Tuesday was a day full of frustrations. An afternoon of the same arguments being repeated again and again in identikit speeches about why Scotland should now chose to strike out on her own and avoid the teeth of Brexit. Particularly when I am among those who at no point have offered the First Minister consent to use our votes to remain in Europe as leverage to bring about a second referendum. With the capitulation of the Green party, yesterday’s debate was a foregone conclusion. As such, it didn’t feel like an efficient afternoon’s work for a MSP not least because this question was settled two years ago. However, my frustrations were not based on what we were debating but on what we weren’t.
Cancer is a horrible disease that we should be tackling head on. But yesterday shocking statistics revealed three people who have been left behind. I don’t know these three people. I have never met them. They are from Fife, the Highlands and Glasgow so they are not in my constituency. But I know that they have gone through something that no one in this modern world should ever go through. It was revealed yesterday that these people had waited 309, 302 and 251 days respectively to receive lifesaving treatment. Having to wait nearly a year to receive lifesaving treatment is unacceptable.
On a larger picture cancer waiting time targets have been missed time after time. It is simply not fair that patients and their loved ones are being caused unnecessary anxiety and pain by excessive waits for treatment. The need to meet these targets could not be simpler - early diagnosis and treatment saves lives. I am sure the First Minister agrees.
However, the SNP Government is falling. Tackling cancer head on should be a priority. SNP ministers must ensure that NHS boards are able to treat people in good time and with the dignity and diligence they deserve. After repeatedly missing this target, ministers need to be clear about what they will do differently in order to meet their commitments to patients in future.
So while the First Minister stood up and put forward her idea of civic nationalism and her new definition of what a generation is, it is the current generation in this country who aren’t waiting for the SNP to trigger another independence referendum but are waiting for this Government to get their act together and look out for them; to make sure they have the healthcare they need.
I got into politics to put our children first and invest in them so they can achieve their dreams in life. I did not get into politics because of a constitutional obsession.
As I always say, I was elected on a manifesto commitment to oppose a second referendum. But that is not why I have got into politics. I got into politics to help those waiting too long to get the treatment they need. I got into politics to make a fairer society where everyone has a say. I got into politics to put our children first and invest in them so they can achieve their dreams in life. I did not get into politics because of a constitutional obsession. After yesterday’s debate its seems we have 69 MSPs that got into politics for one reason and these last 9 months have shown they put their constitutional obsession above anything else. So while they seek to divide our country I will not only oppose them but I will continue to stand up for people, like those in Fife, the Highlands and Glasgow who have been left behind by this SNP Government.