29 Apr 2013

Paisley Daily Express - 29 April 2013

Currency Confusion

According to the SNP if Scotland leaves the UK, you can have everything you want, including more money and lower taxes. No one will have to pay for everything that is being promised. The reality of course, is completely different. It’s clear Alex Salmond will promise whatever you want to hear, if you agree to give him your vote. Last week we saw some more of this. Alex Salmond says if Scotland leaves the UK, we will still use the pound. Of course, a few years ago he was saying that Scotland should join the euro, but that was ditched when the euro crisis started. The UK treasury has pointed out that if this happens, Scotland would have no control over monetary policy. The Treasury has also said that for such a currency policy to work, Scotland would have to agree to give London the right to constrain economic and fiscal policy. We would have less influence than we do now. In reply all we have had is bluster from the SNP Government. Alex Salmond seems to think that just because he says it, then something will happen. Why would what would effectively be a foreign country, allow another foreign country to take financial decisions which could cause it harm? Scotland would have to let a foreign country completely control its finances, or join the euro, or set up its own currency. The situation is absurd. It’s another example of Alex Salmond asking us to buy a pig in a poke.

Baby Ashes Scandal

Losing a child is heart-breaking for any parent. It’s devastating and traumatic and parents need to be able to grieve. It must be devastating for many parents across Scotland to learn that the ashes of their baby existed after being told there were none. It must be even worse to learn that the ashes had been buried in a communal plot with no mark or recognition. It’s no wonder that these parents are upset and angry at what has happened. Both the legislation and the burial practices are failing parents. The Scottish Government has established an Independent Commission to come up with new guidelines. But I want an independent enquiry to find out what happened and to spell out new practices for the future. No parent should have to suffer what these parents have suffered.

Learning Foreign Languages

There is no doubt that we have a poor record in this country when it comes to speaking a second language other than English. Part of the problem is that English is such an international language that young people don’t see the need to make an effort and learn another language. I believe that more could and should be done to improve language teaching from a young age. I also believe that the SNP Government’s plans to ensure that every primary school pupil learns two foreign languages hasn’t been properly thought through. Now we have the latest crackpot pronouncement from the Government Minister. The reason that our children can’t speak foreign languages is that too many children’s programmes are in English! That’s right you read that properly. So what is Alex Salmond proposing to do if he controls broadcasting? Will children’s programmes be delivered in Mandarin or Portuguese or Spanish? I have yet to find a parent who thinks this would be a good idea. Let me know if you think this latest absurd proposal is a good idea. Email Hugh.HenryMSP@scottish.parliament.uk

Nursing Crisis

Over the last few years, the Paisley Daily Express has reported on complaints and concerns at the RAH. But the problem is Scotland wide. We have 2,000 fewer nurses now compared to 2009. And this is having an impact on patient care. The Royal College of Nursing has said that 90% of nurses believe that staffing levels are not always adequate to provide safe patient care. The RCN also says that these nurses spend over 275,000 hours per week on paper work, across Scotland. UNISON, the public service union, has said that nursing care is at breaking point and nurses are crying out for help. UNISON says that on a daily basis nurses are being prevented from delivering the care they want to due to inadequate staffing levels. We can’t go on like this. Patients need to know that we have enough nurses to deliver the care they need. Alex Salmond needs to listen.