You might have thought that Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ Tory government couldn’t become any more of a parody of itself…then Thursday happened.
The UK government had more resignations in a single day than the Scottish Government cabinet has had in the last 11 and a half years, since the SNP took office.
Much of the, entirely legitimate, public alarm around Brexit, has been about its likely short-term impacts. Food supplies, medicine shortages, supply chains, and the loss of EU talent, in businesses and in our educational sector.
I am increasingly concerned about what the ‘new normal’ of life may be in a Scotland trapped in a Britain which has already Brexited. Economic decline, stunted growth, less opportunities to travel for work, studying and leisure. The idea of a generation lost to Brexit-induced constraints, stands in clear contrast to the possibilities of a strong, positive future for a new Scotland as an independent member of the EU.
And the UK, as an entity, has rarely looked so volatile and fragmented.
Theresa May’s deal puts Scotland at a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland in terms of jobs and investment – if one part of the UK can get special status and access to the single market and customs union then so must Scotland.
In Scotland we are, as part of the UK, not immune to the impact of Westminster chaos, but the progress of our devolved government is in stark contrast to the shambles in London.
Theresa May’s deal puts Scotland at a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland in terms of jobs and investment - if one part of the UK can get special status and access to the single market and customs union then so must Scotland.
Tuesday coming will mark the fourth anniversary of Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s First Minister; it is worth reflecting on her achievements in that time.
Staffing of our NHS is at historically high levels. And our 3 year pay deal will ensure all workers earning under £80,000 will receive a basic pay hike of nine per cent. This will make a real difference to the lives of the workers on which we all rely.
The ability to learn, not the ability to pay, remains a protected and sacred principle in Scotland. Free tuition helps thousands of students every year, saving them up to £27,000 compared to the cost of studying in England.
Despite the threat of Brexit, Scotland’s economy is holding up well too, in many ways performing better than the UK as a whole. GDP and productivity are up since 2014, unemployment is down, Scotland’s tech sector is booming and the gender pay gap has narrowed.
And as a party we remain focused on growing support for independence.
Yesterday we were knocking doors across the country and listening to the views of thousands of people on our second day of action.
The feedback has been positive; there is clear movement towards increased support for an independent Scotland. Our full case is yet to be made but the farcical state of the UK is without doubt a factor in people’s considerations.
As for whatever comes next from Downing Street, we will continue to call for Scotland to not be downgraded in the way May’s discredited deal does.
In Scotland we didn’t vote for any of this shambles – and we aren’t prepared to accept it.
This article originally appeared in the Sunday National on 18/11/2018.