Ruth Davidson spent the election campaign desperately downplaying her party affiliation. She hid the Tory label and David Cameron was even barred from the campaign trail! The Tories think that they can continue to deflect and divert from their party’s record. But they’re wrong.
Here are just some of the things Ruth Davidson would rather you didn’t know.
The Scottish Tory leader wants to reintroduce prescription charges – a tax on ill health.
The Tories want to tax people for being ill by introducing a prescription charge of £8.40 in Scotland. Returning to the old system of charging would mean people with long-term conditions, and people managing or recovering from cancer, could have to pay for their prescriptions.
The Tories want to hit Scottish students with a £6,000 tuition fees bill.
Ruth Davidson wants to hit Scottish students with a £6,000 tuition fees bill – despite the fact that it would raise almost nothing in this parliament.
When George Osborne announced new cuts to support for disabled people, Ruth Davidson said nothing.
George Osborne announced a £4.4 billion cut to disability benefits in the UK Budget earlier this year. Three statements were issued in Ruth Davidson’s name welcoming proposals in the Budget – none questioned the cuts to disabled benefits. She only decided to speak out after Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation.
With the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament, we will maintain – not cut – disability benefits.
Foodbank use continues to grow as a direct result of benefit changes and delays.
The Trussell Trust, the largest providers of food parcels, saw the number of three-day emergency food parcels needed in Scotland increase by 14 per cent in the last year. In 2015/16 133,726 supplies of food were issued, an increase from 117,689 in the previous year.
By the end of their decade of austerity the Tories will have cut £3.3 billion from Scotland’s budget.
By 2020, the Tories austerity cuts will mean that the budget available to the Scottish Government for public services, like schools and the NHS, will be £3.3 billion lower in real terms than it was in 2010.
The Scottish Tories fully support further austerity cuts and when George Osborne tried to cut Scotland’s budget by up to £7 billion in return for further powers, Ruth Davidson was urging the SNP government to do a deal. We didn’t accept this – John Swinney saw off the Tory Treasury’s cash-grab.
The Tories want to spend up to £205 billion on new nuclear weapons.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has calculated that the cost of renewing the Trident nuclear programme has now breached £200 billion. Yet, the Tories are intent on renewal and basing nuclear weapons in Scotland’s waters for another fifty years.
The Tory Trade Union Bill is an attack on workers and their fundamental rights.
The Tory Trade Union Bill is an attack on workers as it threatens their fundamental rights to organise, bargain collectively and withdraw their labour.
Provisions in the Trade Union Bill include curbing facility time – the amount of time and resources unions can negotiate with employers to represent their members. The Bill would also see the abolition of check-off, which enables union members’ subscriptions to be deducted from their salaries.
The SNP will argue for Scotland to be exempted from the Bill – and oppose it across the UK too.
Ruth Davidson won’t stand up for shipyard workers on the Clyde.
During the referendum shipbuilding workers on the Clyde were made a series of promises by the Tories about the future of their jobs – and won a contract for 13 Type 26 frigates. This has already been cut to 8 frigates and now there are doubts over the timetable for the work beginning, with trade unions warning of a loss of up to 800 jobs.
Given the chance to stand up for shipyard workers during the election, Ruth Davidson chose to stand up for the UK government –claiming there was no issue with the orders.
The Tories want to scrap the Human Rights Act.
The Act sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to.
It incorporates key rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. These include, for example: the right to life, the right not to be tortured, the right not to be enslaved, the right to a fair trial, the right to not be discriminated against, the right to free elections, and much more.
We will continue to oppose the abolition of the Human Rights Act, and will not consent to its abolition.
The Tory government is slashing support for our renewable industry.
The UK government has slashed support for renewables, with subsidies for onshore wind being scrapped altogether. Experts say their approach to the industry is harming investment, putting jobs in Scotland at risk and jeopardising energy security.
Joan McAlpine is a South Scotland MSP