Jamie with Kate Forbes MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and Erin McAuley MSYP for Cunningham South 

What an exciting month it has been! 

As well as attending the Scottish Youth Parliaments 61st national sitting that took place at St Stephens High/Port High School in Inverclyde, I also attended the Attainment in Education event that SYP held on October 11th in conjunction with partners Young Scot and Children in Scotland where I discussed with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, the importance of rural pupils in schools getting access to as wide a range of subject choices as their peers who live on the mainland do. October is also the month where I’ve been preparing for travelling to Canada where I'll be attending the 8th Commonwealth Youth Parliaments sitting which is, this year, being held in Victoria, British Columbia. 

As always, the sitting in Inverclyde entailed a packed schedule, whereas a membership, we passed a variety of motions and had multiple debates on important issues regarding our constituents.  Motions allow every member to publicly speak on a certain issue, and campaign for change with the backing and support of SYP. We debated motions such as; EU nationals, Sale of Cannabis, Voting Systems, Financial Support for Students and Creative and Journalism Sector Jobs just to name a few. In addition to motions, we had updates from the board of trustees, telling us where we were without national campaign - Speak Your Mind, which is focussed on the mental health of young people. Social media workshops were also included in the sitting. An interesting description of the power of negative social media I found was, like toothpaste, one you squeeze it out the tube, there is no way to get it back inside. Just as, with social media, once it’s out there, it can no longer be taken back. This is an important message, for people of all ages! Finally, at the sitting, myself along with some other MSYP’s, had our first Creative Communications Team meeting. We set up a means of internal communication between the group and discussed what kind of communication we thought were most effective, and the various ways we could improve communication within the membership. I look forward to the months ahead, where we can work together to ensure SYP is even more so, in the public eye.

When speaking to the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, I raised my concerns over the lack of subject choice in rural schools as opposed to mainland schools. I discussed with him, the disadvantage this can put young people at, in rural communities. Some higher learning courses specify certain subject combinations in there entry requirements, which leaves some young people unable to choose what might have been their first choice university or college. The Deputy First Minister suggested online learning, and conference learning as a solution to this problem.

Following on from my meeting with Argyll and Bute MP, Brendan O’Hara, I have contacted Michael Russell MSP, to request a meeting with him to discuss the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and issues raised by young people within Argyll and Bute.

I leave for Canada on November 6th and return on the 10th. I will be posting regular blog updates on my social media accounts as well as recording a blog diary along with Erin Mcauley MSYP. I look forward to telling you all about what we get up to at the Commonwealth Youth Parliament!

For any questions or queries regarding my work at SYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP. 

Jamie with Erin McAuley MSYP for Cunningham South

From travelling to Canada, getting on 6 separate flights, meeting people from across the world, learning all about parliamentary process and to scheduling to meet Michael Russell MSP for Argyll & Bute early next year, November has been a phenomenal month, to say the least!

I delivered three speeches in the British Columbia Legislative Chamber during youth parliamentary proceedings as well as one speech at the closing dinner of the 8th Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP8) attended by the 29th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia which was held at Her Honours official residence of Government House, British Columbia. To represent the young people of Argyll & Bute is the greatest honour of my life and to represent all the Scottish young people at an international level was the greatest privilege of my life. 

Debating key world issues such as apprenticeships and internships, poverty, education, healthcare and social justice was an incredible experience. Hearing all the different views from the various countries represented is an opportunity that cannot be replicated. 

I have posted the video of my statement I delivered to the chamber where I discussed the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and the beauty that Argyll and Bute has on offer to my MSYP Facebook page. The response from friends and family has been overwhelming and I am eternally grateful for their kind words.

On my Facebook and Twitter pages, you can find a daily blog from my time in Canada, as well as videos and pictures of everything I got up to. I’m also excited to announce that I am in the process of creating a short film of Erin McAuley MSYP and myself’s experience at CYP8. I hope you look forward to that as much as I am enjoying making it!

I have also chosen Novembers' Voice of Youth Buteman article to announce that I will be standing for re-election to the Scottish Youth Parliament in our constituency of Argyll & Bute. I have had the most wonderful of opportunities being your MSYP but my work is not yet finished. We have much more to do in terms of campaigning for an improved mental healthcare system, we need to pressure our council to improve subject choice within our schools and we need to ensure all young people have access to the same opportunities. These are, of course, just a handful of the reasons why I want to continue to represent all of the young people of Argyll & Bute. I will be releasing more information about my new campaign for the 2017/19 term early next year on my social media accounts. 

I am also in the process of securing a meeting with Argyll & Bute’s MSP Mike Russell. I’ve requested a meeting with the MSP to discuss the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and to seek clarification and understanding on a range of issues important to the young people of Argyll & Bute. It will also be early next year and I look forward to updating, via this column, everyone on the conversation we shall be having.

I’d like to finish by thanking everyone who has encouraged me, given me advice and inspired me in the work that I do. I can’t express how much I appreciate all of it. Thank you.

For any questions or queries regarding my work at SYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP.

So far 2017 has been a particular highlight of my time as your Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Argyll & Bute. As always at the end of March, we have one of our sittings and our annual SYP Awards show. This year the sitting was held at Holy Rood High School in Edinburgh. I am very thankful to be able to say I was awarded the ‘Communicator of the Year’ award sponsored by Edelman. I am incredibly grateful to be recognised for my work. But more importantly, it has shown me that I am headed in the right direction in terms of my desire to affect real change for the young people of Argyll & Bute. That has always been, and will always remain my main focus particularly now since I have recently been re-elected. 

It is now exam time for all senior pupils across Argyll & Bute. The stresses of such a time don't get much higher for a young person than they will now. Having recently left school I completely understand the pressure one feels under and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely wish all of the young people who will be sitting their examinations well. I know how difficult a time this is, and just know you are not alone in the fear and anticipation at what you may be faced with. One thing you can be sure of is that they will be over soon and summer is on the horizon!

I have to mention that I was alarmed when I found out that the 4th Year pupils in Rothesay Academy will not be receiving ‘study leave’ this year. I know how much I needed study leave throughout all the years I sat my exam to relieve me from the burden of a strict school timetable. The freedom to structure my day around the different subjects I was studying undoubtedly made me feel in control and gave me more confidence in my exams. 

