MY 2024 priorities for East Lothian reflect meetings and discussions about the massive opportunities for jobs and prosperity stemming from investment in energy, particularly renewables and green hydrogen.

This county is ahead of the game with a unique offshore/onshore energy focus and community energy benefits include the £1 million community windpower generated last year, helping 600 families with energy bills.

My Holyrood work draws in energy providers including SSE, ScottishPower, Scottish Gas, EDF, onshore and offshore wind power, and relies on collaboration through the East Lothian Energy Forum, with an energy conference in May. A new green ‘Industrial Revolution’ is unfolding here, bringing well-paid, clean, green jobs and additional opportunities for local providers of goods and services. I’m also engaging with farmers – neglected by Tories – and Queen Margaret University is working via the business forum to support sectors such as food and drink. Heriot-Watt University is scoping out strategies to treble well-paid jobs in green energy.

The Scottish Government’s staunch commitment to a greener Scotland contrasts with post-Brexit divergence from EU standards, meaning Britain’s environmental protections now lag behind the EU.

A Financial Times report shows the GDP of both Slovenia and Poland – until recently communist countries – will overtake the UK, making us worse off than Eastern Bloc countries which then thrived with EU membership. Britain’s GDP has gone from one of the EU’s highest to below the EU average; far from ‘taking back control’, Brexit’s bureaucracy reinforces our disadvantages. Not just schools, hospitals, libraries, farmers and individual family budgets suffer: underinvestment in defence has led European and American generals to doubt whether the UK is still a major fighting force. Rule Britannia? Not any more.

Port Talbot workers face bleak prospects, begging for time to achieve a just transition from polluting blast furnaces to green steel security for the UK. Would they have sustained this devastating shock in an independent EU country?

Professor Sir John Curtice’s latest poll analysis conveyed a clear message for Scotland stemming from the Tories’ abysmal record: voters in England and Wales will decide the next General Election. Scotland can vote to change Scotland’s future using its own powerful, distinctive voice at Westminster to continue towards the ultimately achievable goal: independence in Europe.