If I were to pick issues of concern for me the first would be Global Warming

Monday July 31st 2023


Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

If I were to pick issues of concern for me the first would be Global Warming.

I wonder if there are still Global Warming deniers out there? Of course there are, but the sights of blazing forests, year on year droughts, temperatures where you could fry and egg on the pavement, some in-shore seas the temperature of a comfortable bath is more than sufficient evidence.

Yet some folk just can’t wait to have a selfie beside the temperature signage in Death Valley Arizona. It’s become an even bigger tourist attraction. But for other poor souls avoiding blazing heat let alone a blazing home it is not an opportunity for a selfie. Now their punitive climate is not necessarily of their making but of all of us, and so governments, not just across this small isle but worldwide must collaborate or frankly there will not be a world worth collaborating about.

Yet now the Tories have announced issuing licences for more drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea and Labour has said if elected it would honour those licences. Honour? Handy stuff when you are both grubbing around for votes and you can smell an election ahead. But the price of votes will be paid by our climate and the world our children inherit. These are short term advantage choices.

But we can individually each do our bit only if we are fortunate to have choices. The impact of the cost of living falls heavily on the most vulnerable. They do not have choices. After thirteen years of a Conservative government which insisted on Brexit, the UK economy is in a worse state than its EU neighbours, with almost twice the inflation rate they have. Brexit now too supported by Labour. Of course, I repeat, we voted 62% Remain in the EU. Yet there is not a smidgen of doubt that Brexit (add in Truss) has been and will continue to be an unmitigated disaster with the predictable demands for pay increases, and in England, though not Scotland, strikes.

The Scottish Government, unlike the UK, communicated with unions and employers. But only so much can be done with devolution. Meantime, those on low fixed income, pensions, disabled simply cannot cope. The only UK economic growth area is Foodbanks. Labour touts itself as the solution. It is not. Sir Keir Starmer is Tory-lite, even to the right of Tony Blair and that is saying something. Starmer, keeping the Tory Two Child Benefit Cap where benefit can only be claimed if those other children are borne through proven rape, says it all. Nothing, absolutely nothing will redress the balance between rich and poor, to truly have a socially democratic society with a tax and benefit system designed to be fair and fund decent public services; to radically redress climate change, until we have our own independence, have choices. It is more urgent than ever.

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