Kiddin on.

A columnist in a recent article in the Scottish Daily Mail used a quote from myself to help him make the case that, despite arguing for independence and pointing out the ridiculous nature of Westminster, SNP MPs actually secretly love the place.

The quote from myself was from when I was first elected, and I said, “everyone’s been so nice”. For clarity, I was talking about my fellow SNP colleagues who were all being thrust into the wild world of Westminster at the same time. I was also talking about the staff of Westminster.

The reason I feel compelled to write about this topic, isn’t that I particularly feel the need to defend the fact that I have total disdain for Westminster and the Westminster system. Anybody who has followed my work since 2015 knows that without a doubt.

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And honestly, the odds are that I’m looking too much into it, but I do feel that there’s an implication being made by use of my quote in this article, that the SNP’s disdain for the processes of Westminster is either fake or takes the form of a complete, irrational, and unyielding hatred of everything and anything that has ever had anything to do with the place. That’s not the case.

I have complete distaste for the way the place works (or rather, doesn’t work). I have complete distaste for the outdated and irrational practices that are held up as great symbols of democracy, when all they do is impede the ability of MPs to effectively take part in the democracy.

It’s little things, like having to bray like a donkey when you support an argument rather than clapping, or having to refer to people by the name of their constituency rather than by their own name.

But it’s also bigger things, like the ability for any single Member of Parliament to talk out a Private Members Bill with the person who took the time crafting the Bill being completely unable to do anything to stop it.

The National:

It’s having to take 20-odd minutes walking around a corridor in order to vote (the number of votes can sometimes get up to double digits in a single sitting day), and it’s standing in an actual palace filled with pubs, with an actual solid gold throne, while listening to governments the Scottish people didn’t vote for cheer each other on while they pass legislation that hits the pockets of the worst off in society.

That’s where the problems in Westminster are. That’s where the problems in the UK system stem from. There are of course many more problems with the UK system, from the London-centric attitude of the government and the media, to the deeply ingrained imperialist attitude of UK exceptionalism, but there simply aren’t enough column inches in all the world to do a discussion on those issues any justice.

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The problems are not the Westminster staff. The hugely informed and helpful staff in the House of Common’s Library who are able to compile briefings at the drop of a hat on very specific, detailed and obscure topics are a huge asset to the UK democratic system.

There are the door keepers, who are some of the kindest and welcoming people I’ve ever dealt with. There’s the security and police staff who keep MPs and our staff safe.

Then there’s the Table Office staff and the Clerks of the House who help MPs with tabling questions to Ministers and help us write motions, amendments and Bills. These people have unparalleled knowledge of the archaic processes of Westminster and do their best to assist MPs working within those processes. There are so many other departments in Westminster that do great work, and all MPs are lucky to work alongside them.

Not a single person in the SNP harbours any distaste or anger for these people.

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And that’s not shameful and not hypocritical. These people do a hugely important job and any parliament in the world would be lucky to have them.

It’s entirely possible to think that the UK system, where the second largest country in the Union’s entire electorate can be completely ignored by the governing party and has no access to any recourse, has failed, without thinking that everybody in Westminster is bad.

It’s that democratic deficit that has led to the growing support for Scottish independence. It’s why there’s a palpable excitement surging around the idea once again.

Scotland will soon have the choice to reject the Westminster system or keep it. I’m certain this time they’re going to reject it and choose a more representative politics.

Anyway, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Kiddin on.