PARLIAMENTARY AND CONSTITUENCY UPDATES
I'm writing this a few hours before we hear the result of the SNP leadership election. By the time you read this we’ll know who won and it’s quite likely that the Scottish Parliament will have voted for them to be Scotland’s First Minister. Leadership elections always put the spotlight on where the candidates have different opinions but I hope once the election is over the first step of all the candidates will be to remind their respective supporters that it’s time to put these differences behind us and work together for Independence.
Despite the cheers from his own backbenchers the Chancellor’s budget statement was more of the same failed policies. Almost the only positive thing to say is that it’s not as bad as the financial meltdown caused by the previous Chancellor. He was very quick to claim repeatedly that the budget would allow an extra £320 million public spending for Scotland over the next two years. He forgot to mention that over the same period his increase in duty on spirits will cost Cameron Brig Distillery over £600 million. That’s money that could have been invested in more jobs at Diageo’s plants across my constituency. Instead it’s being used to pay the price of decades of Westminster failures.
The government’s obsession with stopping legitimate refugees was due to continue this week with the latest stages of the immigration bill that even the Home Secretary admits is probably unlawful. Although they claim the bill is about stopping criminal gangs from getting into the UK their own propaganda shows that this claim is false. Scotland wants no part in this. I’m still getting a lot of emails from constituents asking me to oppose the bill and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
It was a great pleasure to get to Easter / Spring Fayres last week run by Auchterderran Kinglassie Parish Church and by the 91st Fife (Stenton) Scout Group. The Scouts used the occasion to formally invest several new members. We owe a big thank to to the people who give their time not just to the scouts but to the many other organisations that support our young people.
The regular online meeting for MPs and MSPs with NHS Fife last week gave us the chance to thank Tricia Marwick who is retiring as Chair. I reminded Tricia that her first day of retirement will be 36 years to the day since she signed me up as a member of the SNP. It was Tricia who first encouraged me to stand for election as a councillor. Others can judge whether that was a good idea! By then she was already very actively involved in Auchmuty Tenants Association and in helping to set up Tenants and Residents Associations in every community in Glenrothes. She’s shown the same selfless dedication as a political campaigner, MSP, Presiding Officer and then as NHS Fife Chair. Best wishes to Tricia who I know is looking forward to spending more time with the family she adores.