I was really looking forward to the time I was going to spend with MSP Fulton MacGregor and his team. I was invited to the Scottish Parliament by Fulton at around mid-day on the first day of my shadowing programme. My energy levels were very high, and I was really excited to meet Fulton and his team.
I was welcomed by the very lovely Elaine (from Fulton’s team) and Niamh (who was interning with the team at that time). Niamh and Elaine accompanied me to Fulton’s office in the Parliament building where I met him for the first time. I was absolutely delighted to have gotten the opportunity to shadow a person as humble and fantastic as Fulton. He sat down with Niamh and I to give us a detailed introduction into how the office worked and also gave us a view of the types of activities we can be involved in.
Elaine then took us around for a whistle stop tour of the building, which was super helpful. Niamh and I also got a peak into the day to day case work that Fulton’s team deals with.
Fulton later asked us to join a cross party group that was taking place that afternoon and it was a brilliant experience for both of us. We were asked to capture the key points from the session so that we can discuss that with Fulton later on. Overall, the first day of my shadowing programme was a very informative one.
My second day shadowing Fulton began bright and early at the Scottish Parliament. Fulton was very kind to sit down with Niamh and I to explain various key concepts and processes that were followed in the Parliament. Niamh and I then spent an hour or so looking at the case work that she was dealing with (as she was interning full time with Fulton’s team) which was very insightful and gave me a good perspective into how MSP’s teams dealt with various cases that comes to them on a day to day basis.
Niamh and I were also able to attend the meeting where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the intention of Scotland going for independence referendum 2. With the threat of Brexit, many people argued that a second independence referendum will have a different result. This discussion was very insightful, and some really good arguments were placed by MSPs from various parties.
Later that evening, I was also able to attend a working group on Shared Parenting which was fascinating. There were some really good discussions around enabling new parents (both father and mother) with better parental leave policies and better support for new fathers (as a fathers’ mental health is not discussed as much). Overall a great day at the Parliament.
My third day of shadowing included a visit to Fulton’s constituency office which was fantastic. I was able to join Fulton’s team for a street surgery in Coatbridge area as well. When I arrived at Fulton’s office, Elaine welcomed me with a smile and a cup of coffee, which made my day even better.
I sat down with her as she responded to a few queries with regards to the case work she was dealing with. We then left for the street surgery where we were going to see Fulton. It was quite a good experience where we went door to door talking to people about any concerns / worries or thoughts they had and handed out some leaflets about Fulton’s work in the area. Some people chose to share their thoughts very openly, whilst some others said that they did not follow politics and were not interested to discuss anything. It was very insightful to see Fulton having some meaningful and good conversations with residents of Coatbridge.
After the street surgery was over, I took a train back to Edinburgh. On my journey back, I kept thinking how much I have learnt in just a few days that I have spent with Fulton’s team. Fulton and I have discussed a few more days that I can spend with his team and I cannot emphasise how excited I am about that! I would like to extend a BIG thank you to Fulton and his team for being such kind mentors and welcoming me into their office and their work for the last couple of days; I truly feel that this experience has been phenomenal.