Local people will have read SNP MSP Joan McAlpine’s letter (The Galloway Gazette, March 9) with amazement.
According to her, the Scottish government is in no way responsible for the unemployment crisis facing Dumfries and Galloway. This is just the latest example of what has become the SNP’s way of working: be quick to claim the credit for the positives, but pass the buck when things get difficult.
I am the first to say that the Tory-led UK government’s cuts and tax rises are causing pain and misery for families right across our region. There Ms McAlpine and I agree. But where we disagree is that she claims the Scottish government can’t do anything about it.
Reading her letter, you could be forgiven for thinking the SNP was a bystander, watching from the sidelines. That is wilful ignorance of the powers of devolution and should be exposed as such. The SNP government is in charge of a devolved budget of more than £30 billion. It can take a different path from the Tories, but it chooses not to. Too often it rubber stamps Tory cuts or, as is the case of funding to Scottish councils, actually double the Tory cut. It is illogical for Ms McAlpine to claim separation from the UK is a magic wand to cure all our problems when the SNP refuses to use the levers it has with devolution.
The truth is that the SNP is too distracted by its separation campaign. It sees running our country as a means to its own ends, rather than what it should be: fighting tooth and nail to make the lives of Scots better right here and now.
And while Ms McAlpine is bemoaning the Tories in her letter, her SNP colleagues on Dumfries and Galloway Council are cosying up to them. They have backed the Tory council in almost every vote since 2007. It is because SNP councillors supported the Tory council’s budget last month that they were able to push through cuts to teachers and classroom assistants, to spend more money on a new behind the scenes policy officer.
We all know the Tory government’s cuts mean times are tough, but for the SNP simply to wash its hands of all the problems facing Scots isn’t good enough. We would respect the SNP more if it was honest about the fact it is partly to blame for the jobs crisis, but I fear we will continue to see the SNP bury its head in the sand and point the finger at anyone else.
Russell Brown MP,
Dumfries and Galloway Constituency.