I WAS disappointed and frustrated that some SNP MPs returned to Westminster this week, as I felt that they were throwing away a trump card, a perfectly legitimate way of showing up the irrelevance of Scotland to Westminster, which no-one could consider a “manufactured grievance”.
Who could suggest that Westminster was anything other than a parliament for England if business proceeded without the representation of Scotland that is required by the Treaty of Union? It might even have been possible to argue that such an event made that Treaty null and void and ipso facto established Scottish independence.
But instead, a few MPs showed they were willing to break Scottish coronavirus regulations in order to bow to the will of Westminster.
READ MORE: Conservative MP Alok Sharma tests negative for coronavirus
The claim was that they went to “hold the government to account”, but surely that can only happen when such a stance is listened to and has some effect? We all know that even if 59 MPs from a single Scottish party attended Westminster, their “holding to account” would not make a blind bit of difference, and be totally ignored as usual. So what was the point of going at all?
Besides that, it now transpires that another MP was taken ill during proceedings and had to be tested for the virus. Had he tested positive, and Scottish MPs were identified as contacts of an infected person, they would have needed to self-isolate for perhaps 14 days. One must ask, where? In their London home? Or by doing a “Cummings” and travelling home, breaking Scottish regulations a second time, and putting others, during travel, and their constituents at home at risk?
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In any case, this isolation – now that virtual attendance is cancelled – would have deprived them of representation, the very thing they went to protect.
Was obeying Westminster to make views heard that were certain to be ignored, and breaking our regulations while putting themselves and others at risk, really a good idea?
Westminster left an own goal wide open and they ignored it, to the detriment of our cause.
I HAVE always resisted simplistic calls for SNP MPs to boycott Westminster, however three recent events are slowing changing my mind: the rush to abandon remote working and voting, the built-in Unionist majority on the so-called Scottish Select Affairs Committee and the 80-ish Tory government majority are leading me to believe that at least a partial boycott is now justified.
I have long since given up wasting my time watching the sad antics of the Unionist mobs laughing, shouting and jeering. I suspect that 99.999% of the population have also abandoned watching these people exhibiting behaviour which would not be allowed in a primary or secondary school.
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Given the current government’s majority, it frankly does not matter that our (in the main) talented MPs deliver brilliant speeches and ask pertinent, searching questions (almost never answered) If Boris Johnson proposed a bill which consisted of the London telephone directory printed backwards the government MPs would simply support it.
The Scottish Select Committee membership is an insult to democracy. If someone is dropping large dollops of brown smelly stuff on to your head from above, a sensible person would step aside and perhaps not want to chair the proceedings.
ALOK Sharma, UK Government Business Secretary, takes ill in the Commons while speaking and is tested for Covid-19. He has had to self-isolate. The timing of this is unfortunate for Jacob Rees-Mogg. That aside, it is to be hoped that Alok Sharma makes a safe recovery.
It does obviously call into question the hauling back to parliament of MPs and the kilometre-long, snake-like procession into the lobbies now. Boris Johnson did warn of a spike in infections in England. Is this the first ominous indicator?
It reinforces the mess we are in.
AS a result of Mr Rees-Mogg’s insistence that MPs may only participate in the Westminster “parliament” by attending in person, abandoning a digital system which seemed reasonably satisfactory, our elected representatives of all parties are now expected to put themselves, their families and their constituents in danger. The fact that an MP was taken ill with suspected coronavirus during Tuesday’s debate simply underlines Rees-Mogg’s folly.
According to Jolyon Maugham QC, 74% of Tory MPs, 65% of Labour MPs and a paltry 17% of SNP MPs were allowed to vote on Tuesday. As a supposedly democratic institution, Westminster now represents very poor value for money. They take our taxes and then deny us representation. Perhaps the time has come for us to shop around for better governance.
WHEN we eventually get over the worst of Covid-19 and turn our thoughts to freeing ourselves from Westminster‘s incompetent rule, we will surely hear from Unionist sources that Scotland could not have survived the pandemic had it been independent. Wrong.
The UK has only been able to recover from ten years of self-imposed austerity because it has its own “magic money tree”, ie the Bank of England printing press.
Serious thought must now be given as to how Scotland, on achieving independence, can create its own Central Bank and its own currency, whatever it is called.
We do not have ten years to achieve our goal, we will not have five, we must be up and running from the start.