Brexit has shown us that Westminster is broken. Change is needed, and it’s time for the Scottish Parliament to take control of Scotland’s future.
In Wednesday’s statement on Brexit and Scotland’s Future, the First Minister said she would introduce a new bill which will allow the Scottish Parliament to set the rules for an independence referendum – once the terms of Brexit are clear.
In a clear move to gain consensus across Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon also offered a cross-party process to consider further devolution for the Scottish Parliament; and the setting up of a Citizens Assembly to give people a say over Scotland’s future.
She told MSPs that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to give people in Scotland a choice over their future – if we are taken out of the EU and the terms of Brexit are clear – in the current term of parliament.What a positive message to hear following a short holiday that nearly wasn’t. For there was a moment, among all the Brexit uncertainty generated by the hapless Mrs May and her warring Tory party, that it was possible Holyrood’s Easter recess could be cancelled.
But then the EU agreed to allow the Tories to kick the Brexit can further down the road – as far as October 31. This extension to Article 50 brings the prospect of the UK taking part in next month’s European Parliament elections. Between the Halloween deadline and the likelihood of being able to vote new SNP MEPs into the European Parliament – less than two months after Scotland was due to be dragged out of the EU against our will – you really couldn’t make it up.
The SNP has for the past two-and-a-half years been clear about the benefits of EU membership, particularly for small states. The object lesson is Ireland, which has been wonderfully well supported by the rest of the EU members during the whole Brexit crisis while, in marked contrast, Scotland has been marginalised and ignored by the UK. Any pretence that Scotland is an equal partner in the UK went out the window some time ago.
If the European elections do go ahead on May 23 they will give voters in Scotland an opportunity to express their opposition to Brexit in clear and unambiguous terms, by voting for the SNP.
In the meantime, it is great to be planning a trip north to Orkney from Thursday evening through to Saturday morning. I am looking forward to hearing about developments in the renewable energy field, catching up with work to reduce fuel poverty, and discussing moves to tackle child poverty in the islands – something close to my heart as the Minister for Children and Young People.
I’m also fitting in some rugby-related socialising as a guest of Orkney RFC’s women’s team, the Orkney Dragons, at their annual awards.
Then it’s back south to the SNP conference in Edinburgh on Saturday and Sunday. There is bound to be an extra buzz among party members.
Exciting times lie ahead.
This is an article by local MSP Maree Todd, SNP. All list MSPs have been offered the same space in The Orkney News to express their own views.