As this is only my viewpoint, I asked the current 4th Year how they felt about the decision. This is what some had to say - ‘we think it should be a choice, as some people study better at home or at school’ - ‘I think everyone in our year is extremely disappointed in their decision to take away our study leave, especially as the S5s and S6s are still getting study leave. A lot of pupils feel like the school are saying that our qualifications are less important than the S5s and S6s.’ - ‘some S4's are doing the same amount/more Nat 5's than the S5's and they still get study leave and some people think that's unfair.’ The destain towards this decision is evident and I agree with the pupils. It’s also important to note that is not a constituency decision. I don't know of any other schools in Argyll & Bute that have taken away study leave for fourth-year pupils.

On the 27th of April, I will be attending the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards. I cannot wait to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of Scotland’s young people.

Finally, with the upcoming Council Elections and now the forthcoming General Election it is crucial that all young people eligible to vote actually do register to vote. Votes at 16 and 17 was a difficult achievement but we can proudly say that in Scotland we did it. I absolutely believe that young people have played an active and positive role in democracy through voting in Scotland since 2014. Unfortunately, UK-wide votes at 16 is a different story but it’s a change I will always be fighting to make.​

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - January 2018 Edition

At the time of writing, it’s nearly Christmas 2016 and it is nearly 2017. What a year it has been! This means it is nearly time for me to get back on the campaign trail. I am excited to be launching my campaign for re-election as Argyll & Bute’s member of the Scottish Youth Parliament early in the new year. If re-elected I can continue to lobby politicians and pressure our council to ensure our young people get more opportunities and are considered a top priority.

Lately, I have been very busy editing a short documentary style video of myself and Erin McAuley MSYP (Cunningham South). This short documentary will feature interviews with both of us, discussing what we got up to in Canada and how the experience has impacted us. The video - a presentation from the Scottish Youth Parliament - shall also include video footage and pictures taken during my week at the eighth Commonwealth Youth Parliament. In the run up to its official release by the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, I will be realising individual interview clips, via my Facebook and Twitter pages, to give you all a taste of what our experience was like.

On Thursday the 24th of November, I launched my official MSYP website (http://www.jamieamurray.com). I wanted a place, which the young people of Argyll & Bute and further afield, could easily access as it contains all of the information required to keep up to date with my local work and that of the Scottish Youth Parliament. On my website, you can find all of my three previous Voice of Youth Buteman columns. In addition, you can read all of my Commonwealth Youth Parliament Experience blog posts as well as view all of the pictures from Canada. The video links for all the proceedings at the British Columbia legislative assembly will be added soon to allow every constituent the chance to see what topics and in what manner, we were debating. I also plan to add a new section for my upcoming re-election campaign very soon! 

I have secured a meeting date with Michael Russell (MSP for Argyll & Bute) for early in the new year. I am excited to meet with Mr Russell to discuss the Scottish Youth Parliaments campaign on mental health: Speak Your Mind. I will also be seeking information on what action has been taken in terms of improving the variety of subject choice in our secondary schools within Argyll & Bute as I know for many, this is a key issue. I think it’s also important to establish a working relationship with our politicians so we can actually achieve things that have a direct effect on the problems that we face. If anybody at all has any issues they would like me to raise with Mr. Russell next year, please don't hesitate to get in contact with me.

In finishing, I would like to say that I hope each and everyone of the great people of Argyll & Bute had a very merry Christmas and I wish you all an incredible New Years. See you in 2017!

For any questions or queries regarding my work at SYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk, contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my new website: http://www.jamieamurray.com. 

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - December 2017 Edition

Jamie Murray MSYP at SYP64 in the Scottish Parliament discussing Island Life.

I have had a very exciting and very busy month to begin the year. I submitted a video summarising what I’ve done during my time as a MSYP or the Argyll & Bute Youth Achievement Awards that took place in January (more on that later) and I’d like to share some of my remarks I recorded for the video. “I aim to make a meaningful difference to the lives of young people by continuing to speak and campaign on behalf of the young people of Argyll & Bute who feel they do not have a voice.” From every person I meet to every meeting I attend, I believe it is my responsibility to discuss how truly great the young people of Argyll & Bute are. I am in awe of the talent on show from our young people and I know that the future is bright for our constituency.

On the 22nd of January, I had the privilege of attending another board of trustees meeting at SYPHQ in Edinburgh. It was good to see my fellow trustees again in the new year. It was agreed that I would create a video of the Scottish Youth Parliaments weekend residential which took place at Bonaly Outdoor Centre in Edinburgh over the first weekend in February. Keep an eye out on social media for some previews for that video!

I was delighted to accept an invitation to attend the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London during April of this year. This opportunity excites me greatly as it means I can continue my work as a Commonwealth Youth Parliamentarian representing Scotland in its entirety. In 2016, I attended the 8th Commonwealth Youth Parliament in Canada, where I had an incredible experience debating and sharing ideas with young people from across the commonwealth. In addition to that, I will be speaking at the Additional Support for Learning Policy Conference Keynote Seminar in Edinburgh in April, which is a topic I feel strongly about.  I will be meeting with the SYP’s Education committee to receive their take on the issue and welcome advise on this topic from people within the sector. Finally, during July of this year I will be attending the Royal Garden Party in my role as MSYP for Argyll & Bute where Her Majesty The Queen will be in attendance.

Lastly for January, I was asked to co-host the Argyll & Bute Youth Achievement Awards in Helensburgh last month along with Paul McIlvenny, Senior Development Worker at Youth Scotland. The night itself showcased that we have some of the brightest and most talented young people living in our constituency. Young people who strive to make a difference to the lives of others and who passionately use their talents and hard work for good in the communities they live in. Every nominated young person and group illustrated adequately that Argyll & Bute's young people have so much to offer and the drive and dedication required to pursue their dreams. I was fortunate enough to win an award on the night - The Citizenship Award - for which I am immensely grateful for but more importantly, our Isle of Bute was superbly on display with Kiera Rutherford who was up for and won the Unsung Hero Award and Yasmin Price who was nominated for the Youth Sporting Award.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - October 2017 Edition

Jamie Murray MSYP during his campaign visit to Campbeltown Grammar in March 2017.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Unfortunately, the way The Buteman Column rota rotates my last article was was written in early December of last year and I didn’t take that opportunity to send my well wishes to all my constituents on Bute for the upcoming festive season. On Twitter I asked everyone to spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves during the festive period. It is a time for family, friends and goodwill but also a time for reflecting and thinking about the many people who are not so lucky. I hope everyone had a lovely time however you choose to celebrate.

