OVER the last few weeks we have been celebrating 20 years of devolution in Scotland. In those 20 years the Scottish Parliament has shaped and changed itself to accommodate the sovereign people of Scotland. This is in stark contrast to the Tory Death Star that governs us from London telling us what we can and can’t do. The divergence that has been created between the Scottish Parliament and Westminster is blatant for all to see.

Let’s begin with the simple task of comparing both parliaments over the last 10 weeks or so. In the last two months the Scottish Parliament have brought forward legislation to tackle fuel poverty, we are creating a new social security system based on dignity with announcements such as the Scottish Child Payment, we extended the presumption against short sentences, we raised the age of criminal responsibility and we announced legislation to extend social care to under-65s.

This is just some of the “day job” our government in Holyrood is working on to make Scotland a better place to live.

Now contrast this to what we have seen from the UK Government over the last two months and it’s a pretty dire comparison. Westminster has been at a standstill with very little debate or focus on the out-of-date policies that the Tories have inflicted on our most vulnerable people, squeezing the dignity out of the very people they are elected to govern.

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The Westminster establishment is obsessed with Brexit with no consensus or even a thought given to the Scottish Parliament and how leaving the European Union will impact all of us here in Scotland.

Over the last few weeks or so we have been witnessing a diabolical Tory leadership battle that has culminated in a contest between tweedle dee and tweedle dum, also known as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. It will be the 160,000 Conservative Party members that will decide who the next prime minister is for the 60 million-plus residents of the UK.

Neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Hunt are fit to lead us out of the calamitous situation in which we find ourselves in. Both have pledged to deliver Brexit regardless of the consequences which would be catastrophic for public services, jobs and living standards. Let’s be honest here, both Tory candidates have been pandering to the demands of the extreme right of the Conservatives as well as Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party.

Only a few weeks ago, Scotland went to the polls and resoundingly rejected Brexit with their SNP vote. A few weeks later and we are back in the twilight zone listening to Boris Johnson’s bizarre, racist and untrue comments while Jeremy Hunt appears in Scotland with some Irn-Bru and a fish supper, all the while telling us he won’t respect the democratic will of the Scottish people – aye, that will be right Jeremy.

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If he wanted to encapsulate Scottish culture, he should have visited the food bank here in Paisley and explained the logic of the Universal Credit roll-out, or perhaps headed to Faslane and spoke with campaigners about the billions wasted on Trident, or visited Dungavel immigration centre and heard first hand of the disgraceful situations people are finding themselves in due to his government. So, you crack on with your can of Irn-Bru Mr Hunt.

Whoever becomes the next UK prime minister will disregard Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU, and they will also ignore the SNP landslide that occurred only weeks ago across the country in the European Parliament election. They would rather appease the Brexit Party than listen to the Scottish Government.

As we look back on 20 years of devolution, Unionist commentators continue to clutch at straws as the tired practise of confusing the general public on which policies are under the remit of the Scottish Government compared with Westminster continues. We must continue to highlight the divergence between our two governments and the progressive policies that are implemented here in Scotland that have helped us become the progressive, innovative and caring country that we are.

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We need to be confident in the fact that in the last 20 years here in Scotland we have scrapped tuition fees, made prescriptions free, implemented the smoking ban, introduced minimum pricing for alcohol, free personal care for elderly people, land reform, scrapping bridge tolls and granting the vote to our 16 and 17-year olds to name just a few of the policies that make us a fairer place to live.

I hope that in 20 years’ time we are not celebrating 40 years since the Scottish Parliament reconvened, instead we are constantly in celebration of our country being an independent nation.

Let us hope that in 20 years we are looking back at this time of devolution with fond memories of how it made the people of Scotland come to the realisation that we are perfectly capable of governing ourselves.