I WROTE last week that 2024 is election year, not just here but in more than 60 countries, plus the European Parliament.

The Brexit catastrophe took Scotland out of the EU, no longer electing MEPs to make Scotland’s voice heard in Europe.

Neither Tories nor Labour will undo this damage; Scotland must create the route back to prosperity within the EU, and also debate public services.

If the people of Scotland want the high-functioning, good-quality public services found in the Nordic countries, these require funding.

The Scottish Government asks the highest earners to pay a little more to support universal benefits that help build a more equal society.

According to the Scottish Fiscal Commission, there’s no evidence of a ‘brain drain’ in skilled workers due to increases in tax rates for the highest paid. Fair-minded people are prepared to support a fairer country: this year, they can also vote for it

SNP MPs in the meantime continue to argue for Scotland’s values at Westminster, where Stephen Flynn shows moral leadership in calling repeatedly for a Gaza ceasefire.

The Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea show the crisis spreading, and First Minister Humza Yousaf has warned about PM Sunak’s failure to let MPs scrutinise in advance both the legal basis and security implications of proposed UK military action in Yemen. Recent history indicates it’s imperative to interrogate evidence for UK military interventions and the Middle East is a case in point.

The Home Office’s own figures show that, between July 2021 and June 2023, among desperate people reaching the UK by boat, four of the top five countries of origin were Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The Rwanda ‘soundbite’ ploy about ‘stopping the boats’ won’t work.

The emphasis should be on creating safe routes for migrants and asylum seekers, and prosecuting criminal gangs responsible for terrible loss of life in the Channel.

East Lothian’s economy is undermined by skills shortages. Brexit drove away thousands of migrant working people, all paying taxes and contributing to business prosperity in our county.

Housebuilding and repairs to council-owned housing are negatively impacted by a lack of joiners. We need migrant tradespeople as well as hospitality and care workers.

Demonising migrants is short-sighted, inhumane and economically damaging.