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  • Kirsten

Barrhead News Column 1/21

My latest Barrhead News column, reflecting on what a year it has been already, and it's not even the end of January yet:

Well, this is my first column of the new year...and what a year it has been already.

The Westminster Parliament was recalled for one day on December 30 to consider the Prime Minister’s last-minute deal with the European Union, which came into force on January 1.

The UK Government’s lack of planning is now plain to see, as queuing lorries jam the roads of Kent, fresh seafood from Scotland rots before it reaches Europe and shoppers in Northern Ireland face empty shelves.

And, still, government ministers deny there is a problem.

As we headed for exit from the EU, Scotland’s representatives had to decide if they would stand up for Scotland or be human shields for the incompetent, ideologically-driven UK Government.

Of the four nations in the UK, Scotland is unique in having its vote disregarded.

England and Wales voted to leave the EU and have left. Northern Ireland voted to remain and the deal keeps it in the single market and keeps free movement across the EU for its people.

However, under their newly-imposed leader, Scotland’s Tories abandoned their promise of close links to the EU.

Every Scottish Tory MP voted for this hard Brexit and Tory MSPs voted to let Westminster drag Scotland out of the EU against its will.

However, it’s not all bad news.

At the turn of the year, a second vaccine to protect people from Covid-19 was approved.

Since then, a third vaccine has been approved and a vaccination programme is well underway, focusing initially on our most vulnerable residents.

Already, every care home resident in East Renfrewshire has had a first dose of vaccine.

I know how much of a relief this will be, not just for the residents, but also for the friends and family who have been unable to visit their loved ones for so long.

Meanwhile, I am helping local man Fred Banning on his UK-wide campaign for priority vaccinations for people with a terminal illness and have pressed government advisers to review their current approach.

The vaccine rollout reminds us of the kind of life and death issues our NHS faces every day.

We owe NHS staff and those helping to deliver the vaccine programme a huge debt of gratitude.

As a result of Covid-19, we will remember 2020 as the year much of our social, economic and cultural life moved online.

I have attended many first-time online events, including the launch of Scotland’s Poppy Appeal and engagements with local schools, groups and businesses.

Already in 2021, I have plans to attend Holocaust Memorial Day events online, Burns Suppers and many local events.

While this works for many of us, we must remember those for whom the online world is still a challenge.

We must also recognise and be very grateful for the efforts of those who continue to work normally to allow us to live as normal a life as we can in trying times.

While my constituency office is still closed as a result of the coronavirus restrictions, my team and I are working hard remotely and are available to help wherever we can.

If I can help you with any issues, please contact me on 0141 648 8822 or send an email to


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