Posted on April 13th, 2023
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
To the surprise of nobody at all, Humza yousaf’s decision to challenge the use of a section 35 Order by the UK Government has stoked up all the debate about Trans rights once again. It is, unfortunately, the role of the UK media in Scotland to bash the SNP as often and as hard as possible, and by conflating concepts and ideas, they are using this as a very large stick.
There are a couple of aspects to this. As regards trans rights, I don’t believe anyone has a genuine problem with trans people being afforded as much assistance as possible to lead their chosen lives. What most people who object to the legislation are concerned about is predatory males using the legislation for their own ends. Those are two very separate concepts, but the media has done a good job of stoking up argument and confrontation. This is made easy for them because there are genuine concerns on both sides. We have seen time and time again that predatory males will take any opportunity to gain access to vulnerable people. Whether it be in care homes, in youth sports teams or in religious organisations, stories of abuse have been all too common. Establishing protections while also improving the lot of trans people is a delicate balancing act and the whole thing needs rather more sensible debate than it is currently receiving.
The main issue, though, does not rely on this particular piece of legislation. The issue is that Westminster has blocked Scottish democracy in an autocratic and high-handed manner, offering no real justification, and certainly not offering any tangible solutions. For this reason, I think the Scottish Government is right in its decision to challenge the use of Section 35. I am sure the Supreme Court will find against them, ruling in favour of Westminster as it usually does in such cases. In legal terms, the Scottish Government does not seem to have much in its favour in this situation, and many will argue that pursuing Court action is a waste of money.
However, I think it is a necessary action because when the Supreme Court inevitably rules against the Scottish Parliament’s ability to pass laws, then the world will see once again that Scotland does not have the most powerful devolved Government in the world. We will see Westminster over-ruling our Parliament on a whim, using this legislation because it is high profile. But the blocking is purely political and we should be outraged no matter what the subject of the legislation is. Westminster is simply showing Scots that the UK is in charge. Let’s hope that the reaction of most in Scotland will be to appreciate just what that tells us about the current constitutional situation. The balance is heavily weighted against Scotland, and once a successful Section 35 enforcement has been made, you can be sure they will do it again and again. We are often told that we need to stand up to bullies, and I applaud Humza Yousaf for taking this stance. As I said, I don’t think he will succeed, but that is not the point. If Westminster can use this proposed legislation to make a political point, then the Scottish Government, on behalf of our Parliament which passed the legislation with the approval of MSPs from all Parties, can surely do the same.