IN spite of the moans from some quarters about “failures” of the SNP government, there have been many benefits, spread across different sectors of society, as a result of devolution, such as free prescriptions, fees paid for our younger generations to attend college and university, bus passes for the elderly no longer able to get around by other means, and a good few others.

Let us look, however, at some recent worrying developments.

Ever since the Internal Market Bill was passed at Westminster, after Brexit, the UK Government has had the power even to determine how our foodstuffs are labelled and to demand that Scottish produce carries a Union Jack, not a Saltire.

READ MORE: Lord George Foulkes has inadvertently exposed a truth about Scotland

It then gave Michael Gove the remit to bypass Holyrood and deal directly with local councils on the distribution of the replacement for the EU funds that had previously enabled Scotland to do things such as dualling parts of the A9. Yet local government is by law wholly devolved.

In spite of opportunities and offers for earlier joint discussions in the process, Westminster also blocked the Gender Recognition Reform Bill at its final step, even though it fell within devolved competence and was voted through Holyrood by MSPs of all parties.

In their manifesto, the Tories promised to introduce a recycling scheme for cans and glass bottles. Yet when, within its competence, Holyrood proposed just such a bill, Westminster blocked it, after ignoring or rejecting earlier offers of consultation.

Now, that eminent guardian of Scotland’s rights, the unelected Lord Foulkes, has demanded that civil servants at Holyrood should be forbidden to work for the Minister for Independence, although the top civil servant was obliged to admit that it was the right of our FM to appoint whatever ministers he chose.

More recently, it has been admitted that Holyrood’s finances are being investigated at Westminster over money spent on anything to do with independence.

Now the unelected House of Lords wants to amend the Levelling-up Bill to give Westminster power to strike down any environmental regulations passed at Holyrood which it does not like. It is also looking at imposing sanctions over any spending relating to independence So Holyrood will end up with a Minister for Independence who Westminster can block from having any civil service staff or a budget! Yet Westminster has more than one body, fully staffed and funded, working on the case for the Union.

The result will be that Holyrood is able to spend and pass laws only on things of which Westminster approves. Does that not negate the very purpose of devolution, which is to allow Holyrood to do things differently under the powers devolved to it?

Put all these attacks on Holyrood and devolution along with the other encroachments on devolved powers and only a blind man would fail to see the deliberate policy of reducing Holyrood to nothing more than a talking shop.

When that happens, Westminster will have the perfect excuse to claim that Holyrood is a waste of money, to reverse devolution and disband our Scottish Parliament.

With Labour currently fully focused on regaining power in England and showing little interest in Scotland’s needs and wishes, and equally determined not to lose control of our resources, that could happen even within the next Westminster parliamentary term. Wake up, Scotland, only independence as soon as possible can prevent this.
L McGregor

BBC Scotland News no longer reflects stories and issues of political importance to Scotland and devolution.

The ongoing story currently being ignored by the BBC is that Lord George Foulkes, who sits in the unelected House of Lords, has been for some time stirring up anti-Scottish Government sentiment in the UK while actively attacking the democratically elected Scottish Government and the levers of devolution, and the UK Government is responding in kind by neutering the civil service.

BBC Scotland News, if it was serious about journalism, should be all over this story yet the best it can do is a constant flow of every bad, anti-Scottish Government stories while ignoring reporting on the effects of UK Government policies on Scotland.

This is why BBC Scotland is losing its audience, treating like fools listeners who see through its manipulation of news, but which has become increasingly wearisome and predictable and fails to report the reality of life in Scotland under both governments.

If the Tories keep claiming, “Scotland has two governments”, then why does BBC Scotland only concentrate on the effects and actions of one – which, through cause and effect, is restricted in its ability to improve the lives of citizens – while ignoring or minimising the damage caused by the other, which is rapidly reining the levers of devolution and neutering the ability of Scotland to act through its democratically elected representatives.
Christine Smith

FLABBERGASTED was my reaction to the 900% rise in British Gas owner Centrica’s profits for the first six months of 2023! This staggering sum in financial terms saw profits rise from £98 million to £969m, staggering when we reflect on the headlines during last winter.

The National:

People freezing, unable to turn the heating on, having to decide heating or eating. The UK Government is responsible for energy policy and the handouts to households from the UK Government in the last year has merely allowed energy companies such as this to reap the benefits at the expense of struggling households.

The FM recognised the urgent need and neglect of the UK Government and increased the Scottish Fuel Insecurity Fund from £10m to £30m next year – mitigating measures that are costing everyone in Scotland when Westminster has the powers to tax energy companies and their excessive profits.

Those exorbitant and excessive profits being made in the midst of exploitation simply cannot continue in energy-rich Scotland.

I hesitate to ask what the UK Government’s arrangements are for winter 2023/24 and heating costs, I certainly hope it is no more subsidising the profits of energy companies – they should be called in with urgency.
Catriona C Clark