I came to Labour Party politics in the early 1990s, when inequalities were rife and a desire for change was strong. Fast forward 23 years and we see how the substantial social and economic progress made by the last Labour governments has been undone by consecutive Conservative governments and exacerbated by the inaction of successive SNP governments. The call to action remains as strong today as it did then, as does my sense of justice and drive for change.
I now live in Bathgate after moving here from Glasgow 13 years ago. As a mum of three primary aged kids, I share the same hopes and concerns as many of the parents and carers I meet in the playground - the need for an education system that equips our children for the jobs of the future and the life skills to flourish as they make their way into adulthood; good quality local jobs that allow people a decent standard of living; affordable rents in quality homes; local services and amenities for old and young alike; a more sustainable environment, and support for those who are struggling whether financially, with their physical or mental health, or personal circumstances.
This year has shown how life can change in the blink of an eye. The pandemic will undoubtedly widen the inequalities and gaps in service provision that were already impacting too many people as well as bringing devastating impacts to local jobs (particularly in hospitality and retail), businesses and high streets. We need to be bold in our response, with policies rooted in equity, opportunity and unity instead of the inequality, adversity and division we see today. We must build upon the renewed sense of community which emerged from the pandemic and embed it in our policies as we move forward, this is how we ‘build back better’.
My drive to bring much needed change in my local community is what led me to stand for election in 2017. When first elected as a councillor and Depute Leader of West Lothian Council, I successfully championed the delivery of free sanitary products in local schools, one of the first such initiatives in Scotland and I also worked hard to initiate the West Lothian Food Network, bringing the Co-operative Party’s Food Justice campaign to the county.
I’m ready to bring the same vision, energy and drive to the Scottish Parliament. Our communities need aspiration and hope for a better Scotland, together we can deliver this change for Lothian and for Scotland.
That's why I'm asking for your help to reach out to Labour members and supporters right across the region. Can you help by chipping in today?