Greenock Telegraph 10th September 2021

The active participation of the electorate is fundamental to any functioning democracy. As an elected member, my office has always worked hard to ensure we have been as open and approachable as circumstances allow. The attitude that politics doesn’t matter and is best left to a select few runs contrary to everything that attracted me to it. Maybe this is why I find the UK Government’s new Elections Bill so worrying. It contains a myriad of proposals including the restriction of the involvement of civil society and the restriction of the right to vote through the voter ID requirement scheme. The bill has been widely condemned and will harm, not protect democracy. My opposition is not partisan politics, it is about preventing any single political party from consolidating political power under itself in government and tipping elections in its favour. While the Scottish Government engages with civil society, listens to people, and opens the political sphere, the UK Government seeks to end all opposition and silence dissent both on the campaign trail and in the streets. The SNP will continue to highlight the power grabbing nature of the Conservative and Unionist government and their undermining of elections. But the only way Scotland can be protected from the grasping ambitions of Westminster is through independence and the creation of a modern, democratic Scotland in which the integrity of electoral democracy cannot be undermined on a Prime Minister’s whim. With the council elections on the horizon, we in the SNP are calling for more and better engagement, higher turnouts, and the voice of the electorate to be unfettered.