Happy New Year!
The turn of the year is a time when we look backwards at the old year, forwards to the new year, and if we are ambitious or foolish – or just enjoy breaking them – we make our resolutions.
2011 was a memorable year for me, especially being elected to the Scottish Parliament in May. I know that it has become a bit of a cliché, but I genuinely feel that it is an honour to serve the people of Motherwell and Wishaw, and I thank you for your support.
I quickly got my constituency office up and running as a base where constituents can get in touch for help and assistance – or to let me know your views on matters being discussed by the Scottish Parliament. The office is open Monday to Friday, and when parliamentary duties take me to Edinburgh, you can speak to my friendly and able staff, Linda and Pam.
For the last few months, I have been a member of the Finance Committee, which is supposed to scrutinise Scottish Government spending plans. This is not an easy task when the Scottish Government is reluctant to provide the level of detail requested, and can shrug off complaints about lack of transparency and clarity, safe in the knowledge that it has majority control of the committee.
Now, I’m looking forward to 2012. My party has elected a new leader. Johann Lamont has great political commitment. She is eager to meet the challenge of the changing face of Scottish politics, but she will do so by building on her socialist principles and values.
By the way – speaking of principles – could “name and address supplied” please note that I did not take any pay on the day that I joined striking public sector workers in my constituency rather than join the SNP crossing Scottish Parliament picket lines?
The new year also brings me a new job as Shadow Whip on Scottish Labour’s frontbench. I am really pleased to be part of the ministerial team, and I am confident that the reinvigorated Scottish Labour Party can now move forward on all fronts.
And so to my New Year’s resolutions: To play a considered and constructive role in the Scottish Parliament and to carry on representing you to the best of my ability. Good ambitions, certainly not foolish, and ones that I have every intention of keeping!