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.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all working from home. If you need help, phone the office as normal and leave an outline message. Someone will soon get back to you. You can also email me at any time. All the contact details are at the end of this email.
If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive your personalised copy of this newsletter which we are sending out every two weeks, then please do sign up here or copy and paste to christina-mckelvie.org/newsletter.
The momentum is certainly gathering. You can almost taste it in the air. Yet another poll this week shows support for independence rising all over Scotland. Boris Johnson’s feeble attempts to hold back the tide like King Canute are becoming ever more unsustainable. Scotland’s future will be ours.
Consecutive polls have put support for independence above 50%. This is no freak single poll. This is becoming the established will of the Scottish electorate.
When we look at Mr Johnson’s ineptitude in failing to grasp the scale of Covid 19, his total disaster over exam results in England, to say nothing of his general contempt for the rights of Scottish people, it’s no surprise.
It’s no wonder we would prefer to make our own choices.
Despite calling for resignations in Holyrood, the Scottish Tories have been completely silent when it comes to seeking resignations in Westminster when the Government there was forced to do a U-turn over the decision by qualifications watchdog Ofqual.
Labour and the Tories are guilty of rank hypocrisy on this issue, and voters will see them as the opportunists they are. The silence from Douglas Ross and Richard Leonard is deafening.
By playing petty political games with the futures of our young people, Labour and the Tories have been left utterly humiliated by the decisions of their party leadership in England and Wales.
Clear Your Head #ClearYourHead
Covid-19, and all the anxiety associated with it, impacts upon different people in different ways. I feel tremendously the awful distress over exam results, though at least we moved quickly towards a remedy, unlike Mr Johnson’s government.
A lot of people, across every age and background, are struggling with restrictions that have seen them unable to spend time with family, get a holiday, or go for a wander around town shops.
As life starts to move on, make sure that you look after yourself by moving more too. Getting outside or doing something you really enjoy really does boost how you feel, especially if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
You can find out more about this initiative at #ClearYourHead and at the Healthier Scotland webpage, clearyourhead.scot.
Here, you can see lots of tips about encouraging and keeping your mental health buoyant.
It’s such an ever-moving environment with Covid-19 that it has become almost impossible to make decisions and be certain you will be able to follow them through.
There has been a burst of new infections. The First Minister reported mid-week that there had been a jump of 77, bringing the total number of cases recorded to 19,534.
A food processing plant in Perth was closed after four members of staff tested positive for the virus. Aberdeen remains in local lockdown and a poultry facility in Coupar Angus is out of production.
The number of cases linked to the 2 Sisters food processing plant in Coupar Angus has now leapt up to 68, and Nicola Sturgeon confirmed 59 employees have now tested positive for the virus, along with nine of their contacts.
Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing on the day Scotland recorded its second-highest number of new cases since May, Ms Sturgeon said 31 of the 71 new positive tests recorded overnight were in Tayside.
A total of 10 of the new cases were in the Grampian health board area, 16 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and four in Lanarkshire.
Though prevalence of the virus has slowed considerably, there are fears that the R number – the average number of people who pick the virus up from someone who is infected – may be rising.
For the moment at least, the First Minister has confirmed that Scotland will remain in Phase three of her four-part plan for easing restrictions.
Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts, including dance studios, will be able to re-open from 31 August. From today (Monday), organised outdoor contact sports, some outdoor live events, driving lessons, child contact centres, face-to-face advice services, bingo halls, amusement arcades and casinos, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling and both static and travelling funfairs can re-open – subject to strict adherence to guidance and appropriate physical distancing.
Changes in police powers will allow police the right to disperse large indoor gatherings.
Linda Fabiani standing down
My good friend, mentor and all round good gal will be a huge loss to our Parliament. Linda Fabiani, MSP for East Kilbride and Deputy Presiding Officer, has put in a brilliant shift on behalf of us all over the last 20-plus years, in other words, since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999.
Announcing her decision to stand down, Linda said: “It was a massive privilege to have helped bring about, and then be appointed to serve in the first ever SNP Government in what was a whirlwind period of change.
““For decades, even before joining the SNP, I believed Scotland - like other small and successful nations - should make its own decisions. As with so many dedicated activists I’ll never stop campaigning for independence.
“Everyone who believes Scotland has the right to determine its own future has a role to play in making that happen. Being at the ‘forefront’ as an elected member was just one way of doing my bit and making my contribution.
“The betrayal of The Vow given to the Scottish people in 2014 means Indyref2 is needed; the Smith Commission accepted the principle of Scotland’s right to choose. The UK Government’s decision to strip Holyrood of the powers it needs to protect Scotland’s interests means public demand will become unstoppable. When it happens, I’ll be there.
“But I’m looking forward to having more time, I hope, for a bit of travel, to see family and friends overseas and at home who I would dearly love to spend quality time with.
“I’ll keep fighting against injustice and probably carry on with some of my international work. I hope I can contribute in some way to my own community, too.
“And, of course, I will be campaigning for independence – that never stops.”
I am confident that the East Kilbride MSP and Deputy Presiding Officer will not go gentle into that good night and I know we haven’t heard the last of Fabulous Fabiani who made different coloured tights into a fashion statement and a trademark around Holyrood!
The very best of luck, my dear friend.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP?
The community spirit shown by people across Lanarkshire has been heart-warming. If you would like to offer your help, there are a whole host of new groups working across Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
They are working together to help spread cheer and make sure the most vulnerable in our area are getting the necessities they need.
The range of services provided include delivering shopping to elderly or vulnerable neighbours, using online group chats to combat social isolation and loneliness, and handing out care packages to the elderly and vulnerable.
If you are in Hamilton, you can find more information about the Hamilton Covid 19 Warriors here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/213851619986142
If you are in Larkhall, you can find out more information about the Covid 19 Rainbows – Larkhall here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1092656721095368/permalink/1092743704420003
If you are in Stonehouse, you can find out more information about Stonehouse Coronavirus Community Support here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3402877913061116
At this time, it has never been more important for us all to look after our neighbours and family.
HELP SERVICES AVAILABLE
For Scottish Government information - https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
For NHS Scotland information - https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus
For Resilience planning information - https://www.readyscotland.org/
For young people - https://young.scot/
Parents https://www.parentclub.scot/ and https://www.children1st.org.uk/help-for-families/parentline-scotland/
For older people - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/