One year on

Saltire on Urquhart CastleThe SNP have been in power at Holyrood for a year now.

It’s a somewhat bizarre feeling for an SNP voter to finally have their party in power… though that’s not the objective, independence is.

But it’s been fascinating to look back on the past year and see how they have been doing and how the country has changed.

Like any government, they’ve not been perfect. I’ve been particularly disappointed with what they’ve done (or rather not done) on transport – no major commitments to dualling the A9 any time soon, and the cancellation of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (EARL) was a silly idea.

They opposed both EARL and the Edinburgh trams scheme but compromised by getting rid of just one of them. Of course they should have axed the trams and kept EARL (which would have made the airport more accessible to the rest of Scotland), but axed EARL instead.

On the other hand, they’ve done a number of wonderful things – scrapping road bridge toll and the graduate endowment, making moves to bring in a local income tax, freezing council tax, and various other grand initiatives. Many more things they’d like to do are constrained by not having a parliamentary majority – which does at least lead to constructive dialogue with most of the other parties, and a chance for the healthy consensus politics we were promised in 1999 but are seeing only now we have a minority administration.

They’ve also continued to make the case for independence. They’ve stated the case where it needs to be made that more powers would enhance the parliament and the country. They’ve engaged firmly but constructively with London. They’ve got people talking about independence more than ever.

And above all, they’ve introduced a positivity to Scotland – we’re a country that talks about what we can do rather than what we can’t do. Our confidence is rising. Independence may not be imminent but it is certainly more likely than before, and it really does at last seem like Scotland’s going somewhere.

Here’s to the next year.

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