A HAPPY New Year to all Clydebank Post readers for 2019. I hope that everyone had a good time over the festive period with their loved ones.

I certainly enjoyed a small break from the political bubble, which has given me time to recharge the batteries before it all begins in earnest again, both at Holyrood and down in Westminster.

While the festive period might have been quieter, the news does not stop and though Brexit is the main focus for many, there are still significant problems that the SNP government will have to deal with as part of the day job in Edinburgh.

And they are issues that, no matter how much they point the finger of blame at Westminster, they have had full control over since coming to power in 2007.

The festive news cycle included, among other stories, how Scotland is sending a record level of waste to be dealt with outside this country, the Scottish Government buying more than 1.5 million plastic cups in the last three years despite pledging a war on plastic, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spending over £2.5 million on private security firms, and new concerns over NHS consultant vacancies, with a fifth of current consultants aged 55 or over.

Time and time again, the SNP government deliver sound-bites for the benefit of supporters but the reality is different on the ground.

As the Scottish Conservatives’ shadow secretary on the environment, I am deeply disappointed plastic cups are continuing to be used throughout Holyrood. If the SNP government cannot follow their own guidelines, it is going to be hard to convince others to do so.

As we enter 2019, the issue of our environment and the effects of climate change simply cannot be ignored, whether we are tackling it in Clydebank or at a national or global level. I will be continuing to hold the SNP government to account on the issue.

I believe we should always be positive about the year ahead and I would not have gone into politics if I did not believe we could do things in a better way.

Communities like Clydebank showcase how great things can be when communities come together and it is our volunteers and community leaders who are at the heart of so much good in the West Scotland region I represent.