by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Twitter: @RabBrucesSpider

Mastodon: @RabBrucesSpider1@Mastodon.Scot

News has recently broken that the UK Government might attempt to block the impact of the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Their reasoning is that the Bill introduces things which are important for reserved matters such as pensions and benefits, or the issuing of official documents such as passports. If someone has their Birth Certificate altered, the UK Government may not recognise that change.

Wherever you stand on the GRA reform, this episode demonstrates once again the craziness of Scotland’s Government being effectively over-ruled by Westminster. I can fully understand the reasoning behind this because the current constitutional arrangement creates many such farcical situations, and it is, quite frankly, absurd that we should be in this situation at all, no matter which piece of legislation is the subject of the problem.

The constitutional divide also present Scottish voters with a very difficult problem. If you are desperate to see Scotland become a normal, self-governing country, but fundamentally disagree with the GRA, how do you vote? If you refuse to back the SNP in the next General Election, you may harm our chances of becoming a normal country simply because you disagree with the Scottish Government on one (or possibly more) elements of their policies. That’s a tough call to make.

That situation, of course, gives the SNP free rein to do pretty much as it pleases because it knows it can rely on the support of many people who simply want independence from Westminster control, and who see the SNP as the main vehicle for achieving that. Yes, I know there are other parties out there, but none of them have yet made much impression on the electorate, largely due to a virtual media blackout of their policies. In itself, this situation where the SNP know they will have huge support because of one over-arching policy is not good for democracy either. What we need is a situation where we could vote out a Government which introduces unpopular legislation if that is what we want. At the moment, every election is fundamentally founded on the constitutional issue, an issue which is so important that it creates this difficult situation for many voters. Because we know full well that any diminution of the SNP vote in any election will be loudly proclaimed by the Unionist politicians and media as proving that the desire for independence is lessening. Again, this is an unwelcome feature of the current state of Scottish politics. None of this: Westminster’s ability to over-rule the Scottish Government, the SNP’s ability to push through legislation in the knowledge that they will have a great deal of support no matter what they do, nor the predictable responses of the Unionist politicians and their media pals, is good for democracy.

As ever, there is an easy solution. If Scotland becomes a normal country, we can vote for any Party we like, basing our decision on their policies, not on the matter of their stance on the constitution. And every day that passes seems to throw up a situation which makes this more and more obvious. Perhaps that is why polling now shows a majority for Yes. Let’s hope we can turn that into some positive action before much longer.