Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Tom Freeman
23 February 2015
The political party health spokespeople keep active

The political party health spokespeople keep active

It seems MSPs are turning to fitness to keep themselves healthy. Some more than others...

When it comes to the party health spokespeople, Holyrood finds them particularly aware of their own health, and the benefits of physical activity.

Jenny Marra, Scottish Labour: I run. I run myself but I also do parkrun. It’s a community, and I think it’s fantastic. It started in England and every Saturday morning at half past nine in cities and towns across the world now people meet up and run 5k. It’s the same time every week in the same park. They do one in Glasgow Pollock park, in my hometown it’s Camperdown park. Perth do one, St Andrews. I think parkrun is one of the most positive community events I’ve ever taken part in. There are people who are 75 doing it, people who are seven. I also do Yoga. As I’ve got older I realised more and more you have a responsibility to your own body. But it’s easy for me to say that, because I’m in a well-paid job with structure and access to resources and the confidence to do so. These things aren’t so easy in deprived communities where there are barriers to access.

Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Conservatives: I try. I try to exercise by walking as often as I can. I try to eat a varied and sensible diet without always succeeding. I try to be aware and take advice on self-inspection. As I get older I find that whereas I used to say nine days out of 10 that I felt great, I can now bore my family reciting my niggles and pains.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Greens: Many people will know that I used to run professionally, and I still try and get a few good runs in every week. I'm one of parliament's bigger advocates for cycling but I'm not as dedicated to winter commuting as some of my staff!

Jim Hume, Liberal Democrats: I try to watch what I eat and when I eat, which is not easy as an MSP. You may also catch me in the gym next to the Parliament first thing on a Parliamentary day working out. When at home you may also catch me cycling late in the evening in a bid to keep fit for purpose.

Shona Robison, SNP: I try and keep as active as possible – my own Commonwealth Games legacy!

We also asked them what the NHS meant to them.

Jenny Marra: The NHS means a lot to me. As a child I was born with a dislocated hip and spent six months as an infant in plaster, with my mum and dad going up to a clinic in Dundee to have plasters removed and reset. I spent nights in Dundee royal infirmary. I think I’ve got the NHS to thank for the fact I’m walking.

My grandmother, who is now 90, was a nurse, and she was nursing in the Glasgow Royal the day the NHS came into being in 1948. Her father was killed in a mining accident so she knew the worry and stress of having to pay for a doctor. She knew the immense comfort and security our beloved NHS brought to people that day. I feel particularly honoured to have this job because the NHS is Labour’s proudest achievement and I feel it is our moral responsibility to protect and also improve our NHS.

Jackson Carlaw: The security of health care excellence for all, whenever needed, free at the point of delivery.

Alison Johnstone: The NHS means expert care and diagnosis from the start to the end of life.  It's reassuring to know that our local surgery is there to provide advice and guidance and when needed.

Jim Hume: We have all used the NHS at some time of our life, from birth to death our NHS will touch us all.

Shona Robison: First and foremost the care they gave me when I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. For me the NHS has meant that my family has loved ones still with us today that we may have lost had it not been for the care the staff of the NHS gave them. I think that’s something that is common to most every family in the country.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe



Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top