Since the 2016 Brexit referendum the UK government has shown no respect for the devolution settlement. It has been persistent in chasing a deal that undermines the democratically elected Scottish Parliament and rip powers away from it without consent.
The UK Government this week has shown again it’s complete disregard for devolution with the publishing of its new Internal Market Bill. The internal market bill according to the government looks to strengthen trading links within the union, better connecting all 4 nations and boosting the economy. However, that is far from the truth. The bill first of all will lower food standards to strike a trade deal with the US, this is already a devolved area, but it looks like the UK Government doesn’t care about that. In fact, the entire bill is filled with clauses that looks to override many areas of devolution without any consent or consultation with the devolved administrations.
And today Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Jack has written to the First Minister to try debunk her own claims. In this very short and awful letter Jack tells the FM that “Independence would destroy devolution”. I mean that’s some line to go with. Obviously, I don’t need to sit here and tell you that Independence would replace devolution with something better, but the only ones here destroying devolution are the Tories with this reckless power grab. The Tories have never had any respect for devolution and this bill reaffirms that. Independence gives us full powers to help people in Scotland, with Independence we can actually protect food standards and our democracy from this Tory government that is more concerned with tightening its grip on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Scottish Government, Scottish Greens, Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru have all blasted the attempts to undermine devolution. However, there has been an eerie silence from UK and Scottish Labour. The party of devolution seems to have fallen silent on the atrocity that is the internal market bill. Why is labour not speaking out on this? Has the party of devolution simply given up on devolution? At the time of writing this, Richard Leonard and the Scottish Labour Party have not uttered a single word about the attack on devolution and Scottish democracy.
Unfortunately, I think the worse is yet to come. The conservatives currently sit in Westminster with an 80-seat majority, so no matter what I think the Tories will plow ahead with this awful piece of legislation. It never fails to amaze me how little the Conservative government thinks of Scotland. in 2014 we were told to lead, not leave the Union. How can we do that when Westminster is so keen on overriding devolution and our elected Scottish Parliament. Be in no doubt this bill is an attack on our democracy.
We must call out this attack at every turn. The only way to protect Scotland’s parliament now is with Independence, and people are waking up to that reality. Scotland can do better than this.
This article was written by Jamie McDiarmid. Jamie is the President of University of Stirling Students for Independence.
Jamie can be contacted through the University or on twitter @Jamie_McDiarmid