As always, December flew in very fast up until the days just before Christmas. I was kept very busy, I moved out of my flat on the mainland, finished college for the year, attended a road trip with a Scottish Government Minister, met with my Argyll & Bute counter part in SYP, attended an SYP board meeting and the comms team at SYP, of which I lead in my role as Trustee, published our final regional update graphics for the year on social media.

On Friday the 15th of December, I along with fellow SYP trustees visited four wonderful organisations with the Scottish Government Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd MSP and Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights. This was the final part of SYPs #RightsRoadTrip which took place in Fife and in Glasgow.

Throughout the day we chaired sessions with organisations that fight to protect the rights of children and young people in a whole host of ways. I was first up to chair a session, with the first organisation being the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights Scotland, a charity on a mission to promote racial justice across Scotland. It was particularly interesting to hear about the work they have been doing to protect the rights of young people from Black and Minority Ethnicity (BME) backgrounds. We talked at length on the issue of a need for a shift in the culture of harassment and discrimination. It was mentioned that education isn't enough anymore. There has to be a real effort to change societies attitude toward young people of BME backgrounds. What I took away from the meeting and what I considered to be an important thing to remember is that anyone can behave or think in a racist or xenophobic way and structural racism is still deeply ingrained in our society. For me, the meeting reinforced that we must continue in our campaign to fight for the rights of children and young people to be upheld and respected. We must as a youth parliament and as a society, pursue the cause for effective engagement with young people across Scotland to ensure we start to make a change to what is still a societal normality: racial discrimination and prejudice.

To end our fantastic day last month, our last visit was to Who Cares? Scotland. This was perhaps the most impactful session the day as we got to meet and speak with Care Experienced young people who truly have incredible stories and journeys to share. I found it both heart-warming and heart-breaking at times as we heard from young people who are back living with their parents and young people who have recently been informed that their residential home will be closing and they will effectively be homeless in March. Sometimes in the busyness of life we often forget that there are other young people in Scotland going through much more testing and stressful times in their lives through no fault of their own. I left in awe and in complete admiration of these incredibly brave and strong young people.

I had a very interesting meeting with Roanna (support worker for Argyll & Bute MSYPs) and with my fellow Argyll & Bute MSYP Ailie Stewart in December. Ailie has recently returned home from a few months volunteering and teaching children in India so we felt it was important to meet up and establish where we are and how we wish to move forward this year. Ailie, following on from her campaign manifesto discussed the possibility of having a LGBTQ+ event in Argyll & Bute this year, to fit in with 2018 Year of Young People. I am delighted to support Ailie in this endeavour as I feel it is something many young people across Argyll & Bute are at a disadvantage with. There are very little LGBTQ+ groups and many young people who would like to be a part of one often find them non accessible. If there are any young people who would like to get involved please contact me. Myself and Ailie will be in contact with Pupil Leadership teams across A&B schools to get the ball rolling on this project.

We are also putting plans in place to pen a joint newsletter that will begin this year, and continue throughout to better inform our constituents. Another item discussed at the meeting last year was Mental Health First Aid training for young people. We are working with Roanna to find out about applying for and secured finding for Argyll & Bute, which is already underway. This was an issue high up on my agenda throughout my re-election campaign and I am exciting to be working on it. It is an awfully important issue and one that must never be put on the back burner.

There is a lot of work going on and I look forward to an exciting year ahead and continuing to represent the great young people of Argyll & Bute. I wish everyone a lovely 2018.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - December Edition 

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - March/Mid-April 2018 Edition

Jamie Murray MYSP holding his (soon to be published) document outlining his plans moving forward.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - February 2018 Edition

Jamie Murray MSYP in debate in the Legislative Chamber of British Columbia.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - April 2017 Edition 


August! A notoriously busy month for students as we prepare to begin and return to our courses. The summer has drawn to a close although some would argue we never actually got one. Nonetheless, we move on and get back to work.

Excitingly, August was the month in which the applications for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Creative Communications Team, lead by me, were received. Myself, former Buteman editor (now SYP Communications officer) Karen Keith and a trusted SYP external advisor had the nearly impossible job of assembling together a team from the vast array of talented MSYPs who applied for the team. I am very confident we have assembled a fantastic team of committed and talented MSYPs.

I envision a future where all young people across Scotland know and understand what SYP is all about. I imagine a day where school and further education students as well as young people in employment seek out their members of the youth parliament, in order to raise local issues with them. Wether it be in education, in employment or in anything at all. We exist solely, in my view, to be the voices of Scotland’s young people. With the formation of this years Creative Communications team now complete, we can now get hard to work on expanding SYPs reach, locally and nationally. It’s so important that we continue to be an outward looking organisation. After all, we’re made up of young people who want things to be different. Young people who are passionate about opportunities for young people. We know it won’t be easy, but we stand ready for the fight for our rights to be adhered to. That is why I am so chuffed that MSYPs voted for our new national campaign to be focused on the rights of children and young people.

August is also a month school pupils head back to school. Much to the pleasure of their parents and carers! I wish all returning school pupils every success for the coming year and most important of all, I hope you make the most of your time in school and have fun. Wether it be an S1-3 pupil, desperate to move up the ladder of age and get that senior tie or the slightly more serious senior pupils about to embark on courses with exams in mind. One thing I will say, as someone who didn't get the results I wanted in school please don’t think your life is over. It can truly be a blessing in disguise. You just have to adjust your plans keeping in mind your end goal. Please don't panic, stay calm and stay positive. There is always a way. Put it in perspective. That is what I tried to do and I soon realised there are various pathways to success. I used to feel like without university I would be a failure but in fact I love my course at college. I’ve met friends for life and learned so many new practical skills. If anyone feels like the way I used to feel, please get in touch. I know how it feels. But, perhaps most crucially, I’ve gotten passed that feeling of disappointment. 

I will also be travelling to SYPHQ in Edinburgh this month to take part in some very important work about support for children with additional support needs. As a board of Trustees, we felt I was best placed to take part in this work given my experience working in this area with local Rothesay charity: Achievement Bute. I look forward to updating you all very soon about this exciting opportunity.

I have also written to the leader of Argyll & Bute council, Cllr. Morton to request a meeting with her and her team in Kilmory in the near future. I feel it is extremely important, as young people, to establish meaningful links with our council to ensure our rights are being considered and upheld. I hope to cover a variety of topics with Cllr. Morton including; secondary and further education opportunities, SYPs mental health campaign Speak Your Mind, mental health provisions for young people in Argyll & Bute and more generally, how we can work together to ensure the voices of young peoples are always being heard at council level. 

