – usually he’d be left at home but for thoroughly domestic reasons he had to be with me for the day. I kindly explained the situation and was told under no circumstances were animals allowed in the building/carpark or general area. Accepting my slap on the wrist and promising it wouldn’t happen again I made my way back up to the office where I was immediately called into my host MSPs’ office and asked to call security to explain myself. To say I was mildly embarrassed at my dog (on my first day of parliamentary work) being labelled a security risk is an understatement. So with red face and a bead of sweat collecting on my brow I called security who then explained that I would have to leave the building. Not at the end of the day, not in a couple of hours but right then. Phone on the hook, I made my apologies, grabbed my bag and hobbled out of there as fast as my stick would allow.
There’s not much else to say really other than I got back to the car containing my red-flagged pet – Freddy for those of you interested – and made my way to the nearest Starbucks where I could continue working without the risk of a S.W.A.T. team surrounding my car.
Till next week.
*I realise in the context the word beaming is totally inappropriate however my knowledge of how anything to do with technology works is horrifically limited. Truth be told I still don’t understand why electricity doesn’t just dribble out of an un-used socket.