Tele column – 31st August 2018

As vice-chair of the All-party parliamentary groups on medical cannabis under prescription and drug policy reform I have been campaigning for changes to the UK drug laws. The problems that exist within society and the communities within, are not the drugs.  It’s the deprivation, isolation, loneliness and poverty, leading to anger, dissatisfaction, hopelessness and depression. One pound spent on harm reduction, saves three on health care further down the line and seven on the criminal justice system. It makes financial and humanitarian sense to provide care and guidance rather than prosecution. It is time that we reappraised our attitude to drugs and moved forward with a fact-based strategy that does not harm society but benefits it. We can’t win the war on drugs. We can and we must win the peace.

There are around 3900 Inverclyde women affected by the changes to women’s state pension. Many local woman along with women from all over the country have joined the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) movement and have done an outstanding job to make sure that this issue is not brushed aside. The UK Government have not contributed any funds to helping those affected. Together with my SNP colleagues I continue to apply pressure to the Government to explore affordable solutions. The women of the WASPI campaign have fulfilled their part of the bargain by being productive citizens, some of them having worked since they were 15 years old. And while working they paid their tax and national insurance. Now it is time for the UK Government to honour their side of the contract.