Finally, I would like to extend my upmost congratulations to Ryan Craig and Ludwig Nemiro on being duly elected School Captains of Rothesay Academy for the upcoming year. It’s a big reasonability and role to take on but I am in no doubt you both will carry out your duties throughout this year with passion and dedication. I look forward to hearing about your upcoming ventures as School Captains and I wish you both all the best.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Jamie Murray MYSP and Thomas-Alexander McEachan MSYP @ the SYP Awards 2017

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - July 2017 Edition

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - January 2017 Edition 

Happy New Year Argyll & Bute. I hope everybody had a lovely and enjoyable festive period. I am very excited for my very first column of 2017. This is also the fifth column I have written for The Buteman, and as always, I am incredibly thankful to get to do so.

Early In January, I met with Michael Russell, the member of the Scottish Parliament for Argyll & Bute at his first constituency surgery of 2017. We had an important discussion about the shortage of opportunities for young people living in Argyll & Bute. I emphasised that all too often, young people feel they need to move out of the constituency in order to enhance their prospects. This was a concern Mr Russell shared with me.

We also had an extensive conversation about the need for improvement in Argyll & Bute's mental health services.  I suggested that, especially in secondary schools, young people feel that they are not provided with satisfactory support. I was encouraged to look into this area in more detail. Something which I am committed to doing as Mental Health services in Argyll & Bute will be a main focal point of my upcoming campaign for re-election to the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Finally, I told Mr Russell that subject variety in rural schools was an ongoing issue that I feel needs addressed. Last year, I discussed with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, the importance of rural pupils in schools getting access to as wide a range of subject choices as their peers who live on the mainland do. He proposed conference learning as a solution to this problem. In practical terms, I am not sure this would work. I believe more action needs to take place, and perhaps more investment, to ensure all young people, across all rural constituencies, are provided with equal opportunities. A varied education is crucial for the development of young people. 

I have also been working closely with the Scottish Youth Parliaments staff team to ensure my video from my time at the 8th Commonwealth Youth Parliament in Canada is effective and as entertaining as possible. I want to convey how important a trip it was for myself and Erin and also to show, how much we gained from our experience. The video will hopefully be played at the next sitting of SYP which will be held in March.

As you are reading this, I will have met with Mr Russell once again in January, at the Scottish Parliament, to film a video that will be used for my re-election campaign. I am standing for re-election to further my mission of ensuring young people living in Argyll & Bute, are not only listened to carefully by decision makers, but are consulted with regularly on the decision that directly affects us. This includes; waiting times for mental health services for young people, subject variety in schools (particularly rural schools), the lack of modern apprenticeships and job opportunities for young people in Argyll & Bute and ensuring that every young person feels equal and are treated as such. The Scottish Youth Parliament provides me with the platform to speak for you. If re-elected, that is exactly what I will always strive to do.

For any questions or queries regarding my work at SYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk, contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

I kicked off the month of July with a casual meeting with Peter Atkins of Ardbeg Baptist Church on Bute. We had an incredibly interesting and insightful exchange of opinions and viewpoints regarding young people on the Isle of Bute. We both shared our excitement of seeing young people on Bute walking around our town during summertime. Education was an imminent topic of our discussions. I highlighted my frustrations with the Curriculum for Excellence scheme the Scottish Government poorly implemented in 2014. I was quick to explain my experience of stress, lack of preparation and constant anxiety that I and so many of my peers suffered in 2014 and in the subsequent years that followed. I have always said this was my initial reason for standing for the Scottish Youth Parliament and it remains a thought in the back of my mind in all the work I do and have done to this day with regards to SYP. 

We had a lengthy discussion about religion amongst the young people of Bute. I shared my view that I felt it is fairly non-existent within the young community. Young people, as I’ve noticed from speaking about religion with constituents, isn't an area of particular interest or concern. It isn't something I’ve concerned myself with personally but that is also true for the majority of young people across Argyll & Bute. Many of us see it as a service dedicated to the older community. We don't see it, as Peter highlighted in our talk, as a safe space to relax and unwind, free of any anxiety and exterior worry.

I always find it an eye-opening and refreshing experience discussing the reason why I remain an MSYP. I firmly believe we serve a purpose as young public figures as we can challenge the figureheads of the systems we feel let us, and society, down. This can be in education, in work and in a whole host of other areas. It is our collective job, as elected youth representatives, to stand up for the people who put us here. To be the voices of their deep-rooted frustration, pain and anger. I would encourage anyone reading this to have your discussions of anger and frustrations with me and with your friends. Talk about your worries. Change can only happen when we take action. If we project our voices loud enough, we force decision makers to listen.

On the 13th and 14th of July, I took part in my training days for my role as Trustee of SYP. It was admittedly a challenging two days of company law, accounts, company business plan discussions and learning about OSCR (the independent regulator and registrar of Scottish charities). As a board, we settled on a priories list which will see us through our one year term as SYP’s Trustees. We also enjoyed a ghost tour of the Edinburgh old town which was scary and fun! As well as this, I have set up a Board of Trustees Twitter account which makes us more accountable and assessable that ever. 

Finally, it is now the time for members motions to be submitted for SYP’s next national sitting which will be in Scottish Parliament building. This is my call to all constituents of Argyll & Bute to contact me urgently if they wish to consult with me on any issue at all and create a members motion upon which I will campaign on and fulfil one my manifesto commitment of always speaking up for Argyll & Bute’s young people. It’s a great opportunity to elevate your frustration with something to a public level through the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Aside from politics, I would like to say that I hope all Butefest attendees had an amazing time (despite the weather) this year! I think such a spectacle is great for our Island and I look forward to attending next year.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - September Edition

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - August 2017 Edition

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - March 2017 Edition 

Jamie Murray MSYP with Brendan O'Hara, MP for Argyll & Bute.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - May 2017 Edition


The Board of Trustees (From left to right) Jack Norquoy MSYP for Orkney, Thomas A McEachan MSYP for Glasgow Pollok, Suki Wan MSYP for Glasgow Shettleston and Vice-Chair of SYP, Amy Lee Fraioli MSYP for Rutherglen and Chair of SYP, Jamie Murray MSYP for Argyll & Bute and Sonny Thomason MSYP for Shetland.

I attended SYP65 (SYP’s national sitting) in North Ayrshire this month. It was rescheduled due too the snow storms and therefore it was a shorter sitting than usual but nonetheless, a very interesting and worthwhile one. We had our annual SYP awards show on the Friday night, where the Creative Communications Team that I lead, won an award for Area or Group of the Year. It was very pleasing to see all our hard work being celebrated in front of the membership. 

