1. Most of Rutherglen’s problems originated from the time the Burgh was part of Glasgow. Since returning to South Lanarkshire the area has undergone a change for the better. The SNP's Small Business Bonus Scheme has helped local traders to weather the economic storm and the SNP Government in Scotland has won European funding for investment in the area. The latest tranche of this funding will come through Clyde Gateway to create a Business Hub in Stonelaw Road and a similar venture in Dalmarnock Road. These Business Hubs will receive £1.1 million in investment and create around 100 local jobs.
2. Tasers have proved to be an efficient deterrent in other areas as the very threat of their use is usually enough to calm the situation. The SNP have kept their promise by employing over 1000 extra police officers to make our streets safer. Our two council wards in Rutherglen plus Blantyre have the highest numbers of local police officers in the West of Scotland. Under Labour these areas had four local officers among them. Under the SNP this figure has grown to 36.
3. The greatest threat to our post offices will come from Labour’s Tom Greatrex. Like his predecessor Tommy McAvoy he will follow the Labour Party line. Mr McAvoy of course voted 13 times in Westminster for Labour’s Post Office closure plans. Basically, under Labour, the Post Office will have no future. Labour are still hell-bent on privatising the post, only by voting SNP will we ensure the continuation of a public Post Office service.
4. Having signed the Royal British Legion’s pledge to do my bit for the Armed Forces family, I intend to press forward their agenda at Westminster. The SNP opposed going into an illegal war in Iraq in the first place and it gives me no pleasure to say we were right. Afghanistan is a problem that can not be solved by Britain and America alone. What worries me the most is that while President Obama has announced withdrawal plans for American troops, Westminster dithers over the situation. Our brave troops are in the impossible situation of not knowing when they will be coming home. Our forces have been sent into impossible circumstances by Westminster without the necessary planning or equipment.
5. In one sense Labour has partly solved the immigration problem. Due to Labour’s recession making things so bad, the majority of immigrant workers have already returned home. Yes, we need to tighten controls but introducing Identity Cards is not the way to do it. Much better to spend the £5 billion cost of on jobs and training. Give Scots workers the skills required for the modern economy and we will not need to rely on immigrant workers to fill the posts.
6. Many folk from Rutherglen and Cambuslang have gone on to earn fame and fortune but the late actor Russell Hunter famous for his role as 'Lonely' in Callan was a favourite. In the music world, Midge Ure, born in Cambuslang but who learned his early skills at Rutherglen Academy, was another. I may be accused of 'cosying up' here but the Reformer’s Kenny Smith has set new standards for the local paper giving great coverage to local groups and events and advertising the work of local organisations.
But my favourite two 'Ruglonians' at the moment have to be my fellow councillors Gordon Clark and Anne Higgins who work so tirelessly for their wards.