James Kelly

Rutherglen Reformer - - News from the Pews -

A year on from the ref­er­en­dum and I had hoped by now we could have left the de­bate about the con­sti­tu­tion to one side and in­stead be fo­cused on things like ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing, and the NHS.

Es­pe­cially, as we were promised by Ni­cola Stur­geon that the ref­er­en­dum was a once in a gen­er­a­tion event.

Why then has this First Min­is­ter and her gov­ern­ment pri­ori­tised the con­sti­tu­tion over ac­tion to trans­form the lives of young Scots?

Af­ter eight years of SNP Gov­ern­ment in Ed­in­burgh the odds re­main stacked against thou­sands of chil­dren in Scot­land.

The gap be­tween the rich­est and the rest in our schools is a source of na­tional shame.

With more than 6,000 chil­dren in Scot­land fin­ish­ing pri­mary school un­able to read prop­erly, and pri­vate school pupils twice as likely to get an A in their Highers than state school pupils, I say quite clearly to the First Min­is­ter – make im­prov­ing the life chances of young Scots a pri­or­ity rather than try­ing to find trig­gers for another ref­er­en­dum.

When a young per­son from a rich back­ground is twice as likely to go on to higher ed­u­ca­tion than some­one from a poorer back­ground I say the time has come to start gov­ern­ing for a bet­ter Scot­land.

I want a Scot­land where the abil­ity of young peo­ple to get on in life is de­ter­mined by their po­ten­tial, work rate and am­bi­tion, not by how much money their par­ents have.

Achiev­ing that should be the pri­or­ity of ev­ery­body in Scot­tish pol­i­tics. Peo­ple in Scot­land need Ni­cola Stur­geon to stop cam­paign­ing for another ref­er­en­dum and start gov­ern­ing for all of Scot­land.

SCIAF

Last week I was very happy to see the 50th an­niver­sary of Scot­tish Catholic In­ter­na­tional Aid (SCIAF) marked with a re­cep­tion in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, hosted by the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer.

As the lo­cal MSP I was very proud to see the work of SCIAF rec­og­nized in this way, as in 1965 the char­ity launched in St Colum­bkilles, and since then has changed and saved so many thou­sands of lives by tack­ling poverty and in­equal­ity across the world.

SCIAF work in over 16 coun­tries across Africa, Asia and Latin Amer­ica to sup­port some of the world’s poor­est peo­ple, and have made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence across the globe in help­ing tackle the un­der­ly­ing causes of poverty and lack of health care fa­cil­i­ties in some re­gions of the world.

I am proud to be a sup­porter of SCIAF and en­joyed meet­ing with some of the staff at the re­cep­tion, who up­dated me on their re­cent cam­paigns on de­vel­op­ment work help­ing peo­ple over­come hunger.

From hum­ble begin­nings in a small room in Ruther­glen in the 60’s to sup­port­ing 100 projects world­wide im­prov­ing the life chances of thou­sands, that is a re­mark­able story and one of which ev­ery­one in­volved with SCIAF can be rightly proud.

I had hoped to have left the de­bate about the con­sti­tu­tion to one side

Sup­port James Kelly con­grat­u­lates SCIAF on 50 years of work

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