Jamie Greene is Shadow Cupboard Secretary for Training and an MSP for West Scotland.
They are saying that January is a time for renewal, new begins and new resolutions. After the 2020 we’ve simply had, that message of renewal is extra essential than ever, however I can consider no one in higher want of wiping the slate clear and changing the damaged document than our very personal First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
I recognize that it’s troublesome for a veteran politician of 30 years to seek out someplace to start out recent, however I would gently recommend to the First Minister that she embraces 2021 with a extra constructive imaginative and prescient of what Scotland can obtain going ahead. As an alternative of limitless re-running of votes and arguments, all of which she sadly misplaced, the chief of Scotland’s authorities must embrace the fact of the brand new world we’re in.
“A No Deal Brexit can be a catastrophic final result for Scotland” – she proclaimed, earlier than ordering her MPs to vote for one within the closing days of 2020. To her, Brexit has all the time been an emotive weapon used to fire up division and additional her grievance with the UK authorities. But additionally one in every of absolute hypocrisy and paradoxical ironies.
She would fortunately drive our fishermen and their fish straight again into the murky seas of the Frequent Fisheries Coverage, and she or he would herd our farmers again behind the fences of the Frequent Agricultural Coverage, if it meant attaining her lifelong political mission of Scottish separation, on the expense of everybody and all the things else. Her swansong maybe, at any value.
Simply final weekend, her personal deputy labelled a second independence referendum “an important precedence” with no trace of irony, apparently unaware of the worldwide pandemic and the mounting Coronavirus dying toll in Scotland.
The reality is that she should be spitting nails on the UK’s orderly managed exit, as a result of the SNP calculated it had extra to realize by pushing for a chaotic departure reasonably than appearing within the nationwide curiosity. The reality is that the SNP was determined for the ultimate week of 2020 to be marked with disruption and for 2021 to start with the very No Deal exit from EU transition that it had spent years condemning with the would possibly of a pulpit preacher.
They talked of the cliff edge ad-infinitum, solely to then vote for one when it got here to the precise crunch: do as I say, not as I do.
Now that Brexit has lastly occurred, and now we have truly left the EU, how on earth can Scotland be reassured that their First Minister will embrace the New Yr and the alternatives that awaits us with the zeitgeist it deserves? The issue for Scotland is that she received’t.
If solely her separatist authorities put such effort into its home coverage because it does its curiosity in repealing referenda, maybe we wouldn’t have seen the demise of our world-class training, our judicial system or the seemingly perpetual decline of our financial system underneath the reigns of the nationalist authorities in St. Andrew’s Home in Edinburgh.
When you concentrate on it, the one individuals who must be afraid of the brand new freedoms now we have outdoors the EU, is the SNP. With extra powers devolved to those islands, they could merely now should ship for Scotland reasonably than simply pointing the finger at Westminster when issues go mistaken.
The bogeyman is neither Europe nor London. The facility and accountability lie firmly in Edinburgh. Be it agricultural coverage, or fishing infrastructure. Be it environmental ambition or funding in infrastructure – the Scottish Authorities has a lot to account for and far to ship.
The stark actuality going through all governments is to guarantee that Brexit truly works for everyone in Scotland, not simply those that voted for it. As an alternative of listening to what Scotland can’t do with out Brussels, I would like our authorities to start out speaking in regards to the alternatives on our doorstep. Our international ambition, should you like.
What a few research overseas scheme with Australia? A monetary companies settlement with the US, so companies in Edinburgh can have unfettered entry to the multi trillion-dollar market in New York? Scotland will all the time be an in depth companion and ally of Europe, however our ambitions should stretch past the continent of the political union now we have simply taken depart of if we’re to succeed.
No person is saying that issues shall be simple, however ambition is core to success.
We start 2021 with a brand new deal, a brand new relationship, and a brand new future, which does require some endurance I admit. However ready is just not a high quality that Sturgeon can depend on, as a result of the political life expectancy of SNP leaders who lose referendums may be very restricted, and she or he has been on the dropping aspect of each referendum she has ever campaigned on.
In contrast to the First Minister, I consider that Scotland can actually thrive outdoors of the constraints of Brussels. I would like these powers of the Brexit bounty repatriated to those shores, so that each nook of the UK can benefit from a worldwide UK. The deal thrashed out with the EU, and accepted by either side, means Scotland will succeed by not solely having tariff-free entry the European Single Market, however by permitting us to learn from new free buying and selling preparations with financial giants such because the US, India, Japan, and Canada. Our whisky, our salmon, our smokies: a worldwide marketplace for a really international Scotland.
It now simply wants a First Minister with the decision, a brand new discovered one if you’ll, to work with and never in opposition to the grain and make successful of our renewed place on the earth.