IT would appear that Brexit has become such an unmitigated mess that even the staunchest proprietors of leaving the EU are already trying to distance themselves from the inevitable hardships that lay ahead.

The level of mismanagement, incompetence and fraudulent promises from Westminster has been staggering, and as long as we are part of this Union, Scotland will be dragged along regardless of how we voted. Therefore, it was refreshing to see such a difference in direction when it came to the announcement of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (PfG).

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The Scottish Government will steadily increase Scotland’s annual infrastructure investment until it is £1.5 billion higher by the end of the next Parliament than in 2019-20. This move will also see Scotland’s investment rise to internationally competitive levels. Although, the reality is that Scotland is already some way behind competitors due to a legacy of historic UK under-investment. For example, in 2015 the Office of National Statistics found that annual UK government investment was 1% of GDP behind the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average – UK investment was approximately 2.6% of GDP; the OECD average was 3.6%. The idea is that this infrastructure investment will provide economic stimulus, boost international competitiveness and help prepare for Brexit.

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Further to this, there is a continued desire to have more ethical policies. For example, the 2017 PfG set out a commitment to lead in promoting the use of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) and phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032. The Scottish Government already has one of the most comprehensive EV networks in Europe: Charge Place Scotland. We have more than 800 public charge points (including over 175 rapid chargers capable of charging an EV to 80% in mere minutes). Currently, the average distance from any given location to the nearest public charge point is just 2.78 miles in Scotland – the lowest in Great Britain where 4.09 is the average.

The world is constantly adapting, but Scotland has a long history of innovation and progress. We can already see that progress in action when we consider that in 2017, 2240 ultra low emission cars (battery and plug in hybrid) were newly registered in Scotland – totalling 1.1% of all new cars registered in Scotland that year. Consequently, between 2016 and 2017 there was a 90% increase in new registrations of ultra-low emission cars in Scotland which signals a change in consumer choice and demand.

This year, the Scottish Government will invest £15m to add an additional 1500 new charge points in homes, businesses and local authority land, including 150 new public charge points.

There will be a £12m increase to the current £8m dedicated to Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund, which will enable more businesses and consumers to make the switch to electric vehicles.

The Scottish Government has pledged 500 additional ULEVs to public sector fleets through the Switched on Fleets programme, ensuring that the public sector is leading by example. They will also expand the scope of the Switched on Towns and Cities initiative to create at least 20 Electric Towns or Cities across Scotland by 2025. These policies give Scotland the potential to be a leading light internationally with regards to climate change.

We also have the potential to mould our institutions and structures in a way which makes them more inclusive, patient and understanding to the needs of real people. There has been an explicit acceptance that good mental health is a requirement for any person to have a stable and functional life lived to the fullest.

The National:

Therefore, support must be embedded across all our public services and be made available for all different ages to ensure that good mental health can be maintained. Mental health can be damaged at any point in life and to varying degrees of intensity, and we are still learning that problems with mental health are experienced by many more people than first thought. Therefore, I am glad there is an explicit effort to improve the services available to those who need help, when they need it.

There will be investment in additional school nursing and counselling services across education in Scotland ensuring that every secondary school has access to these resources.

By the end of academic year 2019/20, every local authority will be offered training for teachers in mental health first aid. There will be 80-90 additional counsellors in Further and Higher Education over the next four years. The Scottish Government will also expand the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme pilots during 2019 to include people under 18, and will develop community-based services for mental wellbeing for 5-24 year olds and their parents to provide direct and immediate access to a range of support.

The Scottish Government will provide three tiers of support during pregnancy and after birth across Scotland, in line with the needs of individuals. This includes counselling for 11,000 women a year, and rapid access to psychological assessment and treatment for around 5500 women.

We know that early experiences have lasting impacts for childhood and beyond, so maintaining an early intervention policy is crucial. There is also a commitment to increasing access to cognitive behavioural therapy and to supply more specially trained staff to provide mental health advice and calls to the 111 service. Backed by a new £3m innovation fund, the Scottish Government will also create and implement refreshed mental health and suicide prevention training by May 2019 for Scotland’s private and public sectors.

These are only a few examples of what was contained in the PfG this week, but it already paints an entirely different picture to that of Westminster. In Scotland, there is a clear direction of travel with ambition to ensure that policy is underpinned with moral and ethical reason. If only we didn’t have the unpredictability of Westminster to contend with and fight at every corner.