In my time I have voted for all the major political parties, and some minor ones (with one exception – I have never voted Tory). I listen to the arguments and based on that, make my decision sometimes on the basis of local matters and sometimes those of national importance.
I have been generally impressed with the way the SNP has gone about its business as the minority government in Scotland since 2007. Mostly I’ve agreed with what they have done and have tried to do. Even on those occasions where I have had issues with proposed legislation (eg the alcohol pricing proposals) I recognise that opposition was generally politically motivated.
How else would one explain the Condem coalition proposing similar measures for England and Wales?
The SNP in government has done its best to help a cause very close to my heart i.e. arresting the decline of town centres in Scotland. The £60 million Town Centres Regeneration Fund wasn’t much but it was at least a step in the right direction. Rates relief for small businesses was another initiative which helped in a small way to begin the journey of regeneration of our town centres and ergo, communities.
Let me say here that my own business did not benefit by one penny on the rates relief measure but a few smaller businesses I know did.
The issue of derelict town centres, with retail properties lying empty all over the country as a result of disastrous town planning decisions and the profusion of out of town shopping centres, surely has to be addressed somehow?
That’s why the proposal by John Swinney to levy a tax on the very largest retailers to raise £30 million for the Scottish exchequer is to be applauded.
The tax based on property will affect only 215 out of 215,000 business premises and is I would suggest a ‘no brainer’.
However Labour and their friends the Tories and Libdems are opposing the proposals for the same reason that they and the Scottish media always oppose the Nats. No matter how good and popular the policies, no matter how able the politicians by comparison to their opponents, no matter how imaginative their ideas and frankly no matter what they try to do, they must, it would appear, be stopped at all costs.
Those who oppose the Nats should be careful what they wish for.
The sobering thought s that should the polls prove correct then it could be Ian Gray for First Minister.
Perish the thought.