Greenock Telegraph 17th January 2020

Amidst the Brexit madness that is engulfing Westminster three other issues have been pushing themselves to the fore. Gambling related harm is rightly being debated and the UK Government is muting the idea of changes to the gambling act. It needs completely rewritten to be in line with the world of online gambling that we have now. The recent attempt by the big bookies to stream live English FA cup matches to only those that have a gambling account, was thankfully overturned in the face of cross-party outrage. Big reform is required and the sooner the better.

The delays in providing medical cannabis is unacceptable and the clamour for better education for GPs to allow them to prescribe is increasing. I had a meeting with the responsible minister (Baroness Blackwood). She is well informed, and I believe well-intentioned but if we are to catch up with Germany, Denmark, Canada, The Netherlands and other forward-looking nations then we need to prioritise clinical tests and on the back off those educate practitioners that have been left in the dark since the 1971 misuse of drugs act.

As was expected following the Labour party’s humiliation in the General Election they are blaming their leader. It’s difficult now to find any Labour members that admit they supported Jeremy Corbyn in the first place. It wasn’t like back in 2017, then he was the messiah, now he is in true Monty Python fashion just a very naughty boy. So, while we hurtle towards Brexit and the damage that will cause, the Labour Party are engaging in another round of navel gazing and trying to select a new leader that they can undermine with impunity. Meanwhile they don’t know where they stand in relation to indyref2 or the outcome of it. Not so much mixed messages more a complete lack of knowledge and engagement on the subject.

And not surprisingly the Prime Minister has declined a Section 30 request from the First Minister. The tone of his reply is derisory, and I expect he will now promise Scotland the earth in return for our undying loyalty. Remember the vow and how that worked out? Independence is coming and the UK Government have to realise that it benefits us all if we work with mutual respect to create a positive outcome. It’s coming yet for a ‘that.