My December Column for the Rutherglen Reformer

As we near the end of 2020, political parties are beginning to turn their focus to election which will be held in May of next year. The 2021 Scottish Parliament Election will be the most important in the history of devolution.

The SNP will seek to make this election about independence. However, we are just starting on the path to recovery from the greatest health crisis of our lifetime, and that must be the priority. We must seek to rebuild our country, and come back from this devastating period stronger.

Throughout my time as an MSP, in Rutherglen and in the Glasgow Region I have witnessed first hand the impact of the SNP government's failings. I have also come to understand the issues that people in our community really care about, the issues that impact their everyday lives.

That is the platform I intend to stand on once again. To shine a light on the failings of a government who have left people in communities like ours worse off, after 13 years of focusing on constitutional argument ahead of bettering lives.

Child poverty levels throughout this country are a scandal. Under this government the number of children living in poverty has increased from 1 in 5 to almost 1 in 4. Last year, there were 14,000 children here in South Lanarkshire growing up hungry. This is compounded by a housing crisis and the appalling fact that 70,000 children in Scotland are on social housing waiting lists. These must be the priorities of our government and our representatives.

I am proud to represent people in this community, and I know my job is to do what I can to improve that community, and the lives of people within it. As an MSP I have, and will continue to prioritise poverty and housing, giving young people a fair chance in education and fighting for people left on lengthy NHS waiting lists.

And now there is an additional focus that must be addressed - we need a pandemic recovery plan which prioritises the economy and supports getting people into work.

This election needs to be about the issues that matter most to people, but sadly the SNP have left the people behind.

*Originally published in the Rutherglen Reformer, December 2020