Monday 23rd June 2014


The cynics will have you believe that ordinary people can’t affect change. Rather, it’s only the politicians and those at the top who have influence.

Well, last week showed that people power can make a difference.

Following pressure from campaigners Health Minister Alex Neil took a U-turn and announced that the use of Mesh implants would be suspended.

The day after, he announced that hospitals are being told to reduce the working hours of junior doctors. The move comes in response to the campaign initiated by Brain Connelly whose daughter Dr Lauren Connelly was tragically killed in a car accident as she was driving home after an arduous 12-hour night shift.

These are just some recent examples of where people power can achieve change, but there are many more.

The tireless efforts of anti-knife campaigner John Muir led to a rethink of how we approach knife crime in this country.

The local students angry about the cuts to college funding caused the government to put back some of the money it took away.

The tenants whose lives had been adversely affected by the bedroom tax banded together and forced the government to fork out the full funding to mitigate its impact.

And the determination of those suffering from rare conditions and terminal illnesses has led to a shake-up of Scotland’s drug-approval-system.

The road to change can often be a long one fraught with disappointments, but there’s no doubt that ordinary people can influence things for the better.

Indeed, it’s one of the virtues of the Scottish Parliament, that it is accessible to people from all walks of life and gives them a platform to have their voices heard. In essence, it is why devolution works.