I’ve used my weekly column in today’s Daily Record to write to the First Minister urging her to ‘get back to governing’ instead of pushing for another divisive referendum.
You can read the letter in full below.
Last week you wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, days after the Prime Minister wrote a letter to the head of the EU commission.
Letter writing seems to be back in vogue amongst politicians. So here’s a letter to remind you of a few things that your Government have done recently while you argued to divide the country yet again.
In 2011, Dr Lauren Connolly died in a car accident coming home from work having worked 12 straight days as a junior doctor.
Her father was promised that the hours worked by junior doctors would be reduced.
Last week, your Government broke that promise, without apology or even a tinge of regret.
Last week, your Government produced a report on mesh products which was described as a “whitewash”.
Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes – who resigned from the mesh implants review group – said they felt “utterly betrayed” by the report.
These mesh implants have left many women in crippling pain.
I read out to you at First Minister’s Questions an email from a woman called Sophie, who said the implants had left her mum in so much pain, she couldn’t even brush her teeth.
You refused to ban these implants from our health service.
Later that day, your Government published a long-delayed mental health strategy, only for it to be blasted by Scottish charities such as Barnardo’s and the Scottish Association for Mental Health as lacking ambition and investment.
I have raised this issue with you again and again. Mental health services for our young people are in crisis.
In the past three years, 17,000 cases have been referred for treatment – only to be rejected.
That is thousands of vulnerable young people not getting the help they need, and your Government can’t even tell us why.
Labour want to see every high school in Scotland have access to a counsellor. This is a policy which would cost a fraction of what you are already committed to spending but your Government won’t even commit to that.
A report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland found that victims of rape and sexual assault are being forced to wait days before being examined.
Can you pause and consider that, First Minister?
Under your Government, victims of rape and sexual assault have to go days – not hours but days – without washing because there aren’t the resources to examine them quickly.
First Minister, you are grabbing headlines for carefully posed photographs and carefully worded statements all about taking the country back to the divisions of our all too recent past.
But while you’re doing that, your Government are failing families in the most disgraceful and heart-breaking ways.
They are breaking promises made to the father of a daughter who died because she worked too hard, for too long, to care for others.
They are ignoring the pleas of daughters who find their mother in agonising pain because of a simple procedure that could be banned from our health service.
They are deaf to the isolation felt by vulnerable children who simply do not get the support they need.
They are unable to give the victims of sexual assault even the most basic shred of dignity.
First Minister, Scotland is pleading with you, get back to governing.