Greenock Telegraph 30th December

The ongoing debate around Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom has continued throughout 2022 and while the U.K. Labour Party continued to rehash their old ideas around constitutional reform it is clear that winning ‘red wall’ seats in England and remaining outside the European Union (EU) , European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) were more important. 

Meanwhile both the Conservative and Unionist Party and the U.K. Labour Party are wedded to Brexit. Despite the fact that it has caused the Scottish economy to shrink and the U.K. has the worst economic growth in the G20 bar Russia.

An independent Scotland shall have choices to make, including whether we want to join the EU, EEA and EFTA. Those that oppose Scotland’s right to make these choices dusted off the old chestnut that we would need to use the Euro to be in the EU despite the fact that it will have taken 15 years for Bulgaria to adopt the Euro in 2024, and Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland still use their own currency with no plans to change. 

As the year progressed energy prices soared and consumers felt the pain, while energy producers announced record profits. In Scotland we pay higher standing charges to connect to the grid, a privatised grid and our bills are on average £800 more.

Because the U.K. government has failed to invest in clean green renewable energy we find ourselves looking enviously to the Nordic countries where bills are much lower thanks to plentiful, cheap renewable energy. Scotland has the capacity to produce even more energy than the average of the Nordic countries. The U.K. government will not support Scotland to fulfil its energy potential and we are all paying the price.

As we look forward to 2023 I shall reiterate my belief that the best people to make decisions for Scotland are the people of Scotland and the sooner we take on that responsibility the sooner we can start to build an independent nation that we can all be proud and supportive of.