On June 4th - less than five weeks from now, we will be voting in the European Elections - hands up all those who knew that it was so close? Thought so - it didn't take too long to count both of you. And yet Europe has a mssive impact on all of our lives. In Scotland, we have, and historically have always had, many friends in Europe, who would listen to our small but considered voice, if only it could be heard above the clamour of our larger neighbours, who do their best to shut us out. In England, there is a different agenda for Europe, but one no less significant than our own. Yet the collective disinterest in Europe of our people, and, indeed, our political parties is tantamount to deafening silence. Only this week, a failure to agree in Europe on implmentation of the working time directive meant that the proposals had to be scrapped. In the Highlands, hasd these proposals gone through, our Fire Service, which uses retained, not full time, crews everywhere, apart from Inverness City, could have collapsed as volunteer crews found themsleves no longer able to contact for an appropriate level of service to the Fire and Rescue Service. Basically, 'available' time would count as working time under EC rules. Either the Fire and Rescue Service would have to move to full time crews only, or just not provide cover any more. The cost could have been many millions, and the service level would have been decimated. Thankfully, it didn't happen - yet - but we need strong Euro MP's making strong cases for our needs and aspirations - Euro MP's who know, recognise and understand the difficulties that are faced in our sparsely populated Atlantic fringe of Europe. Of course Europe matters - and so does the vote of each and every one of us. Come June 5th, let Scotland speak for Scotland - let the Scottish National Party's strong list of candidates show what they can do. The SNP list is -
They are alll ready and willing to act on behalf of this Nation's interests. Why would anyone vote for any other party when these men and women have got what it takes?