THERE are some things the UK does that I think it reasonable to say Scotland has much the same view, and I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. There are though, times when it is patently obvious that an independent Scotland in Europe would have an entirely different stance than the UK does now.

This week in particular showed this more than others, with the Illegal Migration Bill, the UK’s Integrated Review (of Foreign and Defence Policy) “Refresh” published on Monday and the Budget that will be published later today.

To govern is to choose, and this UK is making different choices than Scotland wants.

Unsurprisingly, the Illegal Migration Bill passed its second stage in the House of Commons, despite even one Tory expressing “absolute horror” at it and Theresa May (the same Theresa May who established the hostile environment as Home Secretary) abstaining after tearing into its contents.

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Yet the bill still passed because the UK’s outdated first-past-the-post system means the Tories have a huge majority. This is a demonstrably broken democracy.

There was also the Integrated Review Refresh which at least acknowledge the last one was already out-of-date. Sadly it did not update it much further.

In geopolitics, geography matters, and the idea that the UK thinks it can be a significant actor in the Indo-Pacific is ludicrous. Engagement with like-minded allies is always to be welcomed, but the fact of the matter is these islands are located between the North Sea and the Atlantic, not in the Indian or Pacific oceans.

Even accepting that the UK has left the EU, it is obvious that the UK needs to continue to cooperate in a deep and systematic way with the EU – and I say EU quite deliberately – because the member states of the EU post the invasion of Ukraine are increasingly acting together via the Brussels frameworks.

Where there is some scope for window dressing bilateral state-to-state agreements – as we saw this week with the temporary agreement on refugees with France – the UK needs to get real and realise that the EU is increasingly speaking to third countries with one voice.

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Then there is today’s Budget, which comes at a time of high inflation, rising interest rates and sharply increasing spending on government debt.

The IMF has forecast that the UK will be the worst-performing large advanced economy this year.

The UK economy is no bigger than it was pre-Covid at the end of 2019. The UK economy is stuttering and it’s the people who are suffering the most.

Yet instead of helping households get through the cost of living crisis, there is precious little support been indicated.

In contrast, the SNP demonstrated this week why not only an independent Scotland will do things differently – it will do things better.

We voted against the odious Illegal Migration Bill and highlighted how there is a need for more legal asylum routes instead of punishing child refugees.

With the refresh of the Integrated Review, we pointed out how lessons have still not been learned from Afghanistan, whilst even the Labour Party has adopted the same idea that we proposed in our original submission in 2020 for a comprehensive security and intelligence treaty with the European Union.

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Meanwhile, we’re putting forward alternative budget proposals which help the people of these islands instead of punishing them.

We’re urging the UK Government to save households £1400 on their energy bills by reducing the Energy Price Guarantee level by 20% to £2000, instead of raising it to £3000, and by maintaining the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payments to the summer.

We want to see reform on grid charges which hamstring our burgeoning Scottish renewables sector, which currently pays some of the highest transmission charges in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government’s work on reducing child poverty was praised by leading experts at last week’s Work and Pensions Select Committee, demonstrating once again that even with the limited powers of devolution we will strive to do better.

It is clear to all that the UK’s priorities are not in the right place. And this is not just the here today, gone tomorrow Tories – Labour have adopted their positioning hook line and sinker and regime change in Downing Street might soften the rhetoric but the substance won’t alter much.

Instead of taxing the poor and engaging in foreign adventures, an independent Scotland would take its European role seriously and be committed to improving the lives of all the people of Scotland.

I am optimistic that whoever our new leader is will, with the backing of the party and its membership, bring us closer to that day when Scotland no longer has to mitigate UK austerity but instead deliver on Scotland’s wellbeing potential.

In the meantime, we will do what we can here in Westminster and stand up for Scotland when the other parties will not.