Tony Giugliano: Rivals' negativity will not deter positive SNP

Aggressive attacks are no substitute for real policies making a difference for people in the west of the city, says Toni Giugliano

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 9:04 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 9:07 am
Campaigners protest against development plans at Cammo. Picture: Jane Barlow

THIS election should be about how we can make Scotland, and Edinburgh, a better place. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said when parliament was dissolved last week, “let’s make this a battle of ideas, not a battle of insults”.

Unfortunately not all candidates in Edinburgh Western see it that way.

Over the past six months voters have been deluged with aggressively negative materials replete with personal – and misleading – attacks from some of my opponents, such as the Liberal Democrats.

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Why do they adopt these cynical tactics?

Because their policies aren’t up to it, and because their record in government is at best underwhelming, and at worst non-existent.

After all, only a year ago, the Lib Dems were in a UK coalition with the Tories. They U-turned on almost every policy they formerly believed in, from tuition fees to welfare cuts.

My team, on the other hand, is busy backing residents with local issues, dealing with people’s cases and campaigning on the issues that matter.

Issues like the NHS – the SNP is investing a record £13 billion a year on health, with more staff than ever before.

We’re building a new £12 million health centre in Muirhouse, and two new elective treatment centres to handle procedures such as hip replacements.

Issues like mental health – where I’m using my professional and personal experiences to argue for the transformation of both primary care and employment services.

Issues like housing. I’ll keep fighting against new proposals to build in Cammo and West Craigs – it was the SNP government that threw out a council decision to build in Cammo, a decision which would have exacerbated congestion.

Issues like education. Queensferry High is being rebuilt from scratch, while primary schools including Blackhall, Clermiston, Corstorphine, Cramond and East Craigs have had, or will soon benefit from, significant refurbishments – giving them more scope to deliver the SNP’s free school-meals policy. And the Drumbrae Library hub that we built has been a local success.

Issues like infrastructure. The previous Labour-Liberal government told us that we didn’t need the new Forth crossing.

The SNP is getting it done, supporting more than 1200 jobs and 365 Scottish businesses in the process.

But there’s more to do. Air quality, active travel and public transport, including transforming the Fife Circle and providing better connectivity for Kirkliston and rural west Edinburgh will be high on my agenda if I’m elected on May 5.

These are the issues that matter to me and, as I’ve found over the past few months, to thousands of people in the west of the city.

Nobody is well served by election campaigns of relentless, grinding negativity.

They’re poor advertisements for politics and politicians.

In the final five weeks of this campaign, I challenge my opponents to drop the negativity and engage constructively on how we can make Edinburgh a better place.

Voters deserve no less.

• Toni Giugliano is the SNP Scottish parliamentary candidate for the Edinburgh Western constituency at the Holyrood election on 5 May.