James Kelly MSP
Contrary to what my Twitter followers may think, I’m writing this column from my laptop in my parliamentary office – not from ‘Traitors’ Tower’ in Rutherglen as a certain nationalist campaigner suggested last week.
This valuable contribution to the debate over Scotland’s future gave me a real sense of déjà vu, taking me back to the constant abuse online during the independence referendum in 2014.
Why the suggestion of ‘Traitors’ Tower’?
Well, last week I spoke in the Scottish Parliament’s debate about a second independence referendum, putting forward my views about why I do not believe we need another divisive vote.
We are divided enough as a country and I do not think that it is in the interests of working Scots to re-run arguments which set people apart less than three years ago.
The Scottish Government’s focus right now needs to be on our public services.
The SNP have been in office for a decade, yet in that time standards across the board have slipped.
Our education system is under-performing, targets keep being missed in our health service and the Nationalists continue to cut our council budgets.
The hard truth is that Nicola Sturgeon’s entire political career has been driven by one desire: to get Scottish independence.
That is as telling in her pursuit of separation this time round as it was two years ago.
The economic case for breaking off from the UK is even more uncertain, and at a time of great disruption from Brexit and political reform at a UK level the Scottish Government should be doing all it can to protect jobs and businesses without seeking to case more instability.
Polling shows people do not want a referendum, and I know that from speaking to voters and local businesses in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
This recess, I’m spending time across my region and occupying myself with advice surgeries and Labour’s council election campaign.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is touring America promoting the SNP’s case for independence.
I think that says a lot about her entire government’s approach: it’s a campaign committee interested in one cause only - and not an administration delivering for the people of Scotland.
While Traitors’ Tower may not be a serious suggestion, I want to see the government moving Scotland forward and not spend the rest of the parliament re-running divisive arguments of the past.