Colin Beattie writes his first column of the new Parliament

Monday May 17th 2021

Colin Beattie MSP
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View

As I write this article, I am slowly coming out of the election campaign and returning to my role as the MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all who voted for me, and to all those who campaigned so hard for my re-election. I look forward to continuing to work with all my constituents and will ensure that your trust is not misplaced.

The campaign itself felt a little unreal since due to Covid I did not knock on any doors and face-to-face meetings with the public were very limited. When it is safer to do so, I intend to knock doors across the constituency to ensure I am truly keeping in step with my constituents needs and wishes.

Likewise, I hope to resume face-to-face surgeries as soon as permitted. In the meantime, I will continue my telephone surgeries for those who need assistance. These can be set up by calling 0131 454 0204.


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One less pleasant aspect of the campaign was the level of abusive and negative social media activity. I mentioned it briefly in a previous article but it truly is notable to a level I have never experienced before. This seems to have been the case with most candidates from across the political spectrum. We know several MSP’s decided to stand down at the last election rather than continue to face the unrelenting onslaught. I know of other outstanding candidates who decided not to put themselves forward to suffer this abuse.

We do not have the power in Scotland to take any action on this, but I will be writing to the UK Government asking them to consider what can be done to clean up social media. I feel the social media companies themselves also have a responsibility in this respect. In doing this we need also to ensure that the right to free speech is not compromised but protected rather than being crushed in a torrent of targeted abuse.

As restrictions ease, we must remember Covid-19 has not gone away and still poses a real risk to our communities. New variants are still circulating which is worrying and these need to be suppressed. As restrictions are relaxed, please do remain cautious while enjoying our new-found freedoms.

We are now seeing the consequences of Covid-19 on the economy in conjunction with the impact of Brexit. I have always stated that jobs and the economy are the crucial elements of Scotland’s recovery and prosperity – this has not changed. I remain confident that together we can navigate our way through to a bright future for our constituency. For this to be most effective, we need to take back control of our affairs and employ the full range of powers which we need to maximise our recovery.

Our future is in our hands. It’s up to us what we make of it.

 

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