Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
Thank you for taking a moment to look at this email. I want to keep everyone in touch with what’s going on in the constituency and what it might mean for you.
My door is open to anyone who seeks advice and support, so you can phone or email me at any time.
You also have the option of visiting constituency surgeries on Mondays. You don't need to make an appointment.
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It’s coming yet for all that, and all that…yes, we are campaigning for our MPs – Angela Crawley, Lanark and Hamilton East; Margaret Ferrier, Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
Come out and help us cheer them on! You can check at your local SNP office to get details of what campaigning is planned and in which communities.
And make sure you and your family of over 18s are on the electoral register. Check it out here: https://www.mygov.scot/register-to-vote-scotland/
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning, Ian Blackford MP, head of the SNP’s Westminster group, declared: “Scotland’s desire for independence is unstoppable and must not be blocked by the next Prime Minister…it will not change whether there is a Corbyn or a Johnson government in London.”
There seems to be a complete schism between Labour in London and Labour in Holyrood. While Mr Corbyn says that there is no way, never, unquestionably that he would grant the right for Scotland to have control of its own destiny, his Scottish party seems to take a very different view saying that they would not try to stop a referendum.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson keeps finding more toys to chuck out of his pram while he tries to hide under the quilt and say nothing because every time he speaks, he makes a gaff. I have a mental image of Dominic Cummings, his chief advisor, with a great big iron key in his hand and shouting, ‘get back in your pram.’
Do you think would he ‘die in a ditch’ to stop a Scottish Referendum?
What clearly puts the SNP into the ascendency is our progress on mainstream policies like getting rid of the Bedroom Tax, improving access to free childcare, better care for older people in their own homes, free university tuition, free prescriptions, banning fracking and much more.
This party, this Parliament, is doing everything it can in Scotland and in Westminster to mitigate some of the most damaging impact caused by, for example, Universal Credit.
I am constantly seeing the evidence of the ongoing devastation caused by London Tories. I talk to constituents who are on the edge of despair, who fear losing their homes, their benefits and their family lives because of a decision imposed by Westminster.
The worst of all in these terms is, of course, Brexit. Put it this way, ‘You ain’t seen nothin’ yet’ in the famous rock classic.
Our voice is ignored. Predictably but no less disgracefully for that, the BBC has excluded Nicola Sturgeon from its leadership debates. Where’s that promised equality, that ‘family of nations,’ that refuses representation from Westminster’s third largest party?
At the SNP National Conference last month, our First Minster said: “Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU has been ignored.
“The Conservative Party has ridden roughshod over the Scottish Parliament.
For the first time ever the UK Government has legislated on devolved matters without the consent of Holyrood.
“With so-called ‘moderate’ Conservatives in full retreat and the hard-line Brexit ultras on the march, that is surely only a taste of what is to come.
“The Tories’ number one pledge at this election is to take Scotland out of the EU against our will.
“Now, I doubt there is anyone in Scotland who is not heartily sick of the Brexit nightmare.
But the Boris Johnson deal does not ‘get Brexit done’ - it just opens the door to the next episode of the Brexit horror show.
“His Brexit deal covers the exit terms not the future relationship. Ahead of us would lie many years of wrangling over the UK’s future economic relationship, justice and security arrangements, fisheries, migration and much more.
“What we do know is that the Tories will take Scotland out of the Customs Union and Single Market, a trading block eight times bigger than the UK.
“That will hit jobs and living standards hard. Economic analysis says it will cost every person in Scotland £1600.
“It will take away rights and opportunities. And it will put Scotland at a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland, with no say over our future.
“Under the Tory deal England will have voted to leave and will leave. Wales will have voted to leave and will leave. Northern Ireland will get a special deal.
“Scotland – with the highest remain vote of any nation in the UK - will be taken out of the EU against our will.
“That is anti-democratic and unfair.”
It is ‘democratic’ not to have a second referendum on the biggest question in our modern history after a first attempt that depended upon a margin-of-error 2% win for Leave, along with an unclear amount of ‘dark’ money being poured into the campaign. But we can’t have an investigation into that question.
It is ‘democratic’ to deny Scotland to make its own decision about its own future.
Brexit is the new democracy. If you stray from it, you will be labelled a ‘traitor,’ ‘scumbag’ or worse. You may be threatened with verbal abuse on the streets or in a pub and the abuse you will receive on social networks makes me ask just how deceived voters have become. What now passes for normal is as surreal as 1984 was when Orwell wrote it. It couldn’t possibly happen.
The only answer is Scottish independence. As the FM said at Conference: “There can be no Westminster veto over Scotland’s right to choose our own future and build the kind of country we want to be.
“The fact is Scotland is one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
“We have talent and resources in abundance.
“Nations of our size - many with fewer advantages than Scotland - top the league for national income per head, wellbeing and happiness.
“With our world-class universities, cutting-edge industries, vast green energy potential, and one of the world’s most highly skilled populations we should be entering a golden era for Scotland.
“With independence, our country will thrive.”
Asda, Larkhall store
I was delighted to join the Happy Little Helpers make shopping easier for children with autism. The Larkhall Asda Store has become the 385th in the chain to supply the free Makaton shopping aids.
Makaton is a unique language programme, using symbols and signs for objects to help children ask for items they want, but might struggle to communicate verbally.
It helps develop a range of communication skills including, understanding, attention, listening, recall and organisation of language.
Created by Asda employee Jenny Barnett, whose son has non-verbal autism, the Happy Little Helper shopping lists feature a whole range of products from milk and eggs to bread and bananas that can be added to the list then ticked off when they go in the trolley.
It was wonderful to see Asda’s Happy Little Helpers scheme in action.
Many parents use Makaton as an aid to communicate with their young children and the scheme helps to remove the stress of in-store shopping for children and parents.
I encourage more businesses across the country to consider what they can do to make the shopping experience more inclusive for all.
Asda Larkhall store manager, Amie MacLean, said: “The aim of the new boards and symbols is to make shopping that little bit easier for Makaton users, so I was delighted with the positive feedback from the minister.
“Asda is proud to be the first major UK supermarket chain to offer Makaton nationwide.
“Any shoppers who would like to try out the shopping lists should visit the customer services desk in store on arrival, and a colleague will be able to advise on how to borrow a board and symbols for use throughout their shop.”