UK is spitting directly in the face of devolution process

It’s been a dark week for Scottish democracy as the UK government continues to outdo itself time and time again.

We started the week with the Tories’ anti-strike legislation, a direct attack on the rights of working people.

I have spoken before about the dangers of the UK falling prey to fascism if we are not careful. There is no denying the history – the slide into authoritarian and anti-democratic politics has always been underpinned by anti-union sentiment. The Tories have destroyed the economy and people have been turning to food banks for over a decade. We now have a generation or two of food bank users in this country.

We have a cost of living crisis that is only expected to get worse for families and in-work poverty continues to rise. The workers are struggling to feed their families and need more pay.

Read more: The Tories are bold and won’t hesitate to invoke Article 35 again

Instead of sitting around the table and negotiating with trade unions, as the Scottish government is doing, this UK government prefers to continue Thatcher’s work and try to destroy these unions.

Doctors, nurses, supermarket and travel workers were the very people who kept our society functioning during a global pandemic, but instead of paying them a living wage, the Tories will happily throw them under the bus. While Scotland’s workers remain in control of Westminster, the very rights we all take for granted will always be up for grabs.

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The Tories are the party that wants to get rid of the Human Rights Act. They want to take us out of the European Convention on Human Rights. They are the party that gave us the rape clause, the party that refuses to give women their pensions and the party that continues to drive families across Scotland into poverty.

If you haven’t read the implications of the Bill of Rights, I urge you to do so.

It’s not just workers’ rights they’re after, as demonstrated by the blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (Scotland). Back in December, the Scottish Parliament passed the GRR Bill by an overwhelming majority with cross-party support from MSPs.

The National: People take part in a demonstration for trans rights outside the UK government office at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh.  The British government took the decision on Monday to block the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, passed by the Scottish

After years of debate, testing and study, it’s finally done. The SNP’s manifesto commitment to Scotland’s trans community has been realised. It was a proud day of progress.

However, the British government has chosen to take this progress, stoke the fire and continue the populist divide-and-conquer tactic through a culture war, because it has clearly run out of ideas.

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The use of the Article 35 order is that the UK government spits directly in the face of the devolution process. This is a power that has never been used in almost 25 years of devolution in Scotland. It is now being used against a bill passed in the Scottish Parliament, by members of all parties, even the Conservatives.

It is a dark day indeed when anyone can truly believe that this UK Conservative government has the best intentions of women and girls at the forefront of its policy decision making unlike the Scottish SNP government.

The UK Government has had years to work with the Scottish Government on this legislation and has not done so. He had years to raise concerns and did not. Instead, it chose the nuclear option of Article 35.

The excuses she gives for blocking the account are as empty as the promises he gives. This bill has no effect on the equality law or on same-sex spaces.

Scotland is trying to align itself with international best practice. The World Health Organization has stated that a medical diagnosis is not necessary for a person to transition. They are not sick, they are trans. Countries across Europe and beyond have long had self-identification. But the government never claimed a conflict with the equality law in those years, so why now? This is about politics instead of actual legislation.

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It sickens me that one of the most vulnerable minority groups in our society is being exploited and abused as a political pawn for this Tory government. The hope given by the Scottish Parliament was suddenly dashed by the Tories in the UK.

Maybe you got caught up in the Twitter storm over the GRR bill, or maybe you feel it’s a niche issue because it doesn’t directly affect you. But make no mistake, the decision to reject a bill that has gone through the democratic process of our elected Scottish Parliament certainly affects you and everyone around you.

If they succeed in overwhelming the Scottish Parliament this time, who knows what else they will do.

The only way forward for Scotland is independence because otherwise we go from 2023 straight to 1984.


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