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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
4th June 2009

It’s Europe!

I’m writing this very short diary on a Wednesday instead of it being my usual Thursday epistle.  I suspect that I might be too busy tomorrow!  As is usual with Parliament, we don’t sit on election days, whatever Parliament is being elected (we haven’t had a separate council election yet, so I don’t know whether we’ll suspend business for that).

It’s a European election in the middle of a political maelstrom which looks like it is just about to sweep Gordon Brown’s Government into history.  I can’t imagine that he’ll relish the prospect of a quick election, so my thinking is that he’ll try to limp on in the hope that the cavalry will come riding over the hill and rescue him.  It appears, though, that the cavalry is more likely to come galloping in on the side of his opponents – maybe he shouldn’t have paid for them with PFI …

So I think we’ll have a Prime Minister that wants to limp on, reasoning that ‘events’ have to turn in his favour soon, leading a party that wants an election so that the pain can stop and a country that wants an election so we can get shot of them.  His major opposition – Cameron’s Conservatives – will be happy to sit back and wait, thinking that Brown cannot be rescued and that the collapse of the Labour party will be bigger the longer he’s in power.

Meanwhile, our nation is being punished for having a Labour Government in London controlling our economy – and running that economy into the ground – and all the attention is on those MPs who have been seeking to gain the most from the expenses system, not on the real problems.

In a tale of two governments, the Scottish Government retains the trust of the Scottish people and is doing a good job.  Every measure it can take to protect Scotland from the recession is being taken, every ounce of benefit that can be wrung out for Scotland’s good is being wrung, and every bit of energy is being poured into improving Scotland.  It’s a great shame that the Scottish Government doesn’t have control of the Scottish economic levers – maybe we wouldn’t be in such a state.

In the midst of London’s chaos and Scotland’s endeavours, we vote tomorrow in a European election.  It would be better if we were voting for the representatives of an independent nation, but we will content ourselves for tomorrow with ensuring that we return our two sitting MEPs and send them at least one more colleague to keep them company.  Hard work, solid work, and a belief in ourselves and our country – they are our weapons in this battle to make our country a better place to be.

Alyn Smith and Iain Hudghton have done a fantastic job for Scotland – Iain holding the line in Brussels and Alyn connecting Scotland to Europe; Alyn bringing EU Commissioners here to sell Scotland’s ideas to them, Iain building our relationships with our European partners; Iain fighting for our fishermen, Alyn fighting for our farmers; from energy to infrastructure our MEPs are putting Scotland’s case.

We have evidence of how much better things could be for Scotland – clear evidence.  Just recently our Environment and Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead MSP, was at a fisheries meeting in Brussels.  Being a Scottish Minister, of course, the UK Minister insisted he played second fiddle.  Scotland’s fishermen got what they needed to stay in business – after the UK Minister left to catch his plane home.  The second fiddle played a virtuoso solo!

We’ve got good reasons to drive a hard bargain for Scotland in Europe – we believe it’s our country, and that gives us the impetus we need to keep going.  Other politicians are at a disadvantage, much as they trot off intending to do a good job, they are either, like the UK Ministers, having to balance Scotland’s interests against the rest of the UK and reckoning “well, there’s only five million Scots …”, or they’re ‘Scots’ MEPs who think that Scotland is a region.

Do you need any greater reason to vote SNP or to encourage others to vote SNP?  Have a good polling day!

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