As a politician, you sometimes have to do a photoshoot which you would normally have walked a million miles from.
I know, I’ve done it. Somewhere there is a photo of me alongside St Mirren’s mascot, the Paisley Panda, but in my defence before Kingsley comes hunting for me, it was during a very hectic day and a lot of selfies were taken.
However, this is nothing compared to the bare-faced hypocrisy of Ruth Davidson getting her photo taken riding a mobility scooter designed to allow disabled people to access Scotland’s hills. This is too much.
This woman has no shame.
Her party have taken mobility cars away from thousands of people, effectively making them housebound, yet she had the nerve to take part in this “photo opportunity”.
One source estimated around 900 disabled people per week are losing their mobility cars thanks to Ruth Davidson’s Tories. That’s 900 people per week losing their freedom, losing their ability to get to work, to visit their family and friends – to have the ability to get out of the house and go where they want, when they want. This includes many of my constituents who now have to rely on public transport to get about when once they had their own freedom. There has been a tremendous spike over the last six months of constituents reaching out to me in despair because their cars have been taken with no remorse.
But look, there’s Ruth on a mobility scooter to help you join your friends hillwalking – even though she’s taken away your essential transport that would get you to the hills in the first place!
Of course, nothing should ever surprise me when it comes to the Tories. This is the party who want women who have conceived a child through rape to complete an eight-page form and no doubt have to appeal any initial decision in front of a complete stranger.
This is the Tory Party who plan to remove the triple lock on pensions, the same Tory Party who have told the WASPI women that this Government won’t meet their pension obligation; so much for those women paying into the state pension thinking the Government would honour their side of the deal!
And let’s not forget the politically-driven austerity agenda, with welfare sanctions to punish the most vulnerable in our society.
No government should be making its own citizens destitute and that is exactly what this Tory Government is doing. Disadvantaged people and those on low incomes in Scotland must be protected, not punished. Of course, most of those mentioned above will have a chance on June 8 to do something about it.
They can either let the Tories continue with their cruel policies or they can vote SNP as the only viable option to stand up to Theresa May and her cronies. But for some people that option isn’t available.
Due to the vagaries of the UK political system, the franchise seems to change with every election. Although 16 and 17-year-olds can vote in the Scottish election (and in council elections) they have no vote in the UK General Election. Those who have the most to invest in the future of the UK are effectively silenced. They have no voice.
Another group of voters looking in from the outside are EU citizens. They are the people who will probably suffer the most (at least initially) from the Tories mad dash for Brexit.
The Tories don’t even consider them as human beings with rights, they are simply bargaining fodder for a dispassionate Tory Government more intent on keeping the City of London rich than protecting the human rights of people living in this country.
But here’s a thought for all EU citizens and all young voters; you do have a voice in the council elections. The Tories are already trying to turn this election into a referendum on whether Scotland should have the right to call a future referendum on independence and Labour seem to have given up completely – probably hoping no-one will remember the mistakes their councils have made in the past five years.
In my constituency, millions of pounds have been put aside for vanity projects while we see an outbreak of potholes infecting our roads while Renfrewshire slides down the table when it comes to street cleanliness (we’re now 30 out of 32 councils).
So even though I would still prefer for residents to vote on who they think will best deliver local services, maybe we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to encourage both young voters and EU citizens to use May 4 to show the Tories just what they think of them. After all, they won’t get a chance to do that on June 8.
This article originally appeared in the National.