I believe that blogging helps bridge this gap albeit in a rather narrow manner. To help fill this democratic deficit further, I decided to chance my arm and contact an MSP to ask them a series of questions. Just an attempt to peel back the Parliament's curtains and get an idea of what is actually going on and what our MSPs think.
And what better MSP to contact than blogger Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for the Central area.
I have supported independence for Scotland for as long as I can remember, but I didn't actually take the step of joining the SNP until I started university. My father was a member of the party and I have vague recollections of delivering the Scots Independent newspaper at the age of four. So you could say that my involvement in politics was in the blood. However, I think that anyone who observes the world and believes that it can be changed for the better has a responsibility to act on that. I think that was the real spur for my involvement in politics and remains to be so today.
Your interview! However, when I am not working on that, I have mainly been dealing with constituent enquiries. It is quite interesting as a new member to see more and more people come to you as they become aware of your existence. It takes a while to build your profile I suppose, but people aren't shy about coming to you with the issues they want to bring to your attention once they know you are there, and quite right so. Aside from that I have a few other things up my sleeve, but that is where they will remain for just now.
I was hugely involved in campaigning for free education as a student, so to be able to vote for the abolition of the graduate endowment was quite fantastic. I have never understood the argument that students should pay directly for their education because they directly benefit by it. To take that argument to its logical conclusion would be the road to laissez faire madness. After all, if I break my leg I would benefit by visiting hospital to have it reset. Should I pay directly for that as well? Or for any of the myriad of services offered by the state? So to reintroduce the principle of free education in higher education was personally important to me.
They will never be a substitute for the mainstream media because they are by their nature fuelled entirely by personal viewpoint, although it might be a moot point that the media isn't either. However I do think they add something to political debate and informing people. I avidly blogged myself during the election last year, but find it hard to get the time now, although the blog still exists.
Yes. It wouldn't resolve everything overnight and we wouldn't become a utopia, but I do believe we would be far better placed to tackle some of the deep rooted problems we have here in Scotland with independence.
I spent it largely at Wishaw Sports Centre where the count was taking place. My stand out memory of the night was huge disappointment at not winning Cumbernauld and Kilsyth where I was the SNP candidate. This was not only personally disappointing but made me worry that the SNP wasn't in for a great night electorally. Clearly it didn't work out that way. My own election was announced whilst I was asleep. It was taking so long to come through that I decided to retire to bed and was awakened by a text to congratulate me. That was a fairly odd experience.