2017 – An Annus Horribilis

Steven Paterson

How will 2017 be remembered insofar as political developments are concerned? 

Naturally, it will depend on one’s perspective, and I make no claim to be any more neutral than the next person. 

Those whose goal is to frustrate the progress of Scottish political institutions and structures will no doubt celebrate a successful year in politics. 

After all, although the snap General Election was a complete disaster for the Tories UK-wide, the return of 13 Tories in Scotland is the reason we still ‘enjoy’ a Tory Government at Westminster. Without them, there would not even have been the £1 billion bung of our money to buy the support of the DUP, as their ten votes would not have achieved a majority. 

2017 was a crucial year constitutionally, with Brexit looming ominously in the distance, and yet month after month is going by with no measurable progress of much extent on what post-Brexit Scotland or post-Brexit UK will look like. In a year where a snap election was called explicitly because of Brexit, it is remarkable that so little has been determined and that, over eighteen months on since the EU referendum, we are still largely guessing at exactly what it is the UK has decisively and irrevocably chosen.

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Our Man in Westminster?

RBS Bannockburn

The announcement that Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 62 branches across the UK, including three – Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane – in the Stirling area, is particularly unwelcome.

The reaction of the UK Government, which owns a 73 percent stake in the bank bought with taxpayers’ money, is simply unacceptable.

Here’s why : many of the same taxpayers who were obliged to step in and save this corporate leviathan from collapse after it bit off more toxic debt than it could chew are the same taxpayers who rely on high street banking services on their own high streets. It is because many of the people who use these banking services are those who do not use the internet, who do not have smartphones and thus do not have any alternative but to travel greater distances to access high street banks.

And it is because the people own RBS, and the people are saying no to these closures.

Take the spontaneous grassroots campaign against the closure of the Bannockburn RBS branch, which has been able to generate over 2,700 signatures on a petition against the proposed closure through having volunteers including local SNP Councillor Alasdair MacPherson and MSP Bruce Crawford manning a table on the street outside the branch to gather signatures from people passing by.

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Local Representatives Welcome Study To Be Carried Out On A84 Safety

Bruce Crawford at Aberfoyle

Local representatives Bruce Crawford MSP and Councillor Evelyn Tweed have welcomed the outcome of a recent meeting on road safety on the A84 through Blair Drummond.

During the meeting, concerns were raised about recent accidents that have taken place in the area.

An FOI response from Transport Scotland has shown that there have been a total of 14 reported personal injury accidents on the A84 in the Blair Drummond area between January 1 2014 and August 29 2017.

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Stirling MSP Submits Motion to Parliament Condemning RBS Closure In Bannockburn

RBS Bannockburn

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament, condemning RBS’ planned closure of the Bannockburn branch.

Mr Crawford’s motion highlights that this closure will seriously affect a number of communities including Bannockburn, Fallin, Cowie, and Plean and calls on UK Government ministers to intervene on this matter in order to prevent the loss of RBS services in Bannockburn.

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MSP Encourages Parents In Stirling Area To Make Use Of Free Flu Vaccine  

Bruce Crawford voiced concern

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford is encouraging all parents and guardians of 2-5 year olds in the Stirling Constituency to take advantage of the free flu vaccine before Christmas.

In a bid to keep children virus-free this winter, GP practices across Scotland are providing the nasal flu vaccine free of charge.  

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