My dad...could not understand why Scotland wasn't an independent country

MY dad came to Glasgow from Pakistan in the late 1960s.

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He was a teenager at the time with no idea of what to expect. In fact, he tells me before coming here he had never heard of Scotland.

However, from day one he could not understand why Scotland wasn't an independent country.

As soon as he was old enough he joined the SNP as the first Asian in Glasgow to join the party -and has campaigned for it ever since.

Growing up, I asked my dad why he believed in independence. Without any hesitation, his answer was, and has remained beautifully simplistic almost 40 years on: "Son, as an immigrant coming to this country even I can see Scotland's people are more than capable of running their own affairs."

I believe this truth to be self-evident. All of us in the political sphere can throw around numbers and statistics, press releases and weighty documents but at the heart of it what matters is belief that we can run our own affairs better than those who are running them on our behalf.

Last weekend saw rallies across the country against the iniquitous Bedroom Tax.

This savage piece of legislation is, as of today, going to affect many of our most vulnerable here in Glasgow.

Recently, I heard the story of a gentleman who has MS, his condition has made him incontinent and as a result he often soils himself in the middle of the night which causes him to move to the second bedroom and sleeps in the clean spare bed rather than lie in a puddle of his own urine.

It is people such as him who will now be expected to pay this unfair levy known as the Bedroom Tax.

Why? Because we are led by a Conservative Party UK Government we did not vote for and that only has one MP in our entire country.

In the Scottish Parliament the SNP has a majority thanks to the people who gave us that mandate in 2011.

However, we are powerless to scrap this tax. Yes we can mitigate, and so we have made a commitment that SNP Councils across Scotland will not evict those hit with the Bedroom Tax.

However, frankly, why should we as Scots accept such powerlessness?

This isn't a party political point. If the Labour Party were in Government in the Scottish Parliament I would fight for their right to have the full range of powers to do what they can in the best interests of Scots.

We do things differently up here – be it in education, prescription charges, welfare or the NHS – and we should have the social and economic levers to do things our way.

As my dad has been saying for decades: we are more than capable.

On another note, I know the whole of Glasgow will be sending their good wishes to Nelson Mandela for a speedy and full recovery.

Our city was the first to give Mandela the Freedom of the City in an act of solidarity against the apartheid regime - get well soon Mandiba!

Local government

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