Politics is about choices.
Governments, political parties and members of parliament use their judgement to choose which issues are their main priorities.
Even when we agree on the international challenges that need to be overcome, or the local problems that need to be solved, there is almost always a choice about what actions we take to tackle them.
And then, every so often, voters get to examine these priorities and plans and make their own decision about who they wish to represent them in parliament.
Yesterday in Perth the SNP published our general election manifesto, which set out our specific priorities and plans for the next session of parliament. In front of 1400 SNP members, guests and the national media, Nicola Sturgeon laid out in detail our principled, progressive and costed plan for improving the lives of everyone who lives in Scotland over the next five years.
In contrast to the muddled plans and confused messages from the heads of the other main parties, the First Minister stood front and centre of SNP candidates and Scottish Government Ministers and meticulously and clearly set out how SNP MPs would seek to end austerity, set fair rates of tax, protect and improve our public services and tackle inequality. The document also contained costed commitments which would deliver fair pensions for all, create jobs, tackle low pay and scrap unneeded and unwanted Trident nuclear weapons. At the same time, she pledged that a vote for the SNP on June 8th would be a vote to protect Scotland’s place in the single market, deliver more powers for Scotland’s parliament, and to ensure that, at the end of the Brexit process, and when the final terms of the deal are known, Scotland should have a real choice about our future path.
This manifesto stands in contrast to the choices made by Labour and the Tories. While nobody has the slightest idea of the guiding principles behind the Labour Party in Scotland any more, Theresa May’s right-wing manifesto was the first in modern political history to be abandoned before a vote was even cast following her u-turn on the disgraceful Dementia Tax.
The choice facing voters in Scotland has crystallised following the publication of each of the main party’s manifestos. Now, more than ever, we need strong SNP voices at Westminster to stand up for Scotland, strengthen Scotland’s hand in the Brexit negotiations to come and protect Scotland’s right to make its own decisions about our future.
SNP MPs will always stand up for fair pensions, while Tory MPs will veto a fair deal for WASPI women and end the triple-lock which protects the value of pensions over time.
Every SNP MP elected next week will give their all to protect our public services and stand up for a fair pay deal for public servants, while the Tories have pledged to continue their damaging cuts to public spending which will cost Scotland 2.9 billion pounds between 2010 and 2020.
Each SNP representative returned to Westminster means another MP who will fight to reverse cuts to social security payments for disabled people, and to end the cap on Child Tax Credits which restricts payments to the first two children in any family, regardless of family circumstances.
Choosing to cast your vote for the SNP next Thursday is a choice to support a plan to end Tory cuts, protect Scottish jobs, and make Scotland’s voice heard loud and clear at the Brexit negotiations.
A vote for your local SNP candidate is a vote to put fairness and opportunity at the heart of Westminster’s agenda, a vote for an outward-looking, progressive country, not for implementing Nigel Farage’s vision for an insular, little Britain.
Use your vote to strengthen Scotland's hand, not Theresa May's. Remember what damage a Tory government has already done with a slim majority in the House of Commons, and imagine what Theresa May would do with an increased number of MP’s under her control.
I’ve spoken to many voters over the past few weeks who are genuinely petrified at the prospect of an unfettered Tory government. They’re scared for the poor and the vulnerable. They’re scared for our environment, and our place in the world. They’re scared for their jobs and the future of our social security safety net.
Next week, you can help stop Theresa May in her tracks and make a positive choice about Scotland’s future.
Choose to use your vote on June 8th.
Choose to vote for a party and a local MP who will stand up for you, your family and your community here and at Westminster.
Choose the SNP.