I was delighted to attend the first every SYP Skills Residential in January of this year and I have been excited to be able to publish the video I created along with the Creative Comms Team which I lead at SYP. It documents brilliantly why MSYPs enjoy working together to share best practice, inspire one and other and develop their facilitation and consultation skills with other like-minded young people. The video can be found on my social media profiles and on my website.

I have been preparing for my upcoming speech at the Scotland Policy Conferences Keynote Seminar: Next steps for Additional Support for Learning provision taking place on Tuesday, 24th April 2018 in Edinburgh. I will be discussing the need for young people to be ‘let in’ on the conversations organisations and the Scottish Government are having about how best to support young people with additional support needs. Drawing from my own experience working in the sector and detailing the thoughts of colleagues I have worked with and young people who receive support, I will be encouragingly key stakeholders to implement a rights-based approach to decision making.

Once again, I had the privilege of representing the young people of Scotland on the Commonwealth stage, at this year's Commonwealth Youth Forum in London. It was a brilliant event where young people from across the Commonwealth fed directly into discussions on massively important issues such as sustainability, security, fairness and prosperity. I heard many well known public figures speak during the three days I attended such as Prince William, Prince Harry, Bill Gates, Prime Minister Theresa May and a whole host of current and former high ranking public figures from across the Commonwealth. During an inclusion panel, discussion one panellists made a crucial point: “The biggest threat to democracy is young people who do not turn up to vote.” I completely agree with that remark. It can be difficult trying to encourage young people to have faith in the political system at times but it is vital we continue to show we are interested. One day it will be us who make the important decisions. We fought to be enfranchised from 16 onwards in Scotland and I believe it is pivotal we illustrate why that was necessary. 

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Welcome to the eleventh edition of my monthly Buteman column. I really do enjoy writing these articles every month to show you all exactly what I get up to in my role as the Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Argyll & Bute. I find it an incredibly useful tool to be able to express my personal feelings towards current events that affect the young people of Argyll & Bute but perhaps what I appreciate most is being able to stand up for young people in such a public way. After all, that is the reason I stood for re-election to the youth parliament.

On Monday 4th of September, I traveled to SYP HQ in Edinburgh for a board meeting with my fellow trustees. We see the organisation taking great steps forward in terms of our internal communication structures and we have seen an incredible amount of work going on in all regions across the country. This is of course as a result of the hard work of individual members. The great thing about a voluntary organisation is you get as much out of it as you are prepared to put into it. Quite often, in fact, you get more out of it. The issues that SYP deals with are youth-based, and to see our work being championed by the likes of the First Minister, in her speech discussing twenty years of devolution, I think highlights the dedication of MSYPs to promoting the views of Scotlands young people. 

As I face the opportunity and challenge, within my remit as a trustee of SYP, to extend our organisations reach and ensure good public relations I had the honour this month of appearing on the six o’clock BBC News to discuss devolution and its effects on young people. I honestly believe without the Scottish Parliament, SYP despite being one day older, would seize to exist. The relationships MSYPs have been able to build with our counterparts in the Scottish Parliament have been incredibly useful in promoting issues of interest for the young people of Scotland. This, of course, includes Votes at 16, Smoking ban, Poverty and more recently, Mental Health. As I said when being filmed, having a parliament in Scotland brings politics back home, and makes the possibility of real tangible change seem realistic. I will always believe that and I remain thankful to the Scottish people who voted in favour of reconvening the Scottish Parliament, because if that decision had not been made, as Scottish young people, we would not be nearly as engaged or as intrigued by politics and the effects it can often have on peoples lives as we are today.

On Tuesday 19th of September, I traveled to Helensburgh for a meeting I had organised with Cllr. Morton, who is the leader of Argyll & Bute Council. I have been very keen to establish the MSYPs of Argyll & Bute as a point of contact for elected officials wishing to hear the views of young people in our constituency. We had a very enjoyable and insightful meeting in Helensburgh. We discussed an array of topics ranging from my involvement in the arrival of the Syrian Refugees a few years ago to Bute, and the subsequent backlash and criticism I have faced from some local people on Bute as a result. We talked about the challenges young people face trying to start their working lives in Argyll & Bute, in terms of a lack of opportunity and job creation. I used this opportunity with the Leader of the council to show all the work that we do at SYP and how the consultations we carry out could be very interesting for council members to have a look at. I believe we have made a start to what I hope will be a regular and constructive partnership between young people and Argyll & Bute Council as a whole. After all, we are the future.

Moving forward, I have plans to contact all the newly established pupil leadership teams in secondary schools within Argyll & Bute to open a fresh dialogue in order for us to look at ways we can work together to represent the views of all the young people of Argyll & Bute. In addition, I will be drafting a letter to the senior management team of Rothesay Academy to request a meeting in which I hope to look at ways we can work together to build the already strong relationship Rothesay Academy has had in the past with members of SYP.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - November 2017 Edition

Jamie Murray MSYP with the 29th and current Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, Judith Guichon.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - September 2017 Edition

It has now been an entire year since I started writing my monthly columns for The Buteman. Welcome to the twelfth edition of Voice of Youth. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all at the paper for providing me with a great opportunity to bring young peoples views on topical issues to the forefront of debates within the community. This is a great platform for me to share the concerns of not only the great young people of Bute but also the young people of Argyll & Bute.

I have done quite a lot in my role as MSYP for Argyll & Bute in the past year. I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 8th Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP) sitting which took place in Victoria, British Columbia. I highlighted the importance of rural pupils in schools getting access to as wide a range of subject choices with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland. I met with Brendan O’Hara MP last year and Michael Russell MSP twice this year. I stood for re-elecion to the Scottish Youth Parliament and won and I have since been elected as a trustee by my fellow MSYPs. I won the award for Communicator of the Year at the 2017 SYP Awards Night. I have attended every single SYP sitting since becoming an MSYP. I conveyed young peoples frustrations at having their study leave taken away this year at Rothesay Academy and received lots of support from the community for doing so.  I’ve met with and had a very successful meeting with the Leader of Argyll & Bute Council to discuss issues for young people. They are my highlights across the last year. I have been able to achieve many things since writing these articles but perhaps most importantly I hope this has made me more accountable and has educated people about the brilliant work the Scottish Youth Parliament does for young people across Scotland. 

