NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2013
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 18:11
A New Year Message from Angus MacDonald MSP
One of the greatest privileges of serving as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Falkirk East constituency is the opportunity to meet with the countless local people who give so freely of their time to help those less fortunate than themselves through voluntary efforts, and those who work in our public services to improve the quality of life for everyone living in our community.
Whether it is the efforts made by such volunteers, or just the simple act of being a good friend and good neighbour, such expressions of compassion and kindness are of particular value at this time of the year.
As we enter a new year, we must renew our determination to raise the quality of life for everyone. I intend to do my bit by continuing to work closely with the Scottish Government, which has already delivered important policies in tough times – 1,000 more police officers, the Council Tax freeze, more Modern Apprenticeships than ever before, a record number of Scots accepted to Scottish universities this year as we hold firm to our tradition of free education.
But more needs to be done, and Scotland can achieve a lot more with the full powers of independence – which is why I believe the Yes campaign will win the trust of the people in next year’s referendum.
It is therefore extremely heartening as an SNP member to see the party’s membership hit a new high with membership surging 23% in 2012, bucking the trend of declining membership across the UK parties.
Up-to-date figures published this week by the party show that – at the end of 2012, there are now 24,732 members. This compares to 20,139 at this point last year – a rise of 22.8%.
And – according to a study published earlier this month – the SNP’s booming membership is bucking the trend of decline in the UK-wide ranks of Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories.
The paper by the House of Commons Library shows that, while membership of all three of the biggest Westminster parties declined significantly between 2003 and 2011, SNP membership more than doubled in the same period – and has further increased in 2012 according to today’s figures.
Between 2003 and 2011, SNP membership increased by 111.6% - and by a further 22.8% in 2012.
Also, given that over 143,000 people have already signed the Yes declaration, it is clear that the positive case for Scotland's future is building momentum.
In contrast to the SNP's rising membership, the plummeting figures for the Westminster parties shows just how disillusioned people have become with what they have to offer.
The encouraging figures, I believe, are testament to the SNP’s belief that Scotland’s people – and its future generations – should be in charge of their own fate and know that the alternative to a Yes vote in 2014 would be to see the achievements of devolution being rolled back.
Being independent is the best option for Scotland, because the people best placed to take decisions on all issues that affect Scotland are the people who choose to live and work here. That is the fundamental truth which resonates so powerfully with people across this nation.
A country that earns its wealth and shares it more fairly, where every child has the chance to grow up and fulfil their potential and that enjoys excellent relations with its friends across these islands.
As we collectively strive towards improvements to our social and financial wellbeing – a better Scotland - I wish each and every one of my constituents all the best for 2013.
A Heartie Guid New Year - Bliadhna Mhath Ùr
Angus MacDonald MSP