Comment: Principled opposition to war

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I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned about the situation in Syria.

Despite opposition from 57 of Scotland’s 59 MPs, the UK Government was given the go ahead to launch air strikes in Syria. Since then, over 100,000 people have signed a petition launched by the SNP calling on the UK Government to stop bombing Syria.

SNP MPs, including East Renfrewshire’s local MP Kirsten Oswald, voted against the proposal to launch airstrikes.

This decision was not an easy one to make, with Kirsten Oswald and other SNP MPs listening carefully to the arguments put forward by the Prime Minister.

I believe that the UK Government should not repeat the mistakes of the past and engage in military action without a comprehensive plan to rebuild and stabilise the region. David Cameron has failed to set out a compelling case for the bombing of Syria and I fully support the decision by SNP colleagues at Westminster to vote against the air strikes.

Barrhead High School

Last week we heard the very welcome announcement that the green light has been given for the construction of the new Barrhead High School.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed that plans for the building project will proceed as part of an investment of over £330 million to build a dozen new schools and health centres across Scotland.

This is fantastic news for the local area and we can now look forward to construction beginning on the new site at Cowan Park as early as possible in 2016.

The replacement building for Barrhead High is long overdue, so it’s important that East Renfrewshire Council works with the Scottish Futures Trust and the local community to ensure that there are no further unnecessary delays to the project.

The people of Barrhead deserve a first class secondary school that they can be proud of.

I look forward to the completion of the new school building which will offer a modern learning environment for its pupils and teachers.

Keep warm in winter

Winter is well and truly here with the West of Scotland having been battered by wind and rain in recent weeks.

The forecast is for further cold weather in the run up to Christmas and the advice is to hope for 
the best but prepare for the worst.

I have teamed up again this year with Age Scotland, the national older people’s charity, to encourage pensioners to get prepared for winter.

The campaign is backed by the Scottish Government which helps to fund Age Scotland’s annual ‘Hot Tips’ calendar.

The booklet offers useful information about how older people can prepare for winter; including important advice on health, welfare benefits and how to reduce fuel bills.

The 2016 Hot Tips calendar is a fantastic resource.

If you would like a copy for you or an elderly relative please contact my office on 0141 880 4982 and a member of my staff would be happy to post one out free of charge.