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19 Minutes: Devolution Destroyed

By Callum Reid


Remember the Scottish Devolution Referendum held in 1997? I don’t due to age but that’s not important. What is important is that the decision made by the people of Scotland nearly 21 years ago which led to the Establishment of the Scottish Parliament and the Scotland Act 1998 was trampled by the UK Government in just 19 minutes.
 
19 years of Devolution undermined in just 19 minutes.
 
What is not expressly Reserved to Westminster is Devolved. Yet under the European Union Withdrawal Bill areas that matter to the lives of the people of Scotland are under threat by a Tory Government under the illusion that it has “crushed the opposition.”
 
These areas include: fishing, farming, food standards, fracking and even who delivers public services. Some of the areas have been devolved to Holyrood since 1999 meaning they have been the responsibility of Scotland for my entire life. And where Westminster and the Tories try to keep Scotland back the SNP have used the powers of the Scottish Parliament to deliver progressive change for you and me.
 
They’ve built up a country where our social security system is built on dignity and respect. University Students no longer have to fork out thousands of pounds to pay for Tuition Fee’s. Families no longer have to pay the Tories Bedroom Tax (although if your Ross Thomson apparently there is no such thing!) We’ve used our powers to ban Fracking and introduce world leading climate change legislation. We’ve banned GM Crops.
 
So why am I listening these achievements? Because the Tory Power Grab puts at risk the progress Scotland has made thanks to Devolution. Under the EU Withdrawal Bill, UK ministers not Parliament and certainly not the Scottish Parliament can decide to change laws to suit their own interests. Tell me, in party whose members have friends in the fracking industry or who will do anything possible to have “special partnership” with Trumps America what powers under the Devolution Settlement or indeed Acts passed by the Scottish Parliament are safe? Answer: none.
 
We expected the Tories to one day try and tear up the Devolution Settlement after all they were against it in 1997 and for a party with members still in the Victorian Era like Jacob Rees Mogg or babbling Balloons like Boris Johnston who believes a pound spent in Croydon is better than a pound spent in Strathclyde we might be waiting passed my lifetime for them to respect the decision made by Scotland in 1997. By the way that’s if you take out Tories like Murdo Fraser and the throne loving Ross Thomson (my deepest condolences to the people of Aberdeen South).
 
But what we didn’t expect was the Labour Party who credit where credit is due are the founders of Devolution to abstain. I do recall Richard Leonard saying his MP’s would vote against the power stripping amendments in the Bill. So, Richard what happened? Why the change in heart? Or did your MP’s go against your leadership? I mean I know you want to deliver real change but even I wasn’t aware real change was handing powers back to the Tories.
 
And we won’t even mention the Lib Dem Jo Swinson who abstained and then blame Wales. If someone could explain the thinking behind that could they please inform the people of Scotland because I’m sure I’m not the only one lost. Answers on the back of a postcard please!
 
Anyway, if you think what I’m writing about sounds like a great big shamble. It was. Although it was actually worse than this post makes out. But what is clear from yesterday is that the Westminster parties cannot be trusted to deliver a better Scotland and when it comes to protecting devolution, the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland from the Devasting Policies of the UK Government only the SNP has Scotland’s interests, your interests at heart. However, there is a way to make sure the people of Scotland are respected. A way of ensuring a shambles like this can never happen again and that decisions made by Scotland cannot be overturned by a Government we never voted for and that is Independence.