The Scottish Parliament started its summer recess last Thursday. That doesn’t mean MSP’s all go off on holiday for two months, just that the next scheduled meeting of the Parliament in Edinburgh will be the first week in September. Like most MSP’s I will have a two week holiday and spend the rest of the recess working between my Airdrie and Shotts constituency and carrying out my ministerial duties.
The end of term report on the SNP Government’s first year with an overall parliamentary majority makes for excellent reading. An independent report by a London based accountancy firm last week revealed that Scotland is yet again the top destination for foreign investment in the UK. Another survey showed that satisfaction with the National Health Service in Scotland is at its highest level since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999. Police numbers are at their highest level ever in Scotland, leading to the lowest crime rates for 37 years. Nearly 7,000 new homes for social rent were built last year, despite the massive budget cuts imposed on the Scottish Government by Westminster and there was a 19% drop in homeless applications at a time when there has been a huge rise in England. Finally food and drink exports from Scotland are at an all time high.
These statistics show that the SNP Government in Edinburgh is delivering for the people of Scotland in those areas of policy for which it has responsibility. Meantime the matters which are the responsibility of the UK Government have been getting much worse.
The economy is stagnant thanks to the cuts initially imposed by Alasdair Darling and carried on by the Tory-led Coalition Government in London. The banks are in a state of complete disarray. Welfare cuts are driving already poor people into dire levels of poverty, especially genuinely disabled people who aren’t able to work. There have been so many U-turns on the budget we’re all starting to get dizzy. And despite the huge cuts imposed on essential public services the UK’s budget deficit is much worse than forecast.
You couldn’t trust Westminster politicians to run a whelk stall, never mind the government of the country. As the SNP is showing the Scottish people make a far better job of running our own country than does any government from London.
If we were in charge of our own economic policy, instead of London, the Scottish economy would be growing and unemployment would be much lower than it is in Scotland today. Our children wouldn’t need to emigrate to get a chance of a decent job and our most vulnerable disabled and elderly people wouldn’t be facing the massive cuts in their benefits being implemented by the Tory-led UK Government.
When the Independence referendum comes it will be a straight choice: do the people of Scotland want to have their country run in future by a Tory Government in London or a Scottish Government elected by the Scottish people? I know what my answer is to that question, have you made up your mind yet?