By Maree Todd MSP
The UK Government is unable to command a majority. The Prime Minister survived a leadership contest, but lost the support of nearly 4 out of 10 of her own MPs. A lame government limps on, led by a lame duck, only because of Labour’s ineptitude and the DUP.
In stark contrast to the utter chaos and shambles at Westminster, the SNP in Scotland are getting on with the day job.
On Wednesday, the Finance Secretary Derek Mackay set out the budget for the year ahead – protecting public services, supporting the economy and building a fairer country.
The Scottish Government Draft Budget reflects the SNP’s values and priorities for Scotland. We want a fairer, more equal Scotland, and we want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up.
Before the Budget was even announced, the Lib Dems made the farcical remark that they were pulling out of negotiations until the SNP “take independence off the table”. Some might wonder how the Lib Dems were able to prop up a Tory government in Westminster and enable massively damaging welfare reforms – in return for a 5p levy on plastic bags – yet they can’t even discuss supporting a progressive SNP budget. Being against self-determination is their top priority. That’s quite a shift for the party of home rule.
They are missing a trick here by not even coming to the negotiating table. The SNP are a minority government, which means we need the support of at least one other party to pass the budget. This is a genuine opportunity to see government spending reflect their priorities.
On the other hand, Labour’s alternative budget plans have been branded “a shambles”, by senior figures of their own party. The lack of costed tax and spending proposals, along with a party tweet revealing their poor comprehension of the budget tables render the Scottish Labour Party less credible than ever.
The Tory’s demand extra spending for healthcare, but they want to cut taxes for the richest in society. Where is the money coming from?
This week also saw the UK Supreme Court ruling which exposed the astonishing lengths the UK government have gone to undermine devolution.
They ruled that the Scottish Government’s Continuity Bill, necessary to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit, was within competence when passed by MSPs, apart from one section.
However, after Holyrood had passed the Bill, the Tories deliberately delayed the act becoming law and moved the goalposts by passing their own legislation to cut the Scottish Parliament’s powers and to make other parts of the bill retrospectively outwith the Scottish parliament’s competence.
The crisis and chaos the UK is facing is entirely of the Tory party’s own making. Their vicious civil war has led us to this point. They continue to ignore the fact we didn’t vote for this in Scotland and now they are undermining our parliaments response to it.
The Tories need to go or – better still – Scotland needs to go!
This is a regular column by local MSP Maree Todd, SNP – all list MSPs for the Highlands and Islands have been offered the same column space.