Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights

Laity Senghore: Shadowing Scheme

Laity Senghore: Shadowing Scheme

First day shadowing MSP Anne McTaggart. 

My first day shadowing was a day of so much apprehension and nervousness. I did a quick background check on the MSP I was meant to be shadowing the previous night and on the day I woke up quite early and prepared by ironing my suit and attire. I did a brief recheck of the address to finding my way to the complex housing the MSP’s off at woodlands Road. After a short ride on the bus, I finally walked a couple of minutes to arrive at the office door and pressed the buzzer labelled MSP. A soothing and welcoming voice received the intercom to usher me in the complex. She introduced herself as the parliamentary secretary to Anne. She made me welcomed and introduces me to all other members of the office staff as it was a shared with other councillors. A quick meeting was convened to formally welcome me and explain the terms of the shadowing and sign the contract form. Although Anne was not in office that day busy with prior engagements, she however acknowledges my presence and offered her working desk in the office for my use. As per requested an account was created with log in details to allow me access areas of the Scottish parliament files and Anne’s own personal blogs from motions she raised, bills she supported and proposed, to various parliamentary committee meeting she attended. I browsed through her blogs to find out what her daily routine and weekly rota looks like. Days she will be at the parliament for the First minister’s question time. On what days she offers surgeries at the constituency off and what kind of surgery, which I found out to be more on line than face to face. This was followed by a break for lunch and when we resumed, I was shown some of the office correspondence she receives and what her preferred mode of reply to those mail are. The day ended on a very high note having settled in nice an easy from day one. The next shadowing day was agreed on and I was out of office. Thanks to the support of the office for making my day such a memorable one.

Shadowing Scheme Day 2

The second day shadowing Anne was a much more relaxed one. I started the day by replying to her emails from individual to constituency ones. This took a long time because it has to be done a specific way that conforms to her style. However, I was successfully able to complete the task to which the parliamentary secretary was very pleased. Then I was shown how to research speech by first knowing the speaker words per minute count and how long will they be talking. Knowing the topic and making research using the parliamentary SPICE resources for more briefings, facts and analysis. Other resources may be found on the party website which might be useful. My next task will be writing a speech and a motion for the MSP to deliver at the parliament on her next visit. Several invitations to various functions are currently in the office and am looking forward to gracing some of the events with the MSP.

Visit to Glasgow City Chambers



The visit was organised by Zandra the community coordinator for the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights. The visit started with the usual security at the reception desk and the issuing of authorization passes to each precipitant. Then the first port of call was at a conference hall where we were welcomed by Councillor Mohammed Razaq and offered some refreshments. He went further to hand out individual packs of the agenda of the day. Cllr Razaq then formally introduced himself and what portfolio he held at the chambers and the various organisations and committees he is a chair of. This among others is representing the Lady Provost. However, the most toughing and heart-warming part of his narrations was his personal journey to Scotland from Pakistan where he was born.

As an unschooled young boy herding goats back home, he found himself in Scotland where formal education was a way out. He got involved in a family business but realise after some time he need a break to see what he can contribute to society. He volunteered for a good number of years in his community and gained the reorganization to be nominated to contest a councillor position and won and still continues to held update. He continued to say if he can make it this far anyone can but strongly advised taking up volunteering in your community as a gate way to success.

In the afternoon we were admitted into the Council Chamber to witness the live budget amendments debates chaired by the Lady Provost. It was a very sobering experience as we get to understand how, what amount of the budget gets to be spent on the various council development projects. Some cross party consensus can be reached on some budgetary matters. During the live chamber sessions, a minute silence was observed and some motions were raised by the various Councillors as the day conceded with the holocaust memorial day to sympathize and condemn the most inhumane act of all times.

The day started with the usual logging in on the working desk to access areas of the Scottish parliament website. I then responded to some of the office correspondence on behalf of the MSP. Further to that i went through the amendments on the draft bill by ANNE on the soft opt out on organ donation current on its final stages at the parliament. Then an idea came into mind to make a small scale research on the under representation of BME's in main stream politics both local and national level. I sent a few quick E- mails out looking for resources and documents especially from SPICE which is the main parliamentary resource center for facts, analysis and more briefings. The aim of the research is to give me an opportunity to develop a motion and write a speech with facts and figures to be presented to the Scottish parliament, outlining what the way forward in harnessing aspirations and interests of BME's in politics and how an early engagement during primary education would be of utmost importance. As it was time for the first minister's question time, we tuned in to listen to the live sessions from the parliament. This was to be followed by campaigning which unfortunately did not materialized due to a flight delay. However, i have high hopes to be back campaigning this week with the parliamentary officers.  

Shadowing Scheme Day 3

The day started with the usual logging in on the working desk to access areas of the Scottish parliament website. I then responded to some of the office correspondence on behalf of the MSP. Further to that I went through the amendments on the draft bill by Anne on the soft opt out on organ donation current on its final stages at the parliament.

Then an idea came into mind to make a small scale research on the under representation of BME's in mainstream politics both local and national level. I sent a few quick e- mails out looking for resources and documents especially from SPICE which is the main parliamentary resource center for facts, analysis and more briefings. The aim of the research is to give me an opportunity to develop a motion and write a speech with facts and figures to be presented to the Scottish parliament, outlining what the way forward in harnessing aspirations and interests of BME's in politics and how an early engagement during primary education would be of utmost importance. As it was time for the first minister's question time, we tuned in to listen to the live sessions from the parliament. This was to be followed by campaigning which unfortunately did not materialized due to a flight delay. However, I have high hopes to be back campaigning this week with the parliamentary officers.