31 Dec 2010

As we look back at 2010 and forward to 2011, many of us have mixed feelings about both. I myself started the year as the MP for Glasgow East which was a fantastic job and a tremendous privilege. Then it was disappointing to lose the election in May. Since then I have enjoyed volunteering with Parkhead Citizens Advice Bureau and with Glasgow City Mission. Both CAB and GCM do a tremendous job, helping people in different ways. I intend to continue working with them until at least the end of March.

So what will 2011 bring? We all have hopes and perhaps also some of us have fears. I myself am hoping to be elected to the Scottish Parliament in May. The SNP Government has had a good track record since 2007 with more police on the streets, more cleaners in the hospitals, frozen council tax, and reduced prescription charges all delivered. Of course a minority government is always going to face defeats, such as when Labour and the Tories joined up to push through the Edinburgh tram scheme. That tram system has turned out to be a mess and a muddle; and it has meant there was not enough money left for the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL). Thanks very much, Labour, for putting Edinburgh ahead of Glasgow… I don’t think!

Glasgow East and Shettleston constituencies seem to have benefitted disproportionately from the SNP Government. With the M74 completion expected in 2011, the Commonwealth Games buildings now clearly visible, and the new rail link direct from our six stations to Edinburgh, we have certainly benefitted from more than our fair share of capital projects. On top of that, of course, Glasgow continues to be funded better per head by the SNP than any other mainland authority.

But what surprises may be in store for us (good or bad) that we are not expecting? I face uncertainty about a job and so do many reading this. Should we fear the future? I believe we can face 2011 with hope. Even if there are difficult times ahead, there will be opportunities to find answers, help our neighbours, and reconsider what are the priorities in life.

With all good wishes for the New Year.