Who Should Decide Scotland’s Future?

'ON January 31 Scotland officially left the EU despite our overwhelming vote to remain. We now face a choice that I fully understand a lot of people never expected to have to make. If you’re one of the million or so people who voted to stay in the United Kingdom in 2014 and in the European Union in 2016, it has been made impossible for both your choices to be delivered. I’ve got no right to decide for you which is more important to you. No-one has that right except you. The only fair and democratic way forward is to let you and everyone else in Scotland decide which of the two remaining futures we want to follow; to follow Boris Johnson over the cliff-edge of a hard Brexit, or to go for a fairer and more inclusive Scotland as an Independent member of the European Union. I respect the fact that people have different views about Independence and about the European Union. I will never accept that a Tory Government we didn’t elect has the right to ban the people of Scotland from deciding when we’re going to be asked to choose.

Our NHS Is Not For Sale

I was lucky enough to be drawn in the “ballot” (basically a posh raffle) to present a Bill of my choosing to Parliament. Last week I presented a short Bill that will prevent our NHS from being opened up to private companies as part of a trade deal with Donald Trump or anybody else. There’s a long way to go before it has a chance of becoming law but in addition to my SNP colleagues I’m grateful to MPs from Labour, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Greens and Independent who have signed up to sponsor it.

A Sign of Things to Come

In the last two weeks at Westminster we’ve seen MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being banned from voting on legislation that will have a significant impact on the Health budgets in all four UK nations; Boris Johnson’s henchmen throwing journalists from “leftie” newspapers out of a press briefing (congratulations to the other journalists who were invited in but who walked out in solidarity with them); further delays to the disastrous Universal Credit benefits system, with a Tory minister blaming SNP and other opposition MPs for the shambles; the UK Government still refusing to publish a report into Russian interference in our democratic processes; and much more besides. How can anyone possibly think this is the best Scotland deserves?

Scotland’s Budget

Last week the SNP Government unveiled its budget for Scotland. Despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and despite the UK Government refusing even to confirm how much of our own money we would be getting back from them this year, the SNP announced investment of £15 billion in health and care services, £645 million for the expansion of early learning and childcare, and £1.8 billion to help accelerate Scotland’s transition to a net zero carbon economy'.