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Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews - James Kelly MSP (Labour) Glas­gow

I feel like we have ar­rived on the set of the film Ground­hog Day.

Here we go again. All aboard the in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum merry go round.

Ni­cola Stur­geon has now an­nounced that her gov­ern­ment will con­sult on a bill propos­ing a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

We don’t need an­other in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

Peo­ple in Scot­land can’t get GP ap­point­ments, par­ents are see­ing teach­ers num­bers cut in schools and pas­sen­gers are stand­ing at rail­way sta­tions where the trains do not turn up on time.

Even some within Ms Stur­geon’s own party have coun­selled against hold­ing a ref­er­en­dum now.

This was the view put across at the week­end by for­mer SNP leader Gor­don Wil­son.

For­mer cabi­net min­is­ters Alex Neil and Kenny McAskill have also urged cau­tion.

Ni­cola Stur­geon clearly feels the pres­sure by some of the fer­vent yes sup­port­ers in the SNP camp who have never been able to ac­cept the re­sult of the 2014 vote.

This could prove to be a high risk strat­egy.

We saw what hap­pened to David Cameron when he pur­sued an EU ref­er­en­dum to ap­pease some within his party ranks.

Ni­cola Stur­geon could end up pay­ing the same price.

The re­al­ity is that Scot­land spends £15bn more than we take in on taxes.

The idea that we can build a bet­ter health ser­vice, get more young peo­ple into col­leges and sup­port lo­cal bus ser­vices with a £15bn black hole in our fi­nances is just not on.

The trig­ger for this lat­est push for in­dyref2 has been the im­pli­ca­tions of Brexit.

I want a strong deal for Scot­land within the EU pro­tect­ing work­ers rights and the EU fund­ing that is so much needed in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties across Scot­land.

How­ever, you can­not ar­gue that we need the pro­tec­tion of the EU to pool and share re­sources but then think it is of ben­e­fit to rip Scot­land out of the UK.

This would only make the po­si­tion worse and place Scot­land in a more vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion.

The Scot­tish Par­lia­ment is soon to dis­cuss the draft bud­get for next year.

This will be the most sig­nif­i­cant bud­get in the his­tory of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment given the range of new fi­nan­cial pow­ers.

This should be oc­cu­py­ing the gov­ern­ment’s mind.

It is time for the SNP to con­cen­trate on the day job in­stead of the di­ver­sion of an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

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