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New Year, New Newsletter!
Every year in British politics is now almost more turbulent than the last. But surely 2022 - which saw three prime ministers, countless scandals, economic chaos and a new wave of democracy denial - takes the biscuit.
Early signs suggest that 2023 won't be much different. Over the next few months, those of us who support Scottish independence have some big decisions to make about the future strategy of our cause.
The preferred route to demonstrating majority support for independence remains via a referendum. However, in wake of the Supreme Court judgement and with Westminster’s refusal to grant a vote, that ain’t happening any time soon.
But with support for independence rising, how can we allow people to express their view? Much has been said recently about the pros and cons of using an election as a de-facto referendum. Some have argued that the next Westminster election should be a vote on independence. Others have argued that a Holyrood election would be the better option.
I recently shared my thoughts on the way forward, explaining how both the Westminster and Holyrood election can be used as a vote on independence and the right to choose. Click to read my article below:
We have a new front bench team within the SNP Westminster group, and I am pleased to have been re-appointed as the party’s Constitutional Affairs Spokesperson under the leadership of Stephen Flynn MP. In this role, I led our Opposition Day debate which we used to put forward the Scotland Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill.
What has changed since 2014? Well, let's start with Brexit.
The bill would have allowed the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a referendum and reject any attempts by Westminster to impose a roadblock on Scotland's democratic journey to independence. True to form, the Tories used their majority to reject our motion.
Ultimately, the more these Westminster parties do everything in their power to deny Scotland its voice, the more support for independence will grow as people across Scotland see this Trump-like tactic for the anti-democratic outrage it is.
However, Westminster aren't only denying Scotland its voice; they are systematically undermining Scotland's existing democratic institutions.
While Brexit started this process, it soon developed a life of its own as the right-wing British nationalists now in control of the Tory party - got the bit between their teeth.
Take the Tories' new anti-strike law, which was rushed through Parliament earlier this month. The bill will criminalise workers taking legitimate industrial action if minimum standards are breached in devolved areas like transport, health, and education. Those minimum standards will be set in London, not Edinburgh. If the Tories' aim was to call into question the very devolution settlement that gave Scotland its own parliament, they could not have designed a better piece of legislation.
The Truth Behind Tory attacks on workers' rights.
Crowning this month's slide towards direct rule was the UK Government’s use of the blunt force instrument of a section 35 Order to block Scotland’s new gender bill from becoming law. A bill that was passed in the Scottish Parliament by a two thirds majority. I know the subject is controversial and is the subject of strong passionate arguments. But it is an argument to be had here, in Scotland.
In part, this is a Tory Government prepared to whip up prejudice against a vulnerable and marginalised group as part of their so-called culture war. But, make no mistake, it is also a full-frontal attack on the right of the people of Scotland to take decisions for ourselves.
It's time the Labour front bench did more than pay lip service to devolution.
The Tories, and carbon-copy Labour, simply cannot be trusted with devolution.
That’s why it’s so important to put Scotland’s future firmly into Scotland’s hands. Only with independence can we properly protect our Scottish Parliament, have a full range of powers to shape the country we want, and always get the governments we vote for.
Need help or advice?
As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, we are absolutely here to help if you need it. You can email me at [email protected]
or call 0131 661 8023.
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