THE Westminster attitude to Scotland was perfectly summed up this week by the so far unidentified Tory MPs who sneered after Ian Blackford finished his response to the Queen’s Speech: “Thank God for that.”

The disdain was underlined by a tweet from Martin Daubney, deputy leader of the distinctly dodgy Reclaim Party, in response to the exodus of English MPs from the chamber when the SNP Westminster leader rose to speak: “Ian Blackford couldn’t empty a room any quicker if he was a known carrier of ebola.”

It’s astonishing that members of the UK Parliament continue to feel such contempt for those elected by Scots to represent them in the “corridors of power” after elections which once again demonstrated the dominance of a party dedicated to winning independence for Scotland.

The SNP has for years been consistently winning election after election north of the Border. Last week’s council elections saw them yet again emerge as Scotland’s most successful party, going against the accepted political wisdom that long-serving governments always see their popularity wane at the ballot box.

There are a number of possible reasons for the SNP’s continued electoral success … support for its handling of Covid, backing for its opposition to Tory policies at Westminster, Brexit, independence.

In fact the results of a major academic study of the last Holyrood election were published on Tuesday and revealed independence to be the biggest single reason for that success.

It showed a majority of Scottish voters believe that a referendum should take place – including 15% who want one in the next 10 years, 16% who want one within five years, 22% who want one within the first half of the SNP’s term in office, and 9% who want one “as soon as possible”.

Most voters believe the results of the 2021 Holyrood election mean a second independence referendum is more likely to happen – with 32% saying it is “much more” likely and 41% saying it is “somewhat more likely”.

Despite Tory claims to the contrary, plans for indyref2 before the end of 2023 are certainly not putting off the majority of voters.

That being the case why can’t the Tories and Labour at Westminster understand that their arrogant dismissal of arguments for indyref2 is not simply alienating Scottish voters but is showing sneering contempt for those voters?

How is Westminster insulting Scotland? Let’s count the ways:


AS we all know only too well, Scotland voted against leaving Europe. Unfortunately under the present system of government in the UK sheer force of numbers was enough to win the day on Brexit. We might wish that every constituent part of the UK had to vote yes before the decision to leave the EU was ratified but the reality was very different. Nevertheless you might have thought that basic good manners would have dictated that the UK Government at least consult with the Scottish government. They didn’t. Not a single suggestion put forward by Holyrood was even listened to, far less adopted. Scotland’s views were completely ignored. Meanwhile the UK Government has continued to make a moger out of Brexit, just yesterday repeating its threat to tear up the Northern Ireland protocol it accepted less than six months ago.


IF you’re like me you’ll have lost count of the number of mandates for a second vote on independence that have been won at the ballot box by the SNP. Yet despite clear indications by Scottish voters that they support the SNP’s policy of holding indyref2 before the end of 2023 Westminster persists in threatening to block it. At the last UK General Election in 2019 the SNP returned 48 MPs out of Scotland’s 59 seats, compared to the Conservatives’ six. In the last Scottish election last year the SNP returned 64 MSPs – one short of a majority. The Greens’ eight MSPs provided a pro-independence majority. The Conservatives won just 31 seats. Under what form of democracy does Boris Johnson believe he has the authority to stop indyref2?


NICOLA Sturgeon stopped short of describing last week’s council elections as yet another mandate for indyref2. There was no need … she already has a sufficient mandate. She did, however, say it was the electorate’s first chance to express at the ballot box its dissatisfaction with Boris Johnson’s illegal parties at Downing Street and its anger at the Tories’ woeful response to terrifying increases at the cost of living, Johnson has been fined for attending the parties but refuses to resign. The Tories insisted that the Queen’s Speech this week contained help for suffering families when the reality was that it was proof that they continued to turn their backs on that suffering. To make matters worse one of its own MPs this week said those hit most by the crisis don’t know how to cook or budget properly.


OF course, it’s not just hungry families that the Tories are losing touch with. Their grip on reality is also slipping, if Michael Gove’s car crash BBC Breakfast interview on Tuesday was anything to go by. The Secretary of State for “levelling up” the UK economy, indulged in a variety of silly voices and described suggestions that the Prime Minister should resign over partygate as “bonkeroony”.


NOTHING infuriates the Tories more than the sight of Scotland behaving like a real country, fostering strong links with other real countries. So the news that Nicola Sturgeon was due to visit America to promote Scotland’s interests provoked predictable results. Scottish Tory constitution spokesperson suggested taxpayers would be furious at such a waste of money during a cost-of-living crisis being completely ignored by his own party.

This week another attempt by Scottish MPs to properly describe the deplorable actions of the present UK Government ran into the sand because of the archaic rules which dictate what can and cannot be said in the House of Commons.

Who would disagree with Hannah Bardell’s right to describe Boris Johnson and his cronies as a “shower of corrupt criminals”? Yet the Livingston MP was given a rap on the knuckles by Commons speaker

Lindsay Hoyle, who insisted on what he described as “good behaviour” and “tolerant language”.

How long will we accept Westminster’s insistence on using only the mildest of language to describe the despicable actions of the UK Government while at the same time letting that same government off with blatant lies and the inhumane refusal to protect the most vulnerable in our country?

The truth is there is only one reason to send Scottish MPs to Westminster. It will not help our economy as long as the levers of power are in the hands of those who prioritise the south-east of England over all areas of the UK. It will not “level up” the UK as long as those charged with doing so display not the slightest interest in that job. There is no hope of winning support for Scottish interests when that case is routinely dismissed by those with force of numbers on their side.

The only use we now have for Westminster is to have it pass the necessary Section 30 order to allow a second referendum on independence to proceed along exactly the same lines as the first in 2014. The Scottish Government has asked for such an order twice since 2014. In March 2017 Nicola Sturgeon wrote to then Prime Minister Theresa May asking for discussions on a referendum to start. The request was refused. More than two years later The Scottish government published Scotland’s Right to Choose again asking for those discussions. Again the request fell on deaf ears.

Of course Westminster’s support for indyref2 is not the only route to independence. Now that the local elections are over independence should now be our top priority.

The indyref2 debate must move away from how to achieve the vote and concentrate instead on the kind of country we will build when we win it.

If Westminster continues to believe it can simply dismiss Scotland’s expressed desire for that vote there are only two acceptable responses. The first is to press ahead and hold a vote anyway. The second is to take a long hard look at why we persist in engaging with the sorry excuse for democracy represented by Westminster and reconsider that relationship even before indyef2 is held. You can only accept being ignored for so long.