AT an enthusiastic and wonderfully attended meeting of the local Yes Tweeddale Group yesterday evening in the Peebles Hub, members discussed their response to the last month in Scottish and UK politics.

Of course, Brexit and the General Election were foremost in our minds but particularly the events in both the Westminster and the Holyrood parliaments that same day. Earlier, the Scottish Parliament voted by 92 votes to 29 to reject Boris Johnstone’s withdrawal agreement.

It was rejected for its severely detrimental effect on the post-Brexit domestic governance of the people of Scotland (the so-called “power grab” on devolved powers) but also because the UK Government has refused over the past three and a half years to consult the Scottish Government in any meaningful way to achieve a mutual agreement.

Thus, Wales will have their wish to leave the EU, Northern Ireland will have a tailored agreement that broadly meets their wish to remain in the EU ... and Scotland will be forced by Boris Johnson to leave in spite of their massive vote to remain.

Later in the afternoon, Westminster passed the withdrawal agreement and the Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, again evaded questions.

In response to a rally of questions from the SNP benches he said that “45% of Scots voted for the SNP in the 2019 election and 45% of Scots voted for independence in 2014; the numbers simply haven’t changed”. In other words, he rejected the idea the 45% was not a mandate for another choice to be given to Scotland, in spite of the fact that this was the SNP’s core message in the election at the end of last year. Of course, it does raise a question mark over the 47.2% that the Tories won to achieve a mandate for their core message of “get Brexit done”.

Scotland voted against independence by a significant amount because of a raft of false promises, but mainly because they were told we would be taken out of the EU should we vote Yes.

However, Mundell insists that we should stop harping on about independence and John Lamont toes the party line and ignores his constituents once again in his attempts to pass the UK Government’s failing on to the Scottish Government, “In Scotland, education standards are falling. In Scotland, the NHS is also failing patients in missed waiting time targets.”

Yet according to a report to the Education and Skills Committee on November 27 last year, attainment of a level 5 qualifications has increased from 71% to 86% (since 2009), those achieving a Higher qualification has increased from less than 50% to over 66%, those achieving five highers or more has risen from 20% to 30%.

In fact, when last year’s results were announced, John Swinney confirmed that, although the pass rate in Highers had fallen slightly, 75% had still passed at Higher level A-C and 25% had passed at Higher level A with the national 5 passes in English and maths also rising.

I couldn’t find any information to support the Tories’ statement that the SNP are failing the NHS, but I could find plenty that shows that the Tories themselves are failing appallingly in England. Interestingly, this is not mentioned by the mainstream media.

Perhaps if they stopped conjuring up plans to discredit the Scottish Government, the Tories might be able to accomplish their day job. Regardless, the marked change of circumstances since 2014 and the continued mandate the SNP have are enough to seal our right to choose. Yes Tweeddale would like to welcome new members to the cross-party Yes movement on the second Wednesday of every month in the Peebles Hub at 7pm.

Gordon Daly
Chair of Yes Tweeddale

WHY are Tory MPs being allowed to get away with “once in a generation” when the broken promises, which are being rolled back even further after Brexit (and don’t forget EVEL), made by the Better Together campaign, funded by the incumbent Westminster club, makes the 2014 referendum null and void.

There have been about 10 generations since a greedy few (the parcel of rogues) took the Scottish people, who didn’t have a vote but never-the-less protested in large numbers, against their will into a Union of Parliaments. Scottish people may have been ignored once and lied to on a second occasion but since 2014 they have realised how Westminster treats them as an irrelevance as English politics lurches further to the right. Jack’s appointment as Scotland Basher (sorry, Secretary of State) must be the last straw.

Mike Underwood