So, the new Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP, has claimed he sees no difference between the SNP and xenophobic, nationalist movements abroad. He went on to describe the SNP as extremists and needing an enemy to thrive.
That’s some claim, especially coming from a Tory MP – who until his ascension to the UK Cabinet was a relative unknown in most of Scotland. When Boris Johnson picked him for his cabinet most pundits and political watchers simply didn’t have a clue who he was and relied on google to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
According to this right wing, millionaire MP the SNP are extremists, but that’s not what their record in government shows. How many extremist parties support policies to create a fairer more equitable society for all, and are particularly welcome to new members of our society – wherever they come from? Since being in power the SNP has introduced policies such as the Baby Box and increased free childcare (all to give a better start in life for new-borns and their families), tuition free higher and further education (placing a priority over the ability to learn rather than the ability to pay) and introducing free prescriptions (ensuring everyone can access the medicines they require without worrying about the cost). The SNP Scottish Government has also supported local businesses (with the small business bonus scheme), improved the Scottish Health Service (so that it is the best performing NHS in the UK) and even spends over £100 million per year offsetting Tory policies which are harming individuals, families and communities all across Scotland.
And all through this period in government the SNP has retained a massive lead in the opinion polls over all other political parties in Scotland.
This is in contrast with the Tory policies which do so much harm. The bedroom tax, universal credit and the rape clause are causing harm. Continued austerity which sees those on benefits demonised and cuts to essential public services have resulted in a massive rise in the use of foodbanks. In fact, the rise of foodbanks – where ordinary people – many already in work – have to turn to charity to help feed themselves and their families is a staggering indictment of the Tories in power. Essentially, they are using state powers to not only demonise the less well off but are effectively starving a section of our people. These are the policies of extremists. Add to this list, the Tory plan to increase the state pension age to 75 – meaning many people will simply die before they receive their pension. And not forgetting the current WASPI fiasco where the UK Government effectively reneged on pension promises to women born in the 1950s. The Tory Government is riddled with right wing zealots happy with the economic turmoil that Brexit will cause as long as it doesn’t harm their own personal wealth. No doubt they’ll be looking to benefit from Brexit as others are forced to foreclose on their businesses or even homes.
If Alister Jack wants to see extremists he should look around the cabinet table where he will see some of the most right-wing politicians ever assembled. A cabinet full of Brexit extremists including one who was sacked for allegedly leaking information from a National Security Council meeting, another who resigned over a row about secret meetings with Israeli politicians and another who ignored civil service advice to continue to grant export licences to Saudi Arabia despite allegations of war crimes in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. Of course, these cabinet meetings are led by someone who has twice been sacked from jobs for lying but I suppose it gives him more time to spend making model buses!
And as for the nonsense about the SNP needing an enemy to thrive – has Mr Jack read any of the election material put out by his own party? Even current election literature for council by elections focus on Ruth Davidson hammering on about the SNP wanting to call an Independence Referendum, with Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP mentioned more times than either Davidson or the Tory candidates. It seems it’s the Tories that need an enemy to thrive – although it might be a bit optimistic to call fighting for 2nd place in Scottish politics, well behind the SNP, as thriving!
Finally, Mr Jack makes some ill-informed comments about the Keep Scotland the Brand campaign, wrongly trying to claim its some sort of SNP campaign. It’s not. It’s an independent non-political campaign supported by people of all political opinion, including the NFU Scotland. Mr Jack seems happy that Scottish farmers and producers are potentially losing out in the battle with major supermarkets downgrading their Scottish provenance to a British standard which has lower animal welfare and environmental standards. For more on the essential Keep Scotland the Brand campaign follow this link – or better still get along to one of their public meetings. This campaign is clearly doing more to stand up for Scotland’s farmers than the current Secretary of State for Scotland.
Alister Jack is just another BritNat politician putting Scotland down to further his own narrow BritNat policies. It will be interesting to see if being made Secretary of State will result in Mr Jack actually taking part in debates in the House of Commons. Prior to this appointment he spoke in only 11 debates in the last year, one of the poorest records of all MPs. But then again if this is the rubbish he is going to come out with then maybe it’s better he remains silent.