Time for a different voice in the Lothians

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by Ken O’Neill

I’m Ken O’Neill, the new independent candidate hoping to represent the Lothian region in the Scottish Parliament over the next five years.  I’d like to thank Newsnet Scotland for this opportunity and am pleased to see it growing and adding a different voice to the media landscape.

I would offer a different view, providing a new independent voice in the Parliament that would seek to protect the Lothians’ best interests.  I would:

  • Defend and support Scotland’s public sector.
  • Ensure the promotion of Lothians’ needs.
  • Make your Parliament more transparent.
  • Donate at least £100 from my monthly MSP salary to a local charity, as decided by the voters.
  • Introduce the Lothian Lolly to support the local economy.

In Time for A Different Voice – A Manifesto for the Lothians, I’ve set out what I hope the Scottish Parliament will achieve over the next five years.  My manifesto explains what I believe in and how to make Scotland a better, more positive country.  I’ve included several initiatives that would allow the Lothians to show leadership and set a standard of best practice for the rest of the country.

I’ve spent the last twelve years following MSPs in their work, both for my own interest and also for my job.  The Scottish Parliament was supposed to usher in a new age of informed, considered and less hostile politics.  Instead we have politicians who refuse to vote for proposed legislation simply based on the colour of the party proposing.  We have parties calling for financial support for apprenticeships and funding for energy efficiency measures and then voting against the plans.  I do not believe that this is what the Scots voted for in 1997 when they backed a new Parliament.

I want to live in a Scotland that stands proud and faces the future, taking responsibility for its actions.  To do that, we need to protect what we have and decide what type of society we want to live in. Scotland needs a properly financed, well supported public sector.  We need to ensure that those who look after our elderly, collect our rubbish, nurse our sick, protect the vulnerable and teach our children are supported.  They’re not the ones who gambled with other people’s money and lost.  They’re not to blame for the ills of the whole society.

Scotland needs to stand up and fight the cuts to the services we all use or else we will become a country where only those who can afford health care are looked after.  Where only those who can afford to pay for education have the chance to see their children reach their full potential.

I want to move Scotland into the 21st century and establish a just society, where how the weakest member is treated is a measure of our worth.  I want to help the country have a bright future where my children are proud of what we have achieved.  I want a Scottish Parliament that is transparent and explains how its actions are benefiting the population.  A Parliament that allows the people to engage with their politicians.  A Parliament that involves people in how the country is governed and decisions are made.

I could promise you the moon, claim you’ll get everything you want to see and say you won’t have to pay for it.  Again, I could, but I won’t.   I believe we need grown-up politics and an honest discussion of proposals’ merits, rather than resorting to playground behaviour.

I’m not backed by any individual or interested party but stand for what I think is right – respect for one another, consideration of other people and wanting the best for all.  Hopefully that reflects what you think your MSP should stand for – independent thinking and the needs of the many, not the few.

If so, when it comes to casting your regional vote, vote for LOTHIANS’ KEN.