Inside Holyrood: MSP Maree Todd says she is 'in awe' of of the vaccination programme as she welcomes the 'equality and fairness' at the heart of the draft Scottish budget
Get the Inverness Courier sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
Something to smile about this month is the knowledge that we now have 100 per cent of care homes vaccinated in the NHS Highland area. This is a huge achievement when you consider the challenges associated with administering a vaccine to vulnerable people in care homes, as well as the geographical challenges of rolling out a vaccine to rural and remote areas.
As of January 31, NHS Highland had completed a total of 42,755 first dose vaccinations. The pharmacist in me is in awe of this – a very big well done to our excellent team of vaccinators, who are working at pace.
I was heartened to see the draft Scottish Budget, presented to Holyrood this month by the Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, had equality and fairness at its heart. The budget continues the Scottish Government’s urgent measures to control the virus and protect our economy and people in the immediate term while ensuring a strong recovery and a fairer, greener future.
To name a few, the budget outlines substantial additional investments in our NHS, education, local government, social security and decarbonisation. Despite the backdrop of uncertainty caused by Boris Johnson’s Tory Brexit, the SNP has offered a budget that sets out a positive vision at a crucial time.
The pandemic is the overriding priority at present, but when that subsides the people of Scotland must have the right to choose how best to rebuild our country. The conclusion that an increasing number of people are coming to is that Scotland’s future will be fairer and more equal as an independent country, rather than as part of an increasingly dysfunctional United Kingdom. If the Union is as strong as Boris Johnson and the Tories claim, then why are they afraid to test that in another referendum? Why is he making “essential” trips to Scotland during the pandemic?
With the 20th consecutive poll returning a majority for independence it’s clear that people in Scotland believe they have the right to decide their own future, rather than being subjected to Westminster governments they didn’t vote for.
The upcoming Scottish Parliament elections in May might be more online than on doorsteps, but I sense that the debates will be as keen as ever.
I’d like to finish by expressing my deepest sympathies to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who sadly passed away last week. He was a beacon of hope and inspiration for all of us at a really difficult time and his legacy will live on.
To end with Captain Tom’s own words: “I’ve always believed things will get better. The sun will shine again.”