Scotland must have and can have a brighter, better future

Westminster politics can be pretty depressing. It is ­completely dominated by the despair of a Tory Brexit.

Despair may seem like a strong word given all the troubles round the world – but the frustration of watching this incompetent, callous UK government bump from pillar to post does lead to a kind of hopelessness.

The Tories are playing politics with people’s lives and jobs.

Brexit is getting scarier and more hopeless by the day.

The Tories are trying to force through something their own cabinet don’t believe in – and worse – something they know is seriously damaging to the ­livelihoods of millions.

All they do is fight in the open with ministers describing their own ­government’s Brexit plans as “crazy”.

They are paralysed by Brexit.

In Scotland – amid all the despair of living with a Tory Brexit – a few things have happened within the last few days that give real cause to be optimistic about the future.

First – there was the survey which made really interesting reading – that showed that the Scots are the happiest people in the UK.

So much so that we are cheering up the rest of the country.

This was the Office for National ­Statistics’s annual wellbeing survey, showing that people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland didn’t get any happier in 2016-2017 but that the rating for the UK as a whole for the year has been pushed up thanks to happy Scots.

The organisation measures wellbeing by asking four questions: are you satisfied with your life?

Are the things you do worthwhile?

How happy are you and how anxious are you?

Between 2012 and 2017, Scots have reported an improvement in all four.

Then came the Scottish employment figures which showed more than 2,600,000 people in work.

The highest level on record and, after that, a report showing Scotland’s ­population growing with real benefits from the contribution made by people born outside Scotland who have chosen to live, work and study here – and who are welcome here.

Then came the Sustainable Growth Commission report – a framework for a better Scotland.

There’s a huge amount of hope and ambition in the report.

We are a small country brimful of talent and resources and with the knowledge that small nations can be the most successful.

It is a document highlighting the strengths of Scotland’s economy in terms of our natural resources, and the ­education and skills of the people who live, contribute, and work in Scotland.

Scotland must have and can have a brighter, better future.

We all know that.

The Tories think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it – but their agenda of a devastating hard Brexit, damaging austerity cuts and a “hostile” environment for the very people we need to make our country successful is no competition for the message of hope and optimism for a better future.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.