In just under two weeks I will attending my eighth SYP sitting which will be held in the Scottish Parliament. This will be my first sitting as a trustee. I am looking forward to the inaugural meeting of the second ever Creative Communications Team at #SYP64. I have been honoured to lead the team that I helped put together and I am very excited to see where we can take it over the next year. Updates from the sitting will be available on my Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the weekend as always. There are also some very exciting motions set to be debated and I will be collating responses from young people across Argyll & Bute in the week leading up to the sitting so make sure you look out for that!

I hope all who get one are enjoying the half-term break and I hope everyone has a wonderful 2017 Halloween!

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

I am very excited to have the first instalment of my monthly article regarding my work as your member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) for Argyll and Bute published in The Buteman this week. 

I was duly elected as your MSYP on the 15th of March, 2015. It’s a huge honour to represent the young people of Argyll & Bute.

For those who don’t know, the Scottish Youth Parliament represents all of Scotland's young people. Our vision for Scotland is of a nation that actively listens to and values the meaningful participation of its children and young people. Our democratically elected members listen to and recognise the issues that are most important to young people, ensuring their voices are heard by decision-makers. We exist to provide a national platform for young people to discuss the issues that are important to them, and campaign to effect the change they wish to see.

I am a former member of the Education and Lifelong Learning committee within SYP. We, as a committee, spent time researching and drawing up two surveys on the topic of additional support for learners. Both surveys were made available and promoted through social media and the SYP website. Furthermore, we conducted various focus groups within in our local areas. I now sit on the Social Justice Committee.

In July of this year, SYP took it’s first trip to the Western Isles as a full membership to celebrate our 17th birthday and conduct our AGM. The AGM is one of the most important dates in the SYP calendar. At this Sitting, not only did we debate policy and discuss issues important to our constituents, but we also be elected our Board of Trustees and Conveners for the next year. This year, we’ve been busy with our campaigning work, launching our campaign Speak Your Mind in January 2016. We took great pride in our research into young people’s awareness and experience of mental health information, support and services. We collected the views of over 1,400 young people. This is one of the biggest pieces of research ever carried out into young people’s mental health in Scotland. 

I have been afforded the incredible opportunity to represent Scotland’s young people at the 8th Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP) sitting which takes place in Victoria, British Columbia. The CYP is an annual event that is held in a different Commonwealth regions each year. Up to 66 young people from across the Commonwealth have a unique opportunity to participate in educational sessions led by experienced parliamentary officials, take part in parliamentary proceedings including Question Period, and debate and vote on legislation and motions. I will be sure to keep a blog detailing my experience of my time at the CYP.

Finally, I had the pleasure of spending an hour in the company of Brendan O'Hara MP for Argyll & Bute discussing SYP’s Lead the Way Manifesto for 2016-2021. The consultation process began in June 2015 until January 2016 and It received 72,744 responses from young people aged 12-25 across Scotland. We also discussed SYP’s report: “Our Generations’ Epidemic” which focusses on mental health issues among young people. I look forward to meeting Brendan again in the near future and also meeting with Michael Russell MSP for Argyll & Bute. 

For any questions or queries regarding my work at SYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP. 

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - November Edition

Being re-elected for a second term to serve as an MSYP for Argyll & Bute is truly the greatest honour of my life. I am not diverted from the responsibility that now rests at my door. I am also very much looking forward to working alongside Ailie Lamont Stewart (MSYP-elect) from Dunoon! We now have the mandate to campaign fiercely for all the young people of Argyll & Bute who feel they do not have a voice. The young people of Argyll & Bute deserve to have a passionate and effective voice speaking up for the issues we face and I am confident we have that in Ailie and myself.
I'd like to congratulate my fellow candidates David and Alex for an incredible campaign. Together, we have increased participation in youth democracy in Argyll & Bute and effectively promoted SYP to hundreds of school pupils. That is something nobody can take away from us.

I had an incredible time campaigning for re-election since I launched my campaign #WeTogether on the 30th of January. The campaign journey saw me travel to Rothesay Academy, Dunoon Grammar School, Tarbert Academy and Campbeltown Grammar school. I was given the opportunity to speak to pupils about the issues they face as young people living in Argyll & Bute every day and I got to spread the message of my campaign. It was such an eye-opening and an immensely worthwhile experience for me. I am incredibly proud to say I took part in one of the biggest Argyll & Bute's SYP Election campaigns with 765 votes in total. 

I was re-elected on a manifesto commitment to campaign for a better subject variety in schools and colleges, for improved waiting times and more provisions in general for mental health services in Argyll & Bute, for the creation of a central hub in which young people living in Argyll & Bute can access for information about apprenticeships and work placement opportunities and I was re-elected to ensure fair representation for all the incredible young people living in Argyll & Bute. These are now my starting points for my discussions because in the following weeks and months ahead I will be contacting local councillors, politicians, schools heads and a variety of other people to begin an open dialogue about the issues I campaigned for.

I would like to take this opportunity to directly express my sincere gratitude to all my friends and family who have shown me such incredible support through the process of standing for re-election to SYP. I could not have done this without your help and it really means so much to me. I would also like to thank Argyll & Bute’s youth services team for all the work they do to ensure something like the Scottish Youth Parliament can be experienced by the young people of Argyll & Bute. I am incredibly thankful for all your help across these past three years.
I now look forward to the adventures that lie ahead for me in these subsequent two years at SYP and I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity to continue to represent the young people of Argyll & Bute.

Jamie Murray MYSP with Argyll & Bute Council Leader, Cllr Aileen Morton.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - June 2017 Edition

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - October Edition

June has been a very busy month indeed. From finishing my first year at college to travelling to London for work experience and finally to standing for election as an SYP trustee candidate.

The Scottish Youth Parliament's sixty-third national sitting and annual general meeting are now over. We have a brand new membership comprising of ten voluntary organisations, thirty-two local authorities across all regions of Scotland and up to 160 individual members. Twenty of which are re-elected MSYPs. 

As an organisation, we have a clean slate. A chance to build on the incredible success of all previous memberships with our new democratically elected national campaign 'Young Peoples Rights'. We have an opportunity to fully represent the incredible young people of Scotland as best we can. I have every confidence, after having met the new SYP membership, that we can follow on from the success of our previous national campaigns such as 'Votes at 16', 'Poverty: See it, Change It' and 'Speak Your Mind'. Together, we will be the champions of young people rights. We will have the difficult conversations with decision makers and we will commit to ensuring that young people's voices are heard at all levels of government. 

