The diversity of opinions that people hold about MPs and therefore by default me, never ceases to amaze me. In recent weeks I have been told by constituents that I shouldn’t be spending so much time on Ukrainian refugees as we have issues that need resolved in Inverclyde. I have also been encouraged by many constituents to do more for refugees. That is in keeping with the ongoing requests to either not attend Westminster or to be there for every sitting minute of every sitting day. There are also those that perceive me as somebody leeching a living off expenses and living a high life on my salary as an MP. Which is countered by those that actually read the independent parliamentary standards authority published data and understand it. And there is the ‘why am I not doing more for Scotland’s independence’ which is set against the ‘all you do is bang on about independence’. The facts are that in Inverclyde we have 77,000 people of which 60,622 are on the electoral register. For the Westminster general election 39,903 voted and of those 19,295 voted for me. I am therefore elected to represent Inverclyde as part of the wider parliamentary democracy. I can’t ask each person what they think on every issue and then do their bidding. I am entrusted to use my judgment. By the law of averages, I won’t make decisions that everyone agrees with every time. As Edmund Burke said in 1774 “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
Therefore, it’s plain to see that if I blew with the wind, I would not be serving my constituents well. My duty to you all is to listen and learn but ultimately there will be things we disagree on. Then we have to respect each-others opinion and conduct ourselves in a mature rational manner. I make this plea not for me but for the many council candidates that will be putting their names forward for the Inverclyde council election on May 5th. These people are stepping up and are willing to take responsibility for their communities. I hope that is respected by the electorate and by their fellow candidates. Inverclyde deserves that.