Liz Truss says Scotland 'deserves better' than Sturgeon
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In a self-congratulatory press release to mark a year since the SNP, led by Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish Greens, co-led by Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, it praised its own accomplishments and set out its plans for the future. But while the costs and energy crises were mentioned in the leaders’ comments, they apparently did not think them pressing enough to mention in their priorities for the devolved Government.
The coalition wrote that it would be “primarily focused on four key tasks” going forward.
These were “the development of the prospectus for an independent Scotland and the delivery of a referendum”, as well as reducing child poverty, addressing the climate crisis and bolstering public services following the pandemic.
Ms Sturgeon has touted holding a “consultative” – i.e. non-binding – referendum on Scottish independence if the UK’s Supreme Court rules that her Government has no authority to hold a full vote.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest refusal to grant a referendum, telling the SNP leader: “As our country faces unprecedented challenges at home and abroad, I cannot agree that now is a time to revisit a question, which was clearly answered by the people of Scotland in 2014.”
Scots voted 55 to 45 percent in favour of remaining a part of the UK previously, in what the SNP described at the time as a “once in a generation” vote. Unsatisfied with the result, Ms Sturgeon is now hell-bent on holding another.
But there are fears that any non-binding referendum would see a larger turnout of nationalists, stoking the flames for a full vote.
Writing in the Times recently, Ciaran Martin, the Prime Minister’s negotiator ahead of the 2014 poll, noted: “The legal fact is that, for now, there is no lawful, democratic path to a meaningful, binding referendum on Scottish independence and no way of forcing one from an immovable Westminster.”
He added: “The only thing that does matter is that Scotland cannot become an independent country without the acquiescence of the British state, and at present that acquiescence is not forthcoming.”
Ms Sturgeon said that if the Supreme Court did not rule in her favour, the SNP would stand in the next election on the single issue of independence, making it a “de facto” referendum.
In Wednesday’s release to mark the first year of the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and the Greens, the First Minister said: “The conflict in Ukraine and the rising cost of living crisis have profoundly impacted everyone’s lives.
“However, the stable and collaborative Government provided by the Agreement has helped to deliver immediate action in the face of these challenges, including supporting those displaced from Ukraine and using the powers that Ministers have to address the cost of living crisis.”
The Scottish Government has recently touted a £3billion package of support for those feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis.
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But the Scottish Parliament’s own research unit debunked this, suggesting the real package was closer to £490million. Measures included in the larger figure dated as far back as policies from 2014.
The Scottish Government was also recently panned for keeping Ukrainian refugees on a cruise ship, which was found to have less living space per person than the average Scottish prison cell.
Despite mentioning a planned £1.8billion investment in energy infrastructure with the aim of cutting energy bills over the next decade, the release made no mention of help for those suffering from soaring bills now.
Reacting to the statement, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, told the Scottish Daily Express: “I’m sure we’re all rolling our eyes at the SNP and Greens continuing to bang their drum about breaking up the UK, even on the day when inflation sky-rocketed.
“It’s unbelievably tone-deaf.”
Meanwhile, Neil Bibby, Scottish Labour’s transport and parliamentary business spokesperson, responded: “This self-congratulatory nonsense shows how out-of-touch these two parties are.
“All this hopeless team has delivered is more failure, but that is just brushed under the carpet in favour of their all-consuming constitutional obsession.”
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