Following the South Lanarkshire local government election results last week (May 5th), Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP, Christina McKelvie stated:
“It was with immense pride that the SNP have returned the largest number of councillors within South Lanarkshire and all our thanks go directly to the public for believing in our vision.
“This was a hard-fought campaign that was won on the basis of local issues – schools, roads, transport and homes.
“Your SNP councillors will strive to implement their progressive manifesto, making South Lanarkshire Council a more inclusive and transparent body that is open to all and excludes none.
SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina McKelvie has called on local people to sign up and help shape Scotland’s new social security system as a Scottish Government campaign to learn from the experiences of those currently using the service enters its final days.
At least 2,000 people with experience of the current social security system are being recruited to help shape Scotland’s new system – allowing the Scottish Government to learn from mistakes made in the past. The panels will work with the expert advisory group on disability and carers’ benefits.
Ms. McKelvie has said that it marks an important step on the Scottish Government’s plans to build a social security system based on dignity and respect.
Commenting, the SNP MSP said:
“The Scottish Government has been clear that it intends to build a fairer and more respectful social security system once the full powers are devolved over this area – and it is good to see them continue to make good on this promise.
“I hope people across Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse take this final opportunity to sign up to the Scottish Government’s panels and play their part in creating a social security system with fairness at its heart before the campaign ends.
“Any government system, be it in education, health, immigration or social security, needs to take fully into account the views and experiences of the people who have used this service at the frontline – and asking 2,000 people with service experience for their views has been a clear example of the Scottish Government doing exactly that.
“We have seen for too long the damage that has been wrought by the callous and ideological system operated by the Tories at Westminster – putting the needs of people last and doing all they can to scapegoat and stigmatise those that need the safety net of welfare.
“The new Scottish social security system has the chance to be different – to be bold and progressive.
“Last week I was delighted to support my colleague, the Minister for Social Security, Jeane Freeman MSP, when the Scottish Government announced there would be no private profit to be made through our new social security system. This will be a system by and for the people.
“The Scottish Government is committed to building a new social security system based on dignity and respect for people across my constituency, and contributing to the panels is an important step on the way to achieving this.”
To explore how you can shape Scotland's new social security agency, please see here:
An ‘Integration Agenda’ put forward in UKIP’s election manifesto not only seeks to ban the bourka. It also wants to subject schoolgirls to genital examinations annually and for parents to be prosecuted if a daughter is subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
“These are violent assaults upon the basic human right we all claim to ascribe to: freedom of religion,” argues Christina McKelvie MSP, Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse. “UKIP has, typically, deliberately confused fascist dominance with equality. Perhaps we should be banning nuns and certain extreme right-wing groups from wearing their chosen dress?
“This kind of supremacy technique is a massive insult and a handy foil for UKIP to pick on the Muslim community. For many years I have been an ardent campaigner on ways in which we can work towards the elimination of FGM. Slamming criminal legislation upon people involved is not the way to achieve that outcome.
“UKIP’s approach to integration is perhaps best summed up in its commitment to: ‘Immediate closure of schools where there is evidence of Islamist ideology being taught or imposed on children.’ This is straight racism and another attack upon the group UKIP most loathes. What would be their response, then, to an end of Roman Catholic education, or of Jewish education?
In Hibo Wardere’s book, ‘Cut’, the author describes her personal experience of FGM at the age of six. Wakened in the early hours and led into an unfamiliar tent at the bottom of her garden, Hibo was pinned down and subjected to the cruellest cut, ordered by her own mother.
“Of course we need to tackle FGM and develop the right strategy to stop it,” says Christina, “but laying down a command like this will only lead to more secretive and dangerous procedures being carried out. We need to follow through our own Scottish Government strategy* to develop greater awareness and better cross-community relationships instead of raising resentment.
Christina adds: “Hibo herself stresses that: ‘Our communities need desperately to be educated on how harmful and devastating [FGM] is for women and girls. Knowing in my head that over 200 million women and girls have suffered FGM is enough to keep me fighting every day.’
“So let’s tackle the real problem, the one that needs careful and sensitive management, not using the blunt instrument of criminality and attacks on basic human rights.”