HAPPY New Year everyone and I hope 2018 is a successful year for you all.

I hope you had a nice time over Christmas but are now looking forward to getting back into a routine with work and schools returning.

Many people will set themselves New Year resolutions, but I don’t have one this year.

If you have set yourself any, good luck with working towards achieving them.

I have set personal goals I would like to achieve, as well as continuing the hard work my staff deliver for the constituency. I know that 2017 was busy for them and I’m quite sure 2018 will be equally as busy.

I’m sure you will agree that we all tend to start a year with optimism and with hope. Optimism for aspirations we may have and hope that things may be better for everyone we hold dearest in our lives as well as for those less fortunate.

In the political world I can’t find much optimism. We are hurtling towards Brexit with little clarity or direction from the UK Government, and over the last few days we have had the president of the USA up the stakes again regarding the size of his nuclear button in comparison to that of North Korea’s.

I found these latest utterings from Mr Trump utterly distasteteful and ridiculous. To think that he has been elected by a population to fulfil this role is incredible.

The Brexit rumour mill seems to have been  working overtime over the break with discussion of a cabinet reshuffle with David Davis, the UK Brexit Minister, being the main casualty. He has appeared to have been sidelined in recent times so it would come as no surprise. However, if the rumour mill is true and Boris Johnson gets the job, then what will this bring for any UK trading relationships?

I got involved in politics as I believe that Scotland is best placed to serve its people being an independent nation.
Nothing has changed my opinion on this matter.

In fact my strength of believe in independence for Scotland only increases when I see the utter chaos that is the Brexit process, the devastation that is the UK Government’s welfare reform agenda and how many people and families are now worse off, and the utter proof of a failed UK state when we have more and more people, year after year going to foodbanks.

How can a country be proud when many more of our citizens are forced to turn to foodbank’s for emergency food?

Even the hardest pro-UK supporter must accept that this situation is simply unacceptable.

On a different issue, locally, we are about to see some positive action with ScottishWater investing over £2m to introduce a new flood prevention measure in Greenock.

This will be beneficial for us in the long term.

There is still more to do, but this major investment is to be welcomed. Inverclyde will continue to be front and centre of my activities and talking our area up and promoting it to others is part of my day to day activity.

We do stay in a fabulous area and I have pride in what we have and the progress that is being made. I know many readers have similar beliefs.