I think it fair to describe 2014 as one of the most politically engaging that I have ever witnessed. As a parliamentarian I would love that level of interest to continue and what gives me hope is the determination I see around me to build a fairer, more prosperous Scotland.
Yes there have been divisions and there will continue to be disagreements about the constitution, but the Labour Party’s purpose is to build a better society, to challenge inequality and to help the vulnerable. That is now central to the political agenda and that fills me with optimism.
There is no doubt that we need to give people hope. More people than ever are finding themselves working their socks off but if anything, getting deeper in debt. More families are struggling to find a decent home to live in, or worse in the most extreme cases, turning to foodbanks.
We can change that. We can make political choices which put the needs of families first, which help us to stop worrying about food and fuel bills and which ensure our children have a secure future.
I want to put the years of division and rising inequality behind us. I want to remind fellow Scots that we have a choice and that we can reject both austerity and “them and us” politics.
Can I wish fellow residents across East Renfrewshire a very healthy and happy New Year.