I am incredibly honoured to announce I was elected as a Trustee of the Scottish Youth Parliament and join three other members (Jack Norquoy MSYP for the Orkney Islands, Thomas McEachan MSYP for Glasgow Pollok and Sonny Thomason MSYP for Shetland). Also, sitting on the board is the Vice Chair (Suki Wan MSYP for Glasgow Shettleston) and Chair (Amy Lee Fraioli MSYP for Rutherglen). I feel that it is vital SYP has rural voices sitting on the board of trustees and I am delighted to represent Argyll & Bute at such a level. I now have responsibility for Public Relations and Internal Communications for SYP and it is a post I am thrilled with.

Along with my priorities as an SYP Trustee, I remain committed to my manifesto commitments during my re-election campaign earlier this year. In my re-election campaign, my main issues included Education, Mental Health, Apprenticeships and Equality throughout Argyll & Bute. I will be campaigning on these individual issues throughout my term at SYP whilst simultaneously undertaking my role as trustee. I am currently working on an extensive document that will go into greater detail and will explain all the ways I feel each of these areas can be improved in Argyll & Bute. This will be published soon via social media.

Following on from writing to Len, Jean and Jim, the three Bute councillors, I have since written to the Leader of Argyll & Bute Council Cllr. Morton where I explained my hope for us to build a friendly and constructive partnership over these next few years to work for the benefit of the young people of Argyll & Bute. Cllr Morton admitted that these are challenging, but interesting, times for local government in Scotland but said also that she was glad that the council are able to make links with the young people who live, learn and work in Argyll and Bute through keeping in touch with me. I look forward to continuing to speak up for all young people of Argyll & Bute at a local level and now at a national level, as a trustee of SYP.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

We are at the start of my second year of writing columns for The Buteman which is massively exciting. The festive feeling is in the air. It’s getting closer to that time of year as can been be signified by the nights are getting darker earlier, although that may have something to do with the new energy efficient, money-saving street lamps installed across Rothesay! For me, however, the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament very rarely subsides no matter what the time of year happens to be. 

To kick off my month I attend SYPHQ in Edinburgh for another fantastic board meeting with my fellow trustees. It is always wonderful to hear about all of the great work they have been getting up to with condemning the use of mosquito devices used by ScotRail to continued work on our brand new campaign Right Here, Right Now.

To tell you more about our new campaign I’d like to explain the three main themes we have in place for it. Advocacy - where we are aiming to influence law, policy, and practice in order to strengthen the protection of young people’s rights. Action - where we will seek to strengthen and enhance the status of MSYPs at a local level and within national voluntary organisations, and improve the links SYP has with other institutions, such as the Scottish Parliament. And finally, Awareness - Promoting young people’s rights to young people and those responsible for upholding these rights, and empowering individuals to defend their own rights and the rights of others. 

My fellow trustee, Jack Dudgeon MSYP put it best when he said: “We want better protection of young people’s rights. We want the UNCRC incorporated into Scots law. We want assurances that rights will not be affected by Brexit. We want every young person to know what protections they are entitled to, and to be empowered to take action.”. You can find out more about our exciting new campaign on young peoples rights here: http://www.syp.org.uk/right_here_right_now.

During the 27th and 28th of October, SYP had our 64th national sitting. This time we had the privilege of having it within the Scottish Parliament. Contrary to popular belief, it is rare for us to host a sitting actually in the Scottish Parliament. It was a lovely two days of passionate debate and discussion over a number of important and heartfelt issues from a motion regarding a recent bus accident within the central belt to MSYPs debating for the age of military recruitment to either remain at 15 years old and 7 months or be put up to 18 years old. I particularly enjoyed the discussions I took part in with MSPs from Scottish Parliament committees, where we discussed island life and how young people feel about the lack of job opportunities, lack of subject variety in rural schools and most crucially the lack of mental health provisions. Of course, these are issues I campaigned for re-election on and I am committed to seeking answers to the many questions young people have.

In my role of Trustee, as I have mentioned in previous articles, I am honoured to lead the Creative Communications Team at SYP. Before the sitting at the end of October, we released our members update graphics on social media that illustrated all the wonderful work MSYPs were doing in their regions since being elected. We followed this with our Anti-Bullying Week graphics which included videos, poems, and text-graphics of MSYPs sharing their stories of how they or someone they knew overcame bullying. It certainly was a heartwarming week of stories and it aired a very strong message from SYP that we understand how destructive bullying can be to young people and absolutely condemn all methods of it. It will take a collective effort to eradicate bullying and it will take people all over our country who are or work with young people, to make a stand and speak out against this horrible and dreadful way of treating people. 

To end a very busy month for the comms team at SYP, we published our regional graphics again showing off all the work members have been doing in their towns and cities. We believe these kinds of things are important because MSYPs give up a lot of their free time to help other young people and to show our appreciation for that, we commit to highlighting all the wonderful things they do as it can often go unnoticed. 

Locally, I have been asked to co-chair the Argyll & Bute Awards show in Helensburgh in January of next year which I am very excited about. I have also written to pupil leadership teams across Argyll & Bute to build a strong partnership where we can work together for the benefit of young people of Argyll & Bute. I look forward to updating you all on this in due course.

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

February has had a lot to live up to with the success of the Argyll & Bute Youth Achievement Awards in January. It has been a fairly quiet month with the unfortunate cancellation of the Scottish Youth Parliaments 65th national sitting that was scheduled to take place across the first weekend in March. A lot of work and preparation go into these events by MSYPs and SYP staff members alike, and with the annual SYP awards dinner due to take place also in Saltcoats over the weekend, it was a real shame that the Beast from the East sealed our fate and forced our hand in having to call it off. Safety of our members is paramount and it was the correct decision to take.

I mentioned last month that I will be attending the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) in London during April of this year. I am immensely excited to be continuing my work as a Commonwealth Youth Parliamentarian and there isn’t a better place to continue it than at the CYF where I will be working alongside many young people from across the Commonwealth. I want to raise the profile of the Scottish Youth Parliament during my time in London. In addition to that, I look forward to meeting new people and making new cross-cultural connections, discussing society and politics in Britain and the Commonwealth and how it can impact on young peoples views and aspirations for the future. I greatly enjoy working with like-minded young people who are working to represent their constituents on the issues that affect them dearly.

