“Get on with the day job.” It’s a line that the opposition in the Scottish Parliament enjoy throwing around all too often. The irony, of course, is that for the past decade – in contrast to the Tory zombie government in Westminster – the SNP have been getting on with the job of governing in Scotland.
It was thanks to the SNP, after all, that Labour’s backdoor tuition fees were abolished and university education was made truly free in Scotland.
It’s been under the SNP that Scotland has achieved the lowest levels of youth unemployment since records began – we are now the third-lowest in the European Union.
We’ve seen much-needed investment being made in our infrastructure, with projects such as the Queensferry Crossing being initiated and completed under an SNP government.
And it has been under the SNP that crime in Scotland has fallen to its lowest levels in 42 years.
The list of SNP government achievements is long and wide-ranging. After a decade of Westminster cuts, the SNP government is working harder than ever to protect the most vulnerable in our society and deliver the best public services anywhere in the UK.
Best performing A&E in the UK, higher exam passes up a third since 2007, free childcare expanded & much more. https://t.co/xfeZoOJ5aV— The SNP (@theSNP) March 25, 2017
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that over the past decade the SNP in government have been a force for good and helped to fashion Scotland into the modern, outward-looking nation that we are today. Yet despite that decade of success, we are not resting on our laurels.
As we look to the future, we know there is still so much that can be done – and needs to be done – to continue Scotland’s journey towards that socially just, prosperous and progressive nation we all want it to be.
Achieving that vision will require a bold and radical agenda of reform that recognises the challenges we face but is filled with the determination to meet them head on.
That agenda is what Nicola Sturgeon laid out last Tuesday in our programme for government.
We have set out ambitious plans to eradicate child poverty, scrap the public sector pay cap, invest in our digital economy, raise the carer’s allowance, increase free childcare to 30 hours a week and so much more.
Our programme for government even received praise from the likes of the World Economic Forum, Greenpeace and the head of the United Nations Environment Programme.
We’ve set out our stall – a comprehensive vision we believe will make Scotland an innovator of ideas that the world will take notice of; an agenda that is a mirror opposition of the extreme Brexit-obsessed one in place at Westminster.
Here, the Labour Party continue to fight among themselves and are content to sit and watch on as the Tories attempt to rig the Brexit process and ignore the real issues facing people in Britain.
Theresa May often feels more at home talking about Easter eggs and tower bells than she does about fixing poverty or student debt, whereas Jeremy Corbyn might sound good but he can’t even convince his party to oppose something as immoral as the renewal of Trident.
At Holyrood, the SNP are looking to tackle the issues affecting the lives of everyday people and this programme is the beginning of a second decade of success for Scotland.
This is what is called getting on with the day job. Jeremy and Theresa ought to try it some time.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.
You might also be interested in reading:
- Our Programme for Government: what you need to know
- Our plan for Scotland: a new deal for families
- Our plan for Scotland: for global leadership on the environment and climate change