Today the SNP and their Green colleagues will force a vote through the Scottish Parliament on calling a divisive second independence referendum.

Tomorrow, Theresa May will formally begin the process of the UK leaving the European Union.

In their own ways, the political leaders involved in this constitutional upheaval will cause great harm to our country.

A hard Brexit will damage our relationship with Europe and put our economy at risk. A referendum called by David Cameron to keep his right-wing backbenchers happy has turned into a reckless Brexit gamble by the Tories, giving the SNP the grievance they desire to deflect attention from their failings in government.

But Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for leaving the UK would be even worse than Brexit. It would tear Scotland out of Britain, resulting in £15billion worth of extra cuts to schools and hospitals in the first year alone . Leaving the UK would make it harder to fund the public services that we all rely on and that are essential to growing our economy. The Nationalists won’t tell people the truth – leaving the UK would be devastating for working families in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon used to argue that she would only seek to call another divisive referendum when that was the clear will of the Scottish people. She has stopped making that argument, because the clear will of the Scottish people is that they do not want to go through it all over again.

In 2014 more than 2million people voted to remain in the UK. We did that because being part of the UK has delivered for Scotland. The pensions of our older people are secured, new schools are built and the NHS we created together is sustained because we remain part of the UK. We shouldn’t walk away from that.

And neither should we have to go through more division and arguments about leaving the UK.

Brexit is going to cause the biggest upheaval to our country in generations. The immediate priority for both the UK and Scottish governments must be securing the best Brexit deal for Britain. At a time when everybody should be focused on making the best of what is a bad situation, we cannot be faced with the uncertainty of yet another divisive independence referendum.

All the while, the many challenges Scotland faces will receive even less attention that they currently do. The growing gap between the richest and the rest in our education system, the crisis in our hospitals, and the under-funding of care of the elderly.

At a time when we need our government to be focused more than ever on the day job, we have governments focused on anything but. We cannot afford more years of constitutional uncertainty and arguments.

So when you see Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon squabbling over independence and Brexit, just remember that neither of them are standing up for the majority of what Scots want. Only Labour is doing that. We want close ties with Europe from within the UK. That’s what we will fight for.


The sight of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament is a familiar one to people all across the world. Like me, many Daily Record readers will have travelled across Westminster Bridge either for work or as one of the millions of curious tourists looking to see the Palace of Westminster up close.

So when news filtered through of the horrific terrorist attack on Westminster, the fact that the area was so recognisable and so familiar made it all the more difficult to watch.

The attacker targeted Westminster because of what it represented. People from all nations, faiths and races working side by side in one of the greatest cities in the world. A Parliament that represents freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

The fact that London paid its respects to the victims, dusted itself down and got on with life was the greatest response to those who want to disrupt our way of life.

And once again, in times of trial, the people of Britain showed the best of us. PC Keith Palmer acted heroically in preventing the attacker from doing further damage. But we should also think of the doctors and nurses from nearby St Thomas’s Hospital who rushed to help the victims. And the random passers-by whose instinct was to help a stranger rather than run from the terror – an action that would have been entirely understandable given the circumstances.

Terrorists seek to turn communities against one another. The response to last week’s attack shows that we will not allow that to happen.


At long last, some good news from the United States. Donald Trump’s plan to remove healthcare from millions of Americans fell at the first hurdle. After seven years of the Republican Party demanding an end to Obamacare, the signature achievement of the former president, Mr Trump and his colleagues couldn’t agree among themselves on what to do now that they have the power to do something differently.

Obamacare isn’t perfect. Even President Obama admits this, and he has always been open to working with others to make it better. But it has delivered health insurance to millions of people who previously didn’t have any. It provides security for some of the poorest people in the States, and ensures people with pre-existing conditions can get the treatment they need.

Only in the world of Trump and his fellow travellers is providing health insurance for poor people a bad thing.

The Republicans hold power in the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It’s encouraging – but not surprising – to know that even with all that power they still can’t agree among themselves. There is still some hope that the next four years won’t be as disastrous as it might otherwise have been.


The Labour council in Glasgow has transformed Scotland’s largest city, attracting investment and jobs to the area.

So it is deeply disappointing that local SNP leader Susan Aitken is keen to talk her city down.

Nationalist councillors have cheered on every single SNP cut to Glasgow’s budget – cuts of £377million in the last ten years.

The choice in May’s local election is clear: SNP councillors who will drag Glasgow backwards or Labour councillors who will put Glasgow first.


It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Just how vital could those three points be for Scotland in the World Cup qualifying campaign?

Chris Martin provided the perfect response to those fans who booed him by scoring the winner with just minutes to spare.

Up next? England at Hampden. We can dream, can’t we?

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