0

At a crucial time in the UK’s history, with just over a month until Brexit, Westminster has descended even deeper into utter chaos.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Westminster parties cannot be trusted and are incapable of serving Scotland’s interests.

Westminster nonsense

The two main Westminster parties are completely divided, too busy ripping themselves apart while businesses are begging for certainty and people are demanding sensible leadership.

Within the Tory party, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ERG is holding Theresa May to ransom.

Throughout the Brexit process, she chose to pander to the hard-right extremists on her own benches, and by doing so, became trapped in a cage of impossible red lines.

This is a UK Government that suffered 32 ministerial resignations since 2017, with more possibly to come, if the Government chooses to actively pursue no-deal.

Even when we’re so close to the cliff edge, the UK Government is still chasing unicorns and asking to renegotiate the Brexit deal that Theresa May herself negotiated.

Today, seven MPs decided to resign from the Labour Party, citing dismay over Corbyn’s handling of Brexit and antisemitism.

This only serves to make Theresa May stronger and to deflect the absolute mess that Brexit is causing. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are under threat as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms ever closer, but today, all attention is on the Labour split and ensuing partisan civil war.

Last week, when the SNP tabled an amendment to extend Article 50 and prevent the Brexit cliff-edge, Labour shamefully abstained.

To sit on their hands at this crucial time was an abdication of responsibility to protect jobs and livelihoods from no-deal.

Labour’s actions throughout the past weeks and months have proven that they are incapable of stepping up to the job of official opposition. The SNP, not Labour, are the real opposition.

Standing up for Scotland as the real opposition in Westminster

Time and again, SNP MPs have stood up for Scotland’s wishes and interests when the Westminster parties seem to be on a mission to inflict maximum damage on Scotland.

The UK Government’s own economic analysis revealed that all forms of Brexit would do significant damage to Scotland’s economy and communities. It would deprive us of hard-won rights and opportunities, harm our economy and put thousands of jobs at risk.

In the face of these alarming facts, both Tories and Labour insist on dragging Scotland out of the EU, despite the fact that every council area in Scotland voted Remain. Only the SNP is united in opposing this Brexit clusterbourach.

We also consistently challenged against the toxic Tory policies on migration.

The UK Government’s White Paper proposes draconian restrictions on migration, makes it harder for public services to recruit much-needed staff, and goes against any economic logic.

This act of vandalism is imposed on Scotland without consultation, or even a shadow of consideration for Scotland’s demographics and unique needs.

We are passionately standing up for free movement, valuing the immense contribution of EU citizens to Scotland’s society and economy, and are providing the leadership that is desperately absent on Labour’s frontbench.

And when it comes to challenging the cruel Tory approach to welfare, we’ve consistently taken a lead on calling for the halt of the shambolic roll-out of Universal Credit, which is driving people to foodbanks and causing widespread misery.

Relentless pressure from principled SNP MPs forced the UK Government to U-turn on the two-child cap for benefits, and lead Amber Rudd to finally admit the direct link between Universal Credit and foodbank usage.

A UN report published in November highlighted that UK ministers are living in “a state of denial” over the extent of poverty in the UK, directly caused by Tory austerity.

And every time Ian Blackford raised this at PMQs, Theresa May put her head in the sand and refused to even acknowledge these issues.

We will continue to call out the Tories for their cruel policies, and we will press for further devolution of further social security powers to Holyrood, where we take a fundamentally different approach.

Getting on with the day job of delivering progress in government

At a time when Westminster is falling apart and the only certainty is uncertainty, the Scottish Government is delivering progress and pursuing a progressive, transformative vision for the people of Scotland.

We recently passed a Budget which will inject more funding into our NHS, invest record sums in early learning and childcare, pave the way for the Scottish National Investment Bank, and deliver £5 billion of investment into cutting-edge infrastructure.

Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems – perhaps following the direction of their Westminster superiors – adopted the strategy of criticising the Scottish Budget without offering any constructive and credible solutions. Only the Scottish Greens engaged in mature discussions, while the other parties were left moaning on the sidelines.

And when James Kelly, a Scottish Labour MSP, tried to hold the Scottish Government to account on local authorities funding, he ran away from his own question when faced with the plain facts.

We are also delivering progress in local government, where the other parties have failed.

Earlier this month, the SNP administration in Glasgow City Council passed an equal pay deal, delivering justice for thousands of women who were betrayed by the Scottish Labour administration for a decade.

Scotland’s bold, progressive and innovative vision for a better country is attracting international praise.

Scotland is considered a world leader in protecting the environment, thanks to our ambitious commitment to be carbon-neutral by 2050, generating over 70% of our electricity from renewables, and supporting cutting-edge research into green energy.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been promoting Scotland abroad, expanding trade and business partnerships, and is showcasing Scotland as a dynamic, outward-looking country, in stark contrast to the UK’s isolationist path.

Independence is the best future

Remember the broken promises of the Better Together campaign, especially the hollow claim that voting No in 2014 was the best way to protect our EU membership?

We were told to “lead, not leave” the UK, which the Better Together parties described as a “partnership of equals”.

At a time when Scotland has been silenced and shafted over Brexit, Tories regularly howl abuse at SNP MPs, and the UK Government is undermining devolution through a power grab, the notion of a “partnership of equals” has completely gone up in smoke.

For the Westminster parties, preserving internal party unity always seem to take precedence over common sense, economic logic, the wishes of Scotland’s people, and the interests of Scotland’s economy.

And even then, they are incapable of maintaining party unity.

The latest developments shine a light on how both Westminster parties – Tories and Labour – are increasingly dysfunctional and out of touch with Scotland.

The case for independence has never been clearer.

If Westminster is unwilling and unable to protect our interests, Scotland must find a way to save itself from this crisis.

Scotland must have the right to determine its own future, to finally get rid of Westminster Tory governments that the people of Scotland constantly rejected at the ballot box, and to build a fairer, healthier, more prosperous independent country at the heart of the European Union.

About author
Scottish National Party

Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland.