Boris Johnson out, Keir Starmer in? Scotland could be decisive in next UK general election – Ian Murray MP

As 2021 concludes, I’ve been reflecting on what has been another unprecedented year.

If people in Scotland want to get rid of Boris Johnson, they would do well to support Keir Starmer's Labour party (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA)
If people in Scotland want to get rid of Boris Johnson, they would do well to support Keir Starmer's Labour party (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA)

I remember writing this time last year that I would hope we could all get back to normal. That didn’t quite work out.

However, although many of us would love nothing more than a return to more precedented times, there has been a lot to celebrate.

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And it is those green shoots of optimism I want to focus on as we bid farewell to 2021.

There is perhaps none more obvious and significant than the success of our incredible vaccine rollout.

Thanks to scientists, NHS staff and volunteers from across Scotland, more than four million Scots have received two doses of the vaccine with another three million receiving their booster shot, an act of public duty to protect ourselves and others.

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I would encourage everyone to give themselves a late, but worthwhile Christmas present by getting boosted.

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If 2021 was the year we got ourselves vaccinated, then 2022 must be the year to get the rest of the world jabbed.

Until we’re all safe from Covid, none of us are save from Covid, as the new variant proves.

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The only way for us to defeat this virus once and for all is to deliver vaccinations to every human on the planet.

That has got to the task for world leaders in the year ahead: a global solution to a global problem, not the current vaccine nationalism we see.

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As the world has fought this virus, the other great challenge of our time – climate change – has continued its unrelenting march.

Yet here again, there are some reasons for hope.

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COP26 in Glasgow did not deliver a perfect solution, but it did at least represent progress.

Believe it or not, the Glasgow Agreement was the first time a global climate agreement has even mentioned coal – the single largest individual source of emissions.

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I happen to think if our leaders had spent more time treating COP26 as a serious diplomatic exercise, not a glorified photo opportunity, we could have got more.

Nonetheless, in the words of John Kerry, US Envoy on Climate Change, if the Paris Agreement built the arena, the Glasgow Agreement is the start of the race – it is the firing of the starting pistol in the race to prevent climate catastrophe.

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Just as on the global stage, there are reasons for cheer closer to home for progressives.

In the first few months of this year, the Scottish Labour Party made history by electing the first non-white leader of a major political party anywhere in the UK.

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Anas Sarwar lit up the Holyrood election campaign this spring and is renewing our party with energy and optimism.

It’s not just here in Scotland though, polls across the UK have decisively shifted, showing if an election was held now Keir Starmer would kick Boris Johnson out of Number 10.

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The only missing ingredient? Scotland.

Voters in Scotland have the power to choose someone who will not just oppose Boris Johnson but replace him.

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For me at least, that’s a better New Year’s resolution than a gym membership.

Oh, and of course, Hearts are winning!

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Although our Hogmanay is curtailed, I wish you and your family a happy 2022.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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