Be mind­ful of help­ing peo­ple as well, Ni­cola

Many chal­lenges ahead for new SNP leader

Rutherglen Reformer - - James Kelly -

In the com­ing days Ni­cola Stur­geon will be in­stalled as leader of the SNP and First Min­is­ter of Scot­land, be­ing elected un­op­posed in both po­si­tions.

I have shad­owed her for as In­fra­struc­ture Sec­re­tary for the past year and she is with­out doubt a ca­pa­ble and tal­ented politi­cian.

I also will not over­look the pow­er­ful mes­sage of Scot­land gain­ing its first fe­male First Min­is­ter.

I am hope­ful that Ms Stur­geon’s el­e­va­tion pro­vides Scot­land with an op­por­tu­nity.

The soon to be First Min­is­ter was quick to pitch to Labour vot­ers dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum. That she was the hand­picked, or in­deed vol­un­teered, SNP voice for such a job was hardly sur­pris­ing. Long seen as on the left of her party, there was a common joke that the only thing that kept Ni­cola Stur­geon and Fergus Ewing in the same party was the prospect of in­de­pen­dence. How she keeps that coali­tion to­gether is a mat­ter for her. But I hope she puts peo­ple be­fore pol­i­tics.

As I said, I have shad­owed the Deputy First Min­is­ter in the In­fra­struc­ture port­fo­lio for over a year.

In that time I have seen her in­struct her MSPs to vote against mea­sures which would make a real dif­fer­ence in the lives of work­ing peo­ple in Ruther­glen, Cam­bus­lang and across Scot­land.

Ear­lier this year the SNP voted against ex­tend­ing the liv­ing wage to work­ers on pub­lic con­tracts, which would have de­liv­ered a pay boost of over £2000 to some of our low­est paid work­ers in clean­ing, cater­ing and re­tail.

Ni­cola Stur­geon also in­structed her party to vote against Scot­tish Labour pro­pos­als for a fair rent cap, which would have limited how much rent could in­crease in the pri­vate rented sec­tor year to year.

To­day, one in four Scots liv­ing in poverty live in the pri­vate rented sec­tor and our pro­pos­als would have of­fered some respite and se­cu­rity to the fam­i­lies which make up nearly half of the sec­tor.

The de­bate around the con­sti­tu­tion will con­tinue and the Smith Com­mis­sion will see more pow­ers de­volved to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, but this de­bate should not be at the ex­pense of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to peo­ples lives now.

I hope Ni­cola Stur­geon keeps that in mind.

I was de­lighted last week to lodge a mo­tion in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment recog­nis­ing the fundrais­ing at­tempts of the Ruther­glen Re­former staff for Movem­ber.

I read in the Re­former that the staff will be joined in their ef­forts by Chris, the son of the late Brian Logue.

I got to know Brian Logue very well dur­ing my time as MSP. It is not a cliché or an un­der­state­ment to say he was a much loved and much re­spected fig­ure in the com­mu­nity, as well as a hugely tal­ented pho­tog­ra­pher.

I hope that ev­ery­one in­volved in Movem­ber is suc­cess­ful in rais­ing funds and aware­ness around is­sues such as prostate can­cer.

When it comes to grow­ing a mous­tache how­ever, I sus­pect some may be more suc­cess­ful than oth­ers!

Support James Kelly MSP has backed the Re­former staff in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, who are tak­ing part in Movem­ber

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