Inside Holyrood: Scotland deserves better than the SNP and Greens 'shamefully politicising legal judgements and playing games to stir up grievances' with the rest of the UK
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MSP Edward Mountain argues that the bill to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots Law was 'deliberately' drafted to provoke a confrontation with Westminster.
Last month the Queen officially opened the Scottish Parliament for its sixth session.
Over the previous five sessions we have seen Holyrood grow to become the most powerful devolved legislature in the world with key responsibilities for health, education, transport, justice, infrastructure and many more portfolio areas.
I feel it is an immense privilege to represent constituents in a parliament which I know can make far-reaching and life-changing differences to people’s lives.
That’s why it is all the more disappointing that the current SNP-Green government appears more interested in stirring up grievances than governing responsibly.
I am deeply concerned that the cynical games and ploys of the coalition are thwarting Holyrood from reaching its full potential.
Indeed, the Supreme Court’s recent judgment on the bill to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots Law is a case in point.
All parties in Holyrood supported this bill, however it was apparent that the legislation had been drafted in terms which deliberately exceeded the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
The consequent delay to the progress of this bill is now a matter of law. Yet that hasn’t stopped the SNP and Greens shamefully politicising the judgment and playing games to stir up grievances with the rest of the UK. Quite frankly, Scotland deserves better than this.
When it comes to the powers that SNP-Green ministers do have, they repeatedly avoid taking responsibility by blaming all the problems which are of their own making on either Westminster or Brexit.
The First Minister is guilty of this more than most. For example, I raised with her the issue of mental health recruitment which, as NHS Highland explained to me, have arisen due to a complex mix of local challenges.
What Highlanders need to hear from the First Minister is what action the Scottish Government is taking to offer more support to NHS Highland when it comes to housing, career development and pay scales for rural mental health practitioners.
Instead, the First Minister gave no constructive answers and yet again blamed everything on Brexit. Such an insensitive response ignores the key issues and gives cold comfort to families and friends who have lost loved ones to the mental health crisis.
The lack of meaningful answers is setting a truly dismal precedent.
I believe there’s more to politics than constitutional battles and be in no doubt I will continue to hold the Scottish Government to account on the issues that matter most to those in the Highlands and Islands.