Monday 19th January 2015
“Public services are the bedrock of a fair and prosperous society”. This was the opening line in the Scottish Government’s motion for the debate in Parliament last week about protecting public services.
There are few politicians who would disagree with this sentiment. Indeed, this winter we witnessed the hugely important role they play, whether it was the nurses and doctors working round the clock treating patients in A&E, the gritters on the roads or the police on the beat keeping our communities safe.
It’s disappointing therefore, that when there is such consensus on this issue, there has been little progress made in protecting our public services.
Over ten years ago Professor David Kerr, well known to us here in Inverclyde, warned that there were serious challenges facing our health services including the rise in our elderly population.
And five years ago this government’s economic advisor Crawford Beveridge told us that we face the worst financial crisis since the war.
If Beveridge provided the economic imperative for politicians in Scotland, Campbell Christie outlined the moral imperative for us to act.
The failure to pay heed to these warnings is there for us all to see here in Inverclyde with NHS buildings in dire need of repair, cuts to college places and a regeneration budget that has been slashed.
Instead of trading insults as politicians did in the debating chamber during last Tuesday’s debate, we should use the massive consensus that exists about the importance of our public services to get things moving.
Let us have a constructive debate and let us use the money that we have wisely to fulfil our commitment to protect our services and ensure they continue to be the bedrock of our society for many years to come.