THE Supreme Court judgment may have settled the legal question of whether Scotland has the power to call a referendum without Westminster approval – but it did not answer the question of who is best-placed to make decisions about Scotland’s future.

We are always told that the Act of Union is a voluntary union. But how can that be when only 18 months ago, the people of Scotland voted for the biggest pro-referendum and pro-independence majority of MSPs since devolution began?

The Scottish Greens and SNP both stood on manifestos that included very clear and unambiguous commitments to hold a free, fair and democratic referendum on Scotland’s future. We were elected in record numbers on that basis. To deny a referendum that people voted for is to deny democracy.

If the Union is really the partnership that we are constantly told it is, then the onus is now on the UK Government to explain what pathway is available to a country that wants to become independent.

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And this isn’t just a problem with the Conservatives. The Prime Minister’s anti-democratic position has been echoed by a Labour Party that has shown the same disregard for Scotland’s right to choose our own future.

In a BBC debate with my Green colleague Patrick Harvie, the Labour Party’s shadow secretary of state for Scotland, Ian Murray MP, asserted that Greens should be focusing on the environment and poverty.

But one of the main reasons we support independence is precisely because these issues cannot be separated from the question of where decisions are made.

Independence would not only give us the powers we need to make the positive changes that are so vital for our economy and environment. It would also leave us far better placed to tackle the cuts, chaos and climate destruction that are being inflicted by an uncaring, incompetent and unaccountable Tory government.

Let’s consider the UK and Scottish governments’ records on the climate crisis. As things stand, we can call on Downing Street to cancel new oil and gas exploration licences. With the powers of a normal independent country, we could halt them altogether.

Do Ian Murray and his Labour colleagues really believe that Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt truly have our environment at heart? Do they really believe that the last 12 years of Tory governments have been good for our planet?

They can see the changes we are making in Scotland, with record funding for wildlife, nature, recycling and infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling. They can see that we have introduced free bus travel for everyone under 22 and are investing £5 billion in improving and decarbonising Scotland’s rail network. The Tories would not have done any of this.

When it comes to tackling poverty, our record is one that we are proud of. With Greens in government, we have increased the Scottish Child Payment from £10 a week to £25 a week for every eligible child, providing vital relief and helping many of the most vulnerable families through the toughest winter in many years. We have also raised the benefits that Holyrood controls in line with inflation and are ensuring that all Scottish Government procurement contracts pay at least a real living wage.

This stands in stark and glaring contrast to the shameful record of the Tories, who have cut Universal Credit for many of the most vulnerable people, introduced the hated bedroom tax and enforced the disgraceful child benefit cap and rape clause.

With the powers of independence, including power over wages and social security, we could have avoided all of these utterly appalling policies and the terrible misery they have piled onto so many households and families.

I’m sure there are a lot of things Ian Murray and I would agree on.

I have no doubt that he cares deeply about the climate crisis and the poverty and destitution that so many people are being forced to live through. His constituents are also my constituents, and I am sure that they raise the exact same issues with him as they do with me. I’m sure he finds it every bit as frustrating, heartbreaking and infuriating as I do when he is unable to help them.

I also know that he is a keen supporter of the European Union and will have been just as devastated by Brexit as I was. Yet he represents a party that only this week has said that they would not choose to re-enter the single market or the customs union, let alone the EU itself.

Being able to talk about the things we agree on in principle is not enough. If we are to truly provide the support that our communities are crying out for, then we need the powers to make a difference.

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I didn’t stand for the Scottish Parliament because I want to diagnose problems. I did it because I want to solve them. Yet, as long as Scotland remains tied to Westminster, the biggest decisions will continue to be made by governments that we didn’t vote for and can’t remove.

If Westminster continues to block our democracy and our right to take our future into our own hands, then we will have no option other than to use the next General Election as a de facto referendum.

This is not our first choice. But, if the Tories and Labour will not allow a democratic referendum, then it is what we will have to do.

The Supreme Court may have made its judgment. But it is time for the people to have their say about Scotland’s future. The campaign for a fairer, greener and independent Scotland is only just getting started.