I have always remained passionate about ensuring all young people are empowered. With over one billion young people making up the Commonwealth population, I see the chance to form a collect commonwealth message to pass on to our heads of government as a massive opportunity to better the lives of young people by ensuring their voices are being heard loud and clear. I am very much looking ahead to the opportunity to influence decision makers and ensuring that young people have a voice in the future of the commonwealth. 

In addition to preparing for the CYF, I will be working closely with my fellow MSYP Ailie Stewart who is hard at work establishing an Argyll and Bute wide LGBTI+ group for young people, something I believe in fully and hope to help make a reality in the very near future.

I will also be writing to Michael Russell MSP and Brendan O’Hara MP in the hope to set up a meeting where I can catch them both up of the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and the concerns and opinions of the young people of Argyll & Bute. 

For updates on my work as your MSYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk or contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com.

Voice of Youth Buteman Column - February 2017 Edition 

Jamie Murray MSYP with Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Childcare and the Early Years.

Already we find ourselves nearing the end of the month of February. For me, it has been an enjoyable month as I have been rolling out my campaign for re-election to the Scottish Youth Parliament on social media. I find that having the opportunity to get back to a place where we are examining the issues that affect the young people in Argyll & Bute the most ensures that all young people are having their concerns heard.

The week beginning the 30th of January I released my campaign on my website: www.jamieamurray.com. A campaign that I titled #WeTogether and one that I am very proud of. Having travelled back to Argyll & Bute and through the use of social media, I have been able to discuss important issues with lots of incredible young people. Whether it be, from a young person who has a developing frustration toward the rising workload in school. Or a young person who feels mistreated at the shortage of mental health services and provisions in their school and more generally, in Argyll & Bute. Or the anxieties from a number of young people who are struggling to find opportunities specific to their desired future career.

As you will know, growing up in Argyll & Bute is a fascinating experience due to having access to our stunning countrysides and our close-knit communities. Growing up in a safe and spacious environment is critical to the development of young people. Particularly, it impacts young people's mental health. The difficulty comes when a young person arrives at the age and stage in their lives when they must start to look for work. Even in schools, many young people, have to travel far afield in order to secure valuable work experience. It’s simply not good enough. Opportunities are infrequent and the likelihood that this situation will improve is little. I recognise this problem. But I also recognise that there are not many people standing up for young people who feel so helpless. I will aways stand up for young people. Being a young person myself, it would be very hard not to.

I stood for election in 2015 because I, along with many of my peers, felt the SQA used our year as guinea pigs to introduce Curriculum for Excellence, and along with many of our teachers also felt that the SQA had not published a sufficient catalogue of resources to support the delivery of CfE subjects. It's this frustration that I carry in my work as your MSYP. Young people are vital to Argyll & Bute. We deserve so much more. These core values have been with me for a number of years, and are values I will always stay true to.

My campaign very simply focusses on four key areas. Firstly, Education where I will campaign for schools to offer a varied subject choice to ensure the best future for their young people. Secondly, Mental Health where we will stand up for the young people forced to wait months for an appointment because I know we deserve so much better. Thirdly, Apprenticeships where we will create a central hub where young people can access information on apprenticeship opportunities available in Argyll & Bute and finally, Equality where I will always strive to ensure everyone is fairly represented and have access to all they deserve, whether it be in education, work or in opportunity. Please vote for me in March. All you need is a Young Scot Card. I will always speak up for the young people Argyll & Bute because being Argyll & Bute’s MSYP has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and a memory that I will always hold dear.

For any updates on my campaign or any questions or queries regarding my work at SYP please email me at jamie.murray.msyp@sypmail.org.uk, contact me on my Facebook and Twitter @JamieMurrayMSYP or visit my website: http://www.jamieamurray.com/.

I’d like to begin by wishing every young person well in their exam results, from pupils in secondary school to students at college and university in Argyll & Bute. I am sure all your hard work and effort will pay off.

May has been an exciting month for politics in the UK but a much sombre month otherwise. After the Prime Minister called a General Election in April scheduled for Thursday the 8th of June, the United Kingdom has faced two domestic terrorist attacks. As I tweeted, the Manchester and London attacks were utter acts of completed destruction. They were undoubtedly and absolutely heartbreaking. Nobody should leave home for a pop concert, or to go out on a Saturday night never to return. My thoughts for the past two weeks have been with the families and loved ones who are suffering the pain of their loss. I cannot imagine how hard each day will be for them. The One Love Manchester concert brought together the people caught up in the horrific events and conveyed the level of unity, love and support that we as a country have in the face of absolute terror. It shows that we will never be beaten. We will always emerge stronger in times of hardship. It is that hope that I hold onto when processing the recent tragic events.

On the 4th of May, I had the pleasure of voting in the local council elections just like many other young people. I always enjoy watching the democratic process unfold as I did over the first weekend in May. The Isle of Bute now have three councillors (len.scoullar@argyll-bute.gov.uk, jim.Findlay@argyll-bute.gov.uk, jean.Moffat@argyll-bute.gov.uk) and I have attached the email addresses for anyone needs to contact them. I have written to each of our councillors to express my desire to develop a partnership to enable young people's voices to be heard at council level. Especially given the fact 16 and 17-year-olds voted in the local elections. In my email, I stressed it was important that we build a strong and positive relationship between one and other and I explained that I was elected and re-elected on a mandate to stand up for all the young people of Argyll & Bute and I feel that this partnership between local council and young people is the best way for me to ensure young people are represented fully.

I will also be writing to the leader of Argyll & Bute’s council, Councillor Aileen Morton to express my good wishes in the months that lay ahead. I will take this opportunity to explain my campaign points from March in order to convey the issues that are important to young people across Argyll & Bute. These will include education, apprenticeships, mental health and equality.

I took part in two days worth of youth engagements interviews at SYP HQ in Edinburgh which was a great experience. Playing my part in deciding the future of the SYP staff team was a responsibility I did not take lightly but it was an educational and exciting experience!

Also in May, I travelled to the Scottish Parliament to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations Scotland branch executive committee meeting in which I discussed the importance of ensuring young people from Scotland get a seat at the table, just like I did, at the next Commonwealth Youth Parliament sitting. As I’ve said since I returned from #CYP8 last year, it was the experience of a lifetime and you can view the video of my time in Canada at CYP8 on my MSYP Facebook page and website: www.jamieamurray.com.

In finishing, I can now officially announce, after passing the interview stage, I will be standing as a candidate for election to the board of SYP at our sitting in June. I look forward to putting my case to the new membership of SYP as to why I would be a great trustee and champion of the organisation.