Every political candidate of every colour and shade gets abuse from trollers and I've had more than my fair share of them! The latest lot, members of the Conservative party, are now accusing me of destroying Hamilton. Since I know it's nonsense - and so do my many supporters - I don't get so much annoyed as depressed! It seems it's too much to expect trollers and their troll-kin to think about facts rather than venting vile abuse.

With the elections just two weeks away, the people of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse will be making their choice and I hope they will be putting both their votes for the SNP. Certainly, during the last while, that's what a lot of the people on the doorsteps and in the streets are telling me it's what they will be doing.

We are out on the streets, chapping the doors, running events and street stalls and making sure we use every opportunity to talk to people about what we have achieved in government. It's a busy time for us and we'll all be wearing out some footwear in the process. Campaigning for what we believe in is in our blood!

 

At the Yes Hub in Hamilton during the referendum campaign

I thought now was a good moment to look back on a few of the things we've achieved and look forward to what else we might be able to do in the next five years if you decide to re-elect me - and to remind those trollers of some of the things we've managed to achieve.

There have been some great successes, things that really matter to local people, and which are having a real impact upon lives.

Just recently, we saw the success of my long-running campaign to make sure that the University of the West of Scotland didn't vanish somewhere along the M8 but instead stays where it belongs: here in Hamilton.

I've taken on South Lanarkshire Council on a whole feast of things from their attempts to cut teacher numbers to closing local toilets; from the mess they got into over unequal pay that cost council tax payers £100,000 and duplicity over various cuts that they didn't need to make.

I've run lots of job fairs to help young people meet local employers and match up their future skills to real demand. I've supported the implementation of the - real - Living Wage Accreditation Scheme in South Lanarkshire, backed free microchipping alongside the Dog's Trust, backed the Scottish Refugee Council in trying to get a better deal for Asylum Seekers.

More locally, I've helped to launch the Lanarkshire Women's Rights Centre in Hamilton, and backed the establishment of a local Post Natal Depression group. I've supported the Covey Befrienders, fought against blacklisting, helped one parent families and encouraged VASlan.

As you might know, I've had a long-time involvement in support for the victims of MND - this crippling disease gradually destroyed my own father - so I participated in the Silence Speaks campaign with MND Scotland. We recorded a library of voices at the Scottish Parliament which hopefully will provide 'voices' for victims later on. I was especially pleased to see recent legislation passed by our Parliament that gives people who suffer from MND to automatic right to voice services.

I've pushed for Scottish Government ministers to give support to our BID application; we've got funding for free town centre wi-fi and I've worked hard to represent businesses locally and been busy securing the small business bonus for them.

There have been high points and, well, not so high!

When Iain Duncan Smith introduced the Bedroom Tax, alongside the Chancellor trying to ditch Tax Credits, the introduction of Personal Independence Payments, huge cuts in Disability Living Allowance and the introduction of something called Universal Credit. We're still trying to work out what that means.

I have seen constituents whose lives have been devastated by cuts. To me, caring and compassionate policies for the most vulnerable people are not some sort of luxury. They are the absolute right of those who need them. The notion of the 'deserving poor' might have fitted into Victorian society but it definitely does not have a role in any modern, civilised society.

That Iain Duncan Smith has resigned is a relief, but I have not for a moment forgotten any of the devastating cuts he has been happy to introduce already. This is, after all, the author of the Bedroom Tax.

Yes, we've managed to secure some important powers under the new agreement - but it's not enough to give us the freedom to make our own big policy decisions on things like immigration, welfare or Trident for example.

 

 Trident, perhaps the ultimate weapon of mass destruction

 We've all watched the horrors of the current migration crisis as the turmoil in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq continue to kill, injure and displace millions of people. Westminster just says 'no' and David Cameron declines any involvement or support for folk who are literally trying to stay alive. This is a world issue on a scale not seen since World War II and it needs an international solution. Just declaring 'nothing to do with us' isn't going to make the world a safer or better place.

Out of that crisis come other crises, like the explosion in human trafficking and the violence that goes along with that. The new Scottish legislation on this will help freeze out the unscrupulous traffickers and protect the lives of children and young people captured and traded by them.

Now it's time to look ahead, to the next Scottish Parliament and, I hope, to my return as your constituency MSP. I know from the feedback that constituents appreciate what I and my team have managed to achieve for them and I will carry on doing everything possible to help and support people with problems. It might not be headline-grabbing. People's issues are always handled confidentially, but it is an absolutely fundamental part of everything I do.

I hope that you will want to re-elect me. If you would like to help, please call along to the Hub in Hamilton for a chat.

Remember to vote SNP in both the constituency and the list vote.