AS AN MP, WHAT is the issue I receive most letters or communications about? Partly, it depends on the moment.
For instance, lately there have been many emails about the consequences of Brexit.
Some are from East Lothian folk arguing in favour or against leaving the EU. But I am also getting an increasing mailbag from EU citizens anxious about their status.
It makes me angry that people who have come here to work in our NHS or in education are feeling they have been made pawns in a political game run from Whitehall.
However, week in and week out, I get a steady stream of letters and emails from across the county from concerned voters worried about the treatment of animals.
Some of you might think this is a bit of an affectation given the mayhem in Syria or the crisis in the welfare benefits system since the introduction of Universal Credit. But you would be wrong.
I think how we treat the animals with whom we share the planet is a good index of how we treat human beings. If you are cruel to one set, you are more likely to be cruel to the other. So I take letters about animal cruelty very seriously.
One issue I am particularly concerned with is putting CCTV in every abattoir, to verify if establishments are adhering to humane ways of killing animals.
I know most abattoirs in Scotland have CCTV. However, it is those who don’t that worry me. Installation of cameras is cheap and would add little to the cost of meat.
Another issue is the question of insecticides – specifically neonicotinoids, which may have an impact on bees.
Here I feel we need a measured approach. Arable farming in a wet climate like East Lothian would be very difficult without some use of chemical insecticides. Equally, if it is scientifically proven any insecticide has negative side effects, we need to restrict their use.
In the case of neonicotinoids, the best solution would be to mandate the introduction of a benign replacement over a set period of time, in order to give farmers time to adjust.
Humans, animals and plants collectively make East Lothian a perfect place to live. Let’s share the county in harmony.