Ask your­self these cru­cial ques­tions as we vote to­day

Evening Times - - THE WORLD TODAY - FRANK MCAVEETY

TO­DAY is Elec­tion Day. It’s prob­a­bly one of the most im­por­tant elec­tions in re­cent me­mory. It will be an elec­tion that could come to de­fine an age – called in the heat of a Brexit im­passe in the House of Com­mons that could re­sult in our na­tion tak­ing a fur­ther wrong turn.

We should ask our­selves, is our coun­try bet­ter off than nearly 10 years ago, when the Tories first came to power?

We should ask our­selves if our pub­lic ser­vices are bet­ter.

We should ask our­selves if our NHS – our great­est ever cre­ation – is in good health, or even in good hands.

In the past few days, a vis­ual metaphor of why our NHS is not in good hands was pro­vided. Boris John­son could not even bring him­self to look at the photograph of a four-year-old child ly­ing on a hos­pi­tal wait­ing room floor. He could not bring him­self to look at the real-life con­se­quences that his de­ci­sions, and those of Tory be­fore him, have had.

Not suf­fi­cient with a lack of em­pa­thy, the Prime Min­is­ter then con­fis­cated the phone to avoid the ques­tion, be­fore be­ing em­bar­rassed into re­turn­ing it.

In Scot­land, from the fi­asco of fail­ing to open a new chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal in Ed­in­burgh, to the doc­u­mented fail­ings of the flag­ship Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal in Glas­gow, a sim­ple truth is re­vealed. Those charged with the cus­to­di­an­ship of our NHS – the SNP – have in­stead ob­sessed on how to cre­ate the con­di­tions for an ut­terly un­nec­es­sary and di­vi­sive in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

But if this elec­tion is a choice about the di­rec­tion of our coun­try – ei­ther Scot­land or the UK – there is only one choice that is gen­uinely trans­for­ma­tive. One choice that fo­cuses on our lives. One choice for change.

Labour’s com­mit­ment is to in­vest in our city, our com­mu­ni­ties and our lives. Labour will in­vest £6bil­lion in ex­ist­ing houses to pro­vide warm homes for all, cre­at­ing 35,000 new jobs and re­duc­ing the av­er­age home en­ergy bill by £417 a year.

The last time the UK put its faith in Labour, af­ter a long pe­riod of Tory ne­glect, we saw some of the most trans­for­ma­tive changes to peo­ple’s lives.

Ear­lier this week, I re­minded a hous­ing hus­tings or­gan­ised by the Scot­tish Fed­er­a­tion of Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tions that by elect­ing a Labour gov­ern­ment, our city was able to put our case to a Labour chan­cel­lor. Gor­don Brown, born in our great city, lis­tened care­fully. We re­moved crip­pling hous­ing debt and fa­cil­i­tated the trans­for­ma­tion of our com­mu­ni­ties.

Ask your­self: is our coun­try bet­ter off than it was a decade ago? Af­ter a decade of aus­ter­ity. Af­ter nearly a decade of di­vi­sive­ness on Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence.

We have a choice. If you be­lieve that this coun­try needs change, if you be­lieve that we are worse off than a decade ago, if you be­lieve that we can do bet­ter than this, you need to vote for it. The choice is in your hands.

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