A busy year beckons, for Stirling SNP and the SNP generally.
On Monday, Holyrood returns from its Summer holidays, and we are into the start of the positioning for next Mays Scottish Parliamentary Elections. Stirling SNP will be doing their utmost to return Bruce Crawford as our Constituency MSP, and we would ask members to keep a watch on your in-boxes for updates and alerts when Bruce’s campaign gets underway and we need feet on the ground.
In the near term we have the Stirling East Ward Council by election. Campaigning is underway and it is essential we return an SNP councillor to bolster the SNP group against the Tory/Labour faction that holds control. The hashtag #voteLabourgetTory would be totally apt in the by election, where a inept Labour administration in its eagerness to be in power at any cost ( sound familiar?) has sold its soul to the Tory Puppetmaster. There will be a few red badged Pinocchio’s knocking doors in Raploch and Riverside this Autumn! Amongst them no doubt Joanna Boyd looking for vengeance after her humiliating defeat in May. We will not give the Red Tory’s or the Blue Tory string puller’s an inch, but we will try and take a mile!
Our great MP Steven Paterson returns to work in Westminster in another week’s time, with the 56, after a busy summer in which he held a number of surgeries throughout the constituency and also opened a new office for his constituency work at Springfield House, Laurelhill Business Park, Stirling.
The 56 SNP MP’s provide the sole real opposition to this Tory government hell bent on destruction of the Social Security system we have worked UK wide over so many years to build up to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. The Health Service too will be in the sights of the Austerity-mongers and while we have our own NHS in Scotland any budgetary changes to the NHS south of the border can have very real and damaging impacts on the Scottish NHS by way of the Barnett formula. The Scotland Bill moves into the report stage and Mundell has stated he will be bringing forward several revisions at this stage. It remains to be seen if these come anywhere near the Vow of “near federalism” touted on the lead up to the 18th September 2014. We wish our great representatives well in the forthcoming term in the UK Parliament. A Parliament further bloated by 45 new peers, in a house of Lords that now has something like 781 members! ( correct me if I have this number wrong it’s hard to keep up they create so many so often!)
We also have the likelyhood to see a referendum in 2016 to decide if the UK stays in the EU or heads for the exit door. The result of this is quite hard to call and understandably may divide opinion even within the SNP. The official party line is to support remaining inside the EU and to seek reform from the inside, the official UK Government position is to remain inside the EU too however many Conservative backbenchers aided and abetted by their UKIP chums want to walk away, and the view from opinion polls south of the border at least is that the weight of opinion is to leave. Scotland on the other hand has so far shown in polls, a desire to remain members of the EU though doubtless many will be watching the situation as it continues to unfold with Greece and its burgeoning debts, the frozen in the headlights inaction on the humaniarian crisis unfolding in Southern Europe and the behind closed doors dealings with the US by way of TTIP with discomfort. Which way will it all go? Who knows? If Scotland wants to stay and England with its considerably higher weight in the polls, and the possibility that No voters will be considerably more motivated to vote No than the more ambivalent remnants of the populous, a constitutional crisis could arise and who knows another Referendum? It’s too early to say but its going to be a busy year and the soles of many shoes will be worn out by many of our campaigning members. Strength to you all.