At the end of September, I was pleased to be in attendance as the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 5th Battalion marched through Alloa to mark Armed Forces Day.

The regiment was bestowed the freedom of Clackmannanshire by the then Provost Derek Stewart in 2006 and it was great to see them exercise that freedom. It was also great to catch up with Derek as he was granted the freedom of the County in recognition of his lengthy public service in Clackmannanshire.

The following week, I was proud to speak in the Veterans debate in the Scottish Parliament. This speech gave me an opportunity to raise issues which can sometimes be missed when discussing how best to support our veterans.

In the debate, I highlighted the work of some of the organisations that work hard in Clackmannanshire and Dunblane to support veterans, like Wee County Veterans, and highlighted the value of peer-to-peer support services for veterans, like Rock2Recovery, which I learned more about in a recent meeting with the charity.

I was also happy to pay tribute to some of the work of the Scottish Government in supporting veterans – not least the medals replacement fund and the Scottish Veterans fund, which has funded 17 projects for 2023-24, six of which offer support to veterans impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and two of which support early service leavers.

It was good to hear from other MSPs of the often-forgotten contribution of soldiers from across the world to Scotland's military history, and to add to this with an account of some of my own experiences visiting the graves of the Indian soldiers at Kingussie.

Indeed, at the recent SNP conference a motion was passed committing the SNP to do more to promote the history of South Asian soldier’s contribution to Scotland, and I was pleased to be on stage as the motion was passed, and to hear the powerful speeches in favour of this motion.

This important decision came amongst a raft of similarly important announcements from the SNP conference.

Firstly, a council tax freeze to ensure that people's pockets are protected during the cost-of-living crisis. It is right that, as so many people struggle, the Scottish Government does what it can try to help with rising bills. The party has also committed £300 million to alleviate NHS waiting lists, £500 million to create new renewable jobs, and £100 million to double Scotland’s arts and culture budget.

Another standout feature of the SNP conference this year was First Minister Humza Yousaf’s speech on the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine. The First Minister’s wife Nadia is a Palestinian-Scot, and her parents are currently trapped in Gaza, where her brother is serving as a doctor.

The First Minister’s call for the opening of a humanitarian corridor, and signal that Scotland stands ready to take in refugees from the conflict, is a radical departure from the UK Government’s position. This is an opportunity for Scotland to do something differently in the eyes of the world and indeed other independent countries, like Ireland, have joined these calls.