Blockbuster landscapes but we need more lights, more cameras, more action in a studio. My suggestion to the Prime Minister is that she add “Highlands Film Studio” to her to-do list for New Years Resolution 2022.

Columnist David Stewart.

One of my favorite actors is Highlander and Game of Thrones star James Cosmo. During my days in Westminster, I hosted a lunch for him in the Commons to discuss his project – an Inverness-based film studio.

Readers will know that our region, with its beautiful scenery, has proven to be a prime location for many Hollywood blockbusters, such as Braveheart, Harry Potter and Rob Roy.

Such publicity is also good for our major tourism businesses, from restaurants to hotels, and puts the Highlands on the map of “film tourism” for visitors from all over the world.

However, as James Cosmo told me during our lunch, in order for film crews to stay longer and attract new entrants, we need a sophisticated, state-of-the-art film studio in the North. .

Sadly, the project to build the film studio just south of Inverness, off the A9, failed at the last hurdle. That was over 20 years ago.

Still, I read in the national press just days ago from Skye-based producer Chris Young, whose credits include Channel 4’s The Inbetweeners, that the north needs support if it is to be more. that a “fantastic backdrop” to visit Hollywood fabrications.

Speaking to The Times last week, he said, “We have to do everything we can to make sure that people who come here don’t just stop at the center belt and come here to do the outdoor pitches.

“The Highlands and Islands have a role to play, but we are not getting enough support. There is too much focus on the central belt.

My suggestion to the Prime Minister is that she add “Highlands Film Studio” to her to-do list for New Years Resolution 2022.

n One of the greatest strengths of the Scottish Parliament, in my opinion, is the ability of ordinary backbench MSPs to present their own ideas for new legislation.

Members’ bills are highly sought after and serve as a good counterbalance to the influence of the Scottish government’s’ superpower ‘.

During my 14 years at Holyrood, my dashboard was: Bills presented – three, Bills passed – two, Bills fallen – one.

My first bill was to create a Scottish Victims Commissioner. I was delighted with the support he received across Scotland from victim groups such as Victim Support Scotland.

Sadly, the Bill ran out of parliamentary time and as it received no assurances of support from the Scottish Government, I was unable to continue my campaign.

However, I read in the Daily Record last week that Kevin Woodburn, whose footballer son Shaun was sadly murdered five years ago, is now campaigning to create a Victims Commissioner.

He said in the Record: “We need a Victims Champion to ensure that the system will protect and promote the rights of those affected by serious crime with these trauma informed systems. “

Mr Woodburn has met Justice Secretary Keith Brown MSP, who appears to support the creation of a Victims Commissioner.

I welcome the Scottish government’s change of mind. For too long in Scotland, the victims have been a forgotten underclass. It is time to see victims appear at the center of our justice system.

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