RECENT developments at Westminster, the proposed bill on the UK internal market in particular, all point to an assault on the hard-won and limited powers of our Scottish Parliament, those who represent us there and those who strived for decades to see it established.

It is in fact an assault on democracy within Scotland and the Scottish voters of all persuasions, perhaps with the exclusion of the 20% who represent the Scottish Unionist & Conservative Party of England. This party is English, Scotland not having supported it by majority for over two generations!

As Ruth Wishart called out (A parliament that can’t pass own laws isn’t a parliament, July 6), the assault is led by that wholly “sleekit” Michael Gove, a Scot on the make. As JM Barrie once quoted: “There are few more impressive sights than a Scotsman on the make”.

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: A Parliament that can't pass laws is no Parliament at all

On the make Mr Gove surely is, aspiring as he is to be the future UK Prime Minister (not impossible given the paucity of the opposition). Gove and the Tory government of the UK are out to destroy, through a war of words in the first skirmishes, the Scottish Parliament.

This war has started, a war where “word play” is very important and one where I would like to see the representatives of our Scottish Government and the representatives of the SNP leadership in particular take great care, not just in the words they use but importantly in how they respond to words used against them and us.

Last week in the UK Parliament we had PM Johnson refer to the Scottish Government as the “Scottish administration”. This was no careless mistake, it was a deliberately condescending, derogatory assault on the influence and respect that that institution and government holds in the minds of the Scottish people thanks to the strong women leading the party, particularly in this pandemic. Ms Sturgeon, Freeman and Forbes are beacons of selfless commitment and capability, and that has “unhinged” the UK Tory government.

This insult was shortly followed up by reference to there being “no border” between Scotland and England. Laughable as it is, this could be interpreted in a number of ways, but that is not the point.

The point being made is that post-Brexit we will all be “in it together”, the “it” being Greater England, and the plan is that the Scottish Government will be reduced to the “Scottish County Council” responsible for bin collections and litter, much as Jacob Rees-Mogg referred to Scotland being a “province or district”, presumably of England, and similar to Yorkshire.

We have 1000+ years of nationhood that says differently.

Today Mr Sunak, the Chancellor of the UK Exchequer, will be making financial announcements about money being made available to restart the economy after the coronavirus crisis. Welcome as this is, references will be made to “Scotland will receive £x million from Westminster” etc . In the “war of words” I would ask our Scottish Government representatives to start challenging this rhetoric. This “word play”.

The starting place should be the SNP response. In the “war of words”, that response should be along the lines of: “We are very grateful to the UK Government for returning a percentage of the revenues raised by it in Scotland, but we would much have preferred retaining all the revenues and taking the responsibility ourselves for spending all our own revenues without it being top-sliced in Westminster – this is what we aspire to as an SNP Government.”

It’s now “end game” – the Scottish Government and Parliament must retaliate with the robust use of language at every opportunity. Words are important, and we must win that word war.

Ian Stewart
Uig, Isle of Skye