TOMORROW, the people of Scotland have a choice, a choice about how we wish our nation to recover from the pandemic and the kind of country we want to live in.

As we go to the polls in one of the most important elections in our history, the options are stark. We can vote for parties with no plan for government other than to tie us still further to Boris’s right-wing ideologues at Westminster, who would leave Scotland to attempt our recovery with one hand tied behind our back and who have little to offer but fear and negativity. Or, in these most serious of times, we can choose an experienced First Minister with a proper plan to tackle the challenges Scotland faces.

The SNP is the only party with a serious approach to a recovery that will work for Scotland’s communities. As a nation we still have much more to do to build the fairer, more equal and more prosperous society we all want. And we need to be told the truth, no matter how difficult that message may be. Our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has never shirked that responsibility, leading from the front throughout this tragic and traumatic episode in our history. At this critical juncture, Scotland doesn’t need gimmicks, scaremongering or hollow leadership. It needs the grown-ups in charge.

Of the potential candidates for First Minister, only Nicola Sturgeon understands that a recovery to build a healthier and fairer Scotland won’t just happen: it needs leadership, it needs hard work, and it needs to be planned for.

And the SNP have that plan. Frontline NHS spending will be increased by at least £2.5 billion, with £10bn invested in NHS facilities over the next decade, and more money directed to mental health. And rather than simply clap for them, our heroes in the NHS, who have gone above and beyond throughout the Covid pandemic, will receive the biggest health service pay rise in Scotland since devolution. And we will introduce a National Care Service to improve standards, training and staff pay and conditions while giving support for our unpaid carers.

The Scottish Child Payment has already been hailed as a game-changer by campaigners in the fight to end child poverty. With more than £500 a year for each child living in poverty, struggling parents and carers are better able to put food on the table, heat their homes and pay for things like school trips and other activities. The pledge to double that would be transformative to thousands of families across Glasgow. Here in Scotland, we are actually doing something to address child poverty. Compare that with the Tory government in England, who only responds to the issue when called out by a footballer.

I’m also delighted about the commitment to free school breakfasts and lunches for all primary pupils, including during school holidays. In Glasgow, the SNP City government has already extended free school meals to pupils in Primary 4 and committed the funds to make the physical expansions to school dining areas that are needed to accommodate pupils receiving free meals in Primaries 5 to 7.

We’ve also been working to address holiday hunger for the past three years. We knew that for thousands of families, school holidays have too often meant financial stress, hunger and even malnourishment. Our Children’s Holiday Food Programme has given many thousands of youngsters access to activities and free meals delivered by our partners in communities across the city. And the commitment to year-round wraparound childcare will be a central pillar in Scotland’s economic recovery. Although the pandemic has knocked us slightly off course, it has been a source of pride that Glasgow has been at the vanguard of the provision of 1140 free hours of childcare. Given the impact Covid-19 has had on our economy, hitting jobs and living standards hard, these aligned local and national policies are exactly the type of practical commitment we need right now.

Here in Glasgow, the response from our opponents to these progressive social policies is hypocrisy, disinformation, and a localised version of Project Fear. The Tories seem to want us to ignore the fact they are the party of Boris Johnson, of Brexit, cronyism, sleaze and brutally cruel social policies that are entirely at odds with the needs of our citizens. It’s a shrill and irresponsible brand of Unionism dedicated to decimating our communities with their new brand of Thatcherism.

Meanwhile, Labour want us to “move on from the past” while trash talking Glasgow. The fact is that the SNP have spent four years cleaning up the mess from Labour’s decades of quick fixes and neglect. It’s no wonder Anas Sarwar doesn’t want to talk about “old arguments” when the simple fact is his colleagues failed to properly invest in our buildings and services. They’ve only belatedly found a voice on making Glasgow greener and more sustainable in opposition – and that’s before we mention the legacy of their discrimination against thousands of low-paid female workers. Sarwar has been arguably the most influential individual in Glasgow Labour for a decade. I judge him on his actions, not glib catchphrases.

To echo the words of the First Minister, we cannot separate recovery from the pandemic from the question of who takes the decisions and where power lies.

If we don’t take Scotland’s recovery into our own hands, the risk is that – just like after the financial crash – we will face another decade of Westminster austerity. Instead, we have the option to create a watershed moment, to build a better Scotland and a better world. If that’s what you want too, use both your votes for the SNP tomorrow.