After the trials and tribulations of 2016 it is a proper time, I feel, to reflect.
In such a turbulent year, there were many things that will have caught our attention; the sad loss of many gifted performers & visionary scientists, the horrendous scenes seen on our televisions of Aleppo and Yemen; the unedifying conduct seen in the presidential elections in the USA and of course the UK’s Brexit vote, where Scotland voted to stay, yet may well be dragged out of Europe by politicians in London who seemingly lack a coherent plan of how to do so!
However, it was also a year for celebration; many of you will not have heard that the Ebola outbreak which the World Health Organisation (WHO) feared would become an epidemic was declared over in March 2016. Likewise, the Americas are now completely free of measles, a deadly disease which has killed 200 million people. Closer to home, Scotland was able to boast that for the first time ever, renewable energy provided over 100% of our electrical needs.
In the political arena, like many I was overjoyed to see the SNP returned as Scotland’s Government for an unprecedented third term.
Looking forward to 2017, I am filled with hope that we may see the SNP take control of more local authorities, and bring the vision & leadership we have seen on the national level to every town & community across this land. The local government elections in May will give people a chance to choose to elect SNP councillors for their community, and along with my fellow Councillors & activists, I will fight hard for every vote.
However, it is with a heavy heart I must sadly announce that I shall not be standing for re-election in Inverclyde.
As many readers will be aware, one of the causes I had for celebration in 2016 was the news that my fiancee Angel and I are to become parents. We shall hopefully be welcoming our first child into the world this spring. Like many prospective parents we required to find a new home to accommodate our new child and after much debate we have decided to move across the water to Rosneath, in order to be closer to our child’s future grandparents.
I would like you to know this decision was not taken lightly. My entire adult life I have lived in Inverclyde and I have never been prouder than the day in 2012 when the people of Greenock chose me to be one of their elected representatives. But I must do what is right for my family, and this new year sees a new start for Angel and myself in Argyll.
Whilst I am no longer a resident of Inverclyde, it is a place that will remain dear to my heart, and I am passionate about her future and my professional work as a graphic designer will remain in Greenock. For the remainder of my term of office I shall work tirelessly, as I have for the last four and a half years to improve the lives of my constituents and the community, but after then I shall be passing the baton on to others within my party who I know shall take it up with all of the passion and vigour I have. To them I wish good fortune and offer my full support.
I would like to thank all those who since we discovered our joyous news have offered their support & parenting advice, sage wisdom, and occasional jokes about sleepless nights!
Finally, I would like to wish all my constituents, friends and colleagues in Inverclyde all the very best for 2017. May the year bring you all health, happiness & success.