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Language: English / Gàidhlig

Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is Lucy McKee, who is a membership ambassador for Enable Scotland. Lucy’s contribution has been pre-recorded.

Lucy McKee (Enable Scotland)

Thank you, Presiding Officer, for inviting me to address the Parliament in today’s time for reflection. It is a privilege to speak to you.

I am a membership ambassador for Enable Scotland, which is Scotland’s largest charity for our citizens who have a learning disability. We campaign to bring real change to the lives of people with a learning disability and their families across Scotland, and our ACE—advisory committee of Enable Scotland—and ACE youth groups connect them to their wider communities, thereby supporting them to grow in confidence, rise to their ambitions, make friends, live independently and, ultimately, be leaders of their communities rather than just observers.

Enable Scotland began in 1954, when family carers in Glasgow first came together with the idea that Scotland could be a better place for people with a learning disability. We have made great progress, but we have still not come far enough. Nearly 70 years later, people with a learning disability face bullying, institutional living, lower life expectancy, more hardship and greater isolation than their fellow citizens who do not have a learning disability.

We saw that inequality throughout the pandemic, with people who have a learning disability being more likely to catch Covid, more likely to become seriously ill and more likely to die than the general population. We still see that as we emerge from the pandemic.

People with a learning disability are campaigning to uphold their human rights and to live in the home of their choice, in the community that they like, close to the people whom they love. Still, that is denied to too many people with a learning disability in our country.

Every day, children with a learning disability face going to school where they are not legally protected against restraint, and where they experience seclusion in education settings. That damages their mental health and wellbeing for years into adulthood.

Children and adults with a learning disability in Scotland face so many injustices. I know that you will join me in supporting Enable’s fight for an equal society for everyone with a learning disability in Scotland—for everyone to be included and represented.

One day—and one day soon—I hope that someone with a learning disability will be a member of this Parliament. People with a learning disability have much to give society. They can be leaders, they are role models and they have ambitions and want to be teachers, artists, journalists, actors, musicians and—yes—politicians, too. They deserve the same opportunities that are offered to everyone else.

I ask you to be as ambitious as I am in pushing for change, for opportunity, for aspiration and for hope. Ensure that no more generations of people with a learning disability will be invisible or left behind. Be bold. Be impatient. Be strong. From today, Scotland can truly start its journey to being an equal society.

Thank you.

Thank you very much indeed, Lucy.