After Covid it’s time to rebuild, but we need homes, hospitals and schools, not nuclear bombs – Christine Grahame

Quite apart from what my parliamentary colleagues may think, I was not around in the Second World War, but a child in the late 40s and early 50s, so only later realised the impact that war had.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Prefabs at Craigour in Edinburgh, which were mostly demolished in the late 1990s. More than 30,000 such homes were built in Scotland after the Second World War to help meet housing shortages.

We lived in granny’s front parlour until I was around three. Then we moved to Sighthill, 60 Calder Circle, to a pretty but freezing prefab, part of the post-war house-building drive, providing jobs for returning troops as well as homes for them.

Why start with this memory? Well that war was a watershed moment changing the way we lived. Roads too were built, the NHS grew and there was later free university education for children like me from a working-class family. I was I think the first person in my street to go to uni.

The impact of Covid, the stealthy invasion by a virus, has – like that world war and the war before – changed us all again. In one year, we have become strangers to everyday human contact, been isolated in our homes, and lost jobs.

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What next then as we move tentatively into recovery? As two metres becomes one, as masks may be removed, as we queue annually for the latest jab, should we try to turn back the clock to 2019?

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Scottish independence: Why Brexit disaster has made me decide to join the SNP – ...

I hope not. Covid has exposed fissures of inequality which were already deep. It has shown us that to corral our elderly into care homes without a National Care Service like our National Health Service cannot continue. Care workers must be properly paid and valued.

People need decent homes to rent as they did through the council post war. We should support our public services through decent wages raised through fair taxation. You gets what you pay for.

Christine Grahame

Big businesses which take our money but don’t pay corporation taxes, or very little, need to be tackled.

Dragging us out of the European Union when we voted 62 per cent to remain is costing us. Ask the fishermen, the road hauliers, the small firms filling out reams of forms to export to Europe.

Ask the supermarkets. Are they concerned about whether, not too far down the road, when imported food from Europe must have those same reams of import forms, your letttuces, tatties, grapes will be on the shelves?

Yes, Covid has concealed a multitude of Brexit troubles. Ask yourself why the UK government has delayed requiring EU importers to fill in those forms which should have been happening on April 1. Could it be the election in Scotland? So, here’s the rub.

Do we just keep taking what we are offered? You’ll have had your EU, just lump it.

By the way, those nuclear weapons on the Clyde just a stone’s throw from Glasgow, well they’ve decided to upgrade them. Cost? £30 billion plus £10 billion contingency. Peanuts really when you want to buy your permanent place on the UN Security Council.

What a profanity. What a misplaced use of investment: not homes, not hospitals, not schools, not public services.

So, summing up, here is the choice for Scotland. Take more of this or take our own route. Take this historic moment in time, just as happened post war, and post virus, return this ancient nation of Scotland to independence when we will make decisions which are our own and which we can live with.

Christine Grahame is the SNP candidate for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

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