YOU would be forgiven for thinking, given the reaction of the SNP, the recent coronation of John Swinney as their leader and Scotland’s second consecutive unelected First Minister (an action which when conducted at UK level is an outrage to democracy according to the same party) was an opportunity for us all to join together and forgive and forget the divisive and inept governance of Scotland that has taken place during the SNP’s 17 years in office.  

Let the rapprochement begin!

Except isn’t this the same John Swinney who has been at the steering wheel of this SNP clown car for all bar a couple of years of this circus?  

The same politician who stood side by side with Nicola Sturgeon when she forced through flawed gender reform legislation, which failed to protect the rights and safety of women and girls; was the architect of the Scottish Greens coming into government, thereby allowing some of the most reckless anti-business forces to be unleashed on the Scottish economy; and presided over some of the most brutal cuts to local government services both previously and to come?  

“Continuity won’t cut it” said former leadership contender Kate Forbes during the SNP contest last year.  

However, when the prospect of a seat back around the table was dangled in front of her by John Swinney, it quickly became clear that continuity was just fine, including that gender reform legislation which she had concerns over while she was on maternity leave.

This seemingly is what passes for a reset under the SNP, while John Swinney –not exactly known for his calm style in the Holyrood chamber – reached out to other parties without any irony and called for an end to divisive politics while campaigning under a slogan which trumpeted Unite for Independence.

I am sure readers will have gained a fair understanding of my opinion on the new First Minister by now, but I should also declare that I have a professional axe to grind.

I was a teacher and headteacher while Mr Swinney was education secretary, where even a quick analysis of his time in charge would mean the man now in the top job would have failed his exam.

He was the education secretary who presided over the SNP’s attempt to arrest the plummeting of Scotland down the league tables of educational achievement and promised to increase teacher numbers, reduce class sizes and close the attainment gap between the most well-off children and our city’s poorest.

I do not have enough space in this column to draft a full report card for Mr Swinney, so forgive me but I shall return to this subject in future columns as the education of our young people is too important to ignore.  

Furthermore, as an elected councillor in Glasgow I sit as a member of what is euphemistically called the Service Redesign Committee, set up following the passing of the SNP/Greens budget last February, when they still talked to each other.

A more apt title would be the Cuts Committee.  

It is the duty of this committee to oversee cuts to vital council services, including education, as well as the introduction of additional charges to citizens for previously free services, and the responsibility for this can be traced back to decisions made by “king of continuity” John Swinney.

Continuity may not cut it but when it comes to slashing education budgets, John Swinney and Kate Forbes will deliver a huge feeling of deja vu.