I joined Channel 4's economics editor, Paul Mason at the Edinburgh Book Festival to discuss his new book PostCapitalism. It was a thoroughly interesting afternoon with a sell-out crowd. we both managed to fit in some book signings afterwards. I won't mention whose queue was larger!
The first day of September and the first day of a new parliamentary year at the Scottish Parliament. Our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the Government's plans on what marks the beginning one of the most important years ahead of the 2016 Holyrood elections. I especially enjoyed the Rev. Stuart MacQuarrie's Time for Reflection.
I caused a bit of a stir during an interview with Rev. MacQuarrie where I said "I preferred people of faith". Some journalists took this single sentence out of a long interview to suggest I was therefore prejudiced in favour of religious people. The facts stack up somewhat differently.
The point I was making was not about religion but about faith and belief. That is what the Time for Reflection does because it includes humanists believers as well as faith-based religions. And what's more, I was one of the key instigators of it doing exactly that when it was devised back in 1999, when the Scots Parliament was reconvened. And treating people of all faiths and none equally was one of the hallmarks of the administrations which I led.
Elsewhere in the very same interview I made the same point about the validity of humanist belief not once but twice. All I was trying to say is that I prefer when people are able to believe in something rather than believe in nothing.
I could have made the point better of course. Fair enough.
But why would the secular society and others want to overlook a lifetime of treating people equally to jump down my throat over a single sentence.? Or to put it another way what exactly is it that they fear about religious faith which makes them so sensitive?
Following a busy day at parliament, I headed to the BBC studios where I was a guest on Newsnight presented by Emily Maitlis. I was on with UKIP's former leader, Suzanne Evans discussing the impending EU referendum. It was a good discussion, however I had to remind Suzanne that Scotland was actually a nation and not a region as she would like to think.
Another busy day back at Holyrood. It was great to speak with Sue McLintock from Carers Scotland. - a fantastic organisation that offers help and support to carers and professionals up and down the country.
The refugee crisis facing Europe was encapsulated in the horrifying images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on a beach near Bodrum in Turkey.
I was invited onto BBC Radio 4's World at One describing the Prime Minister's inaction to reach a solution to the refugee crisis as shameful.
Scotland Supporting Refugees are a group of volunteers raising awareness about the refugee crisis in Europe, campaigning for action and raising funds to support humanitarian relief for refugees. I was more than willing to show my support.
I was delighted to host my good friend Abdul Majid and his associates at Holyrood for lunch. I have known Mr Majid for many years and he has always been a great supporter of the SNP.
In the afternoon, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tim McGarry, one of Northern Ireland's most prominent comedians. The interview was for a programme he is making for the BBC called Minding Our Language - a documentary exploring and celebrating the Scots language. I also lodged a question to the Scottish Government asking what support was being offered to the Scots language in schools in the North East of Scotland.
I am looking forward to watching the documentary when it comes out later this year.
Later on, I was invited on to the Iain Dale Show on LBC radio to discuss the refugee crisis further. I again called the Prime Minister's inaction as "shameful" and called on the UK Government to do its bit and help these people in need. You can listen to my interview below.
Many thanks to Deveron Arts for hosting my Huntly surgeries. Many important local issues discussed.
Following my surgeries, I met up with Donald Boyd from the Huntly Development Trust. These are the first of the new fleet of electric cars as part of the soon-to-be-launched Co Wheels Car Club. A great local initiative.
Aberdeenshire East constituency association meeting in New Deer where we were pleased to nominate Fergus Mutch as list candidate for the North East Scotland ahead of the 2016 Holyrood elections.
I also donated one of three publisher's editions of the new paperback version of The Dream Shall Never Die to the fundraising auction. The winning bid was from Constituency Organiser, George Petrie with £150. Gillian Martin's campaign is off to a flyer already!