2020

So much has been thrown under the bus to achieve one Tory aim

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 30th Dec 2020

Yesterday’s debate in parliament was a historic event and the SNP were right to take a full part in it and to vote against the bill designed to implement Boris Johnson’s deal into domestic law. 

It wasn’t hard for us to reach the unanimous decision that we would vote against the bill. Scotland’s Government and its representatives were cut out of the negotiations that led to the deal implemented by the bill and therefore, unsurprisingly, our country’s interests are not served by it. The bill grants sweeping powers to the British Government without proper parliamentary scrutiny and threatens to make yet further inroads into devolved competences. Our heads would need to zip up the back for us to agree to own this mess. Even the Scottish Labour party can see that, apart from the ignominious Ian Murray. 

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Scottish Labour could stand to learn from their Welsh colleagues

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 18th Dec 2020

Bravo for the Welsh Labour Government. Yes, you heard me right. After the Parliamentary Labour Party’s shameful capitulation on amendments tackling the Internal Market Bill’s devolved power grab it was surprising to see their comrades in Cardiff come out of the traps so quickly with a legal challenge to the bill. Surprising but exciting and what happens with the Welsh Government’s legal challenge could be very significant for Scotland. 

It’s pretty desperate that we have had to be dependent on the House of Lords to ameliorate the bill. The sum total of all their efforts is very thin gruel and does not go anywhere even halfway near to addressing the Scottish Government’s concerns. 

Earlier in the week Labour peers sat on their hands when it came to amendments seeking to keep state aid a devolved matter and withdrew support for an amendment challenging the UK Government’s plans to engage in direct spending in devolved areas. 

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Brexit is over - now it's Scotland's turn to take back control

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 11th Dec 2020

Newsflash.

Brexit has happened. There is no going back. The current frenetic activity taking place in Brussels and London is only about the terms of our future relationship with the EU. We left the EU on 31 January and entered a transition period where we remain in the single market and customs union without voting rights until midnight on 31 December. The time for seeking an extension of the transition period is long past. The only thing left to be decided is whether we leave the transition period with or without a deal governing the future relationship. 

If there is a deal MPs will be asked to choose between that deal and the prospect of leaving with No Deal. That vote will neither be an endorsement of nor an opportunity to stop Brexit. Brexit is history. Scotland now needs to decide what to do about that. 

As regards Northern Ireland a solution appears to have been found but the details are being kept under wraps. That said, the headline news is one that can be used to Scotland’s advantage. 

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It’s time to unify and focus on how we win independence

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  • First published on: 04th Dec 2020

Fifteen polls in a row have put support for independence at well above 50%. Just think how much higher it could go once we launch a campaign and answer the questions that still trouble soft No voters. 

So it is very important we do not lose sight of the prize. 

The new NEC and officer bearers elected by SNP conference delegates are going to have their hands full. At the same time as ironing out troublesome governance issues we are also going to be very busy overseeing the putting together of a manifesto with policies to win next year’s election and, also, planning for the independence vote that will follow. So let’s pull together and stop tilting at windmills and setting up strawmen to attack. Its time now to play the ball, not the man or the woman.  We are sons and daughters of the Scottish Enlightenment. The best parts of that tradition should be what we take forward as we debate ideas and look at the detail of policy. We cannot have areas of policy that are no-go whether it’s the question of a fall-back strategy if Westminster continues to say no or the importance of protecting womens’ rights as well as the rights of trans people. 

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Stands Scotland where it did?

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 27th Nov 2020

Debate is a good thing. So is democracy. So, I am looking forward to this weekend’s SNP conference. My party has been dealt a strong hand and provided we play it well we should soon be commencing a second independence campaign 

You can tell things are going well for the independence movement when Gordon Brown is wheeled out. During his latest Broontervention he chose to echo the words of Theresa May, saying “now is not the time”.   The trouble is that for Scotland, British politicians telling us not now tends to mean not ever. 

The British Government are pressing ahead with their constitutional priorities, Brexit, the undermining of the devolved settlement and attacks on the rule of law, regardless of the pandemic and its economic fallout. 

So, whilst the First Minister and the Scottish Government have rightly had their primary focus on the Covid crisis, we cannot afford not to counter the British Government’s constitutional agenda.  

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Joanna Cherry QC MP

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