James Kelly MSP

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

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.

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