The starting gun
March 21st, 2011
There has been an increased flurry of activity in Edinburgh this week, with boxes packed up, legislation rushed through and pledges being made.
As of tomorrow, the parliament will be dissolved, I will be out of a job for at least seven weeks and my future in politics will be in your hands.
So our files and folders have been put in storage, several new laws had to be passed by the end of the session and the various political parties have already started making their pitch to the electorate.
Dissolution brings to an end a disappointing four-year term for the SNP government.
When they came to power in 2007, we were making significant progress in modernising our waterfront, creating new schools and building new homes.
But when they depart office this week, they leave behind rising youth unemployment, particular among young nurses, teachers and construction workers, deep cuts of more than 60 per cent to our regeneration budgets, our college in a financial crisis and our neighbourhoods less safe because of a soft approach to crime.
While spending continues on pet projects in the north east of Scotland, there can be no doubt that the cuts being handed down from the Scottish Government threaten our ambitions for Inverclyde.
Significantly, we have now had a change of Government in Westminster and with the Tories back in power, these are nervous times for those of us who remember the Thatcher years and the negative impact it had on Inverclyde.
So people will be bracing themselves for an onslaught in the next seven weeks of over-friendly politicians, claims and counter-claims and promises and pledges.
I would urge voters to listen carefully and ask the hard questions because I believe this will be the most important election since devolution.
We need a government which will stand up for the Inverclyde, matches our ambitions for the area and protects us from the Tories.