Brexit: Why we need an election when the timing’s right – Christine Grahame

We’ll go to the country once we get an extension to the October 31 deadline, and then Scotland can choose its own path, writes Christine Grahame

Friday, 27th September 2019, 6:00 am
Boris Johnson and his fellow Old Etonians are trampling roughshod over democracy, says Christine Grahame. Picture: AFP/Getty
Boris Johnson and his fellow Old Etonians are trampling roughshod over democracy, says Christine Grahame. Picture: AFP/Getty

I don’t usually write heavy duty political pieces in my column but this is time for the exception rather than the rule

The fact that the case led by Joanna Cherry MP had success in the Inner House of the Court of Session (Scotland’s highest civil court) has been upheld by the Supreme Court the highest UK court speaks loud for Scots law and our legal system.What the Supreme court unanimously pronounced was that Boris Johson’prorgation was unlawful and void and of no effect from the start.

By the time you read this I have no doubt matters will have moved on leaps and bounds.

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Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

The UK parliament will be sitting and perhaps (though I think not) Boris Johson will have resigned. What we need therefore (I hear you groan) is a general election sooner rather than later but this cannot take place until there has been an extension to the October 31 deadline for Brexit. Why? Because in all this hiatus there cannot be a no-deal Brexit by default. That is if there is no-deal or no government on October 31sto make a deal then the default position is Brexit with no-deal.

Now that all seems very technical but it is anything but. No-deal means the loss of hundreds of thousands of Scottish jobs, difficulties in the supply of medicines, let alone fresh fruit and veg. Of course Scotland voted all those three years ago 62 per cent Remain and that was before the full implications of Boris’s Brexit became crystal clear.

Now there are lessons in all this for Scotland. We voted Remain and the Supreme Court judgement upheld a Scottish appeal and commented that the UK government should not have engaged in emergency procedure without the consent of Scottish ministers. To quote from this historic judgement on the prorogation: “The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”

Now I know you(and me too) are pretty sick of elections but this matters. It matters to you, your children and your grandchildren. It matters that Scotland’s voice has been ignored that is until the Inner House judgement and boy did that cause an earthquake.

Let’s be blunt, the UK system of government is broken, the British state has run out of steam and at long last Scotland is at a crossroads. Do we take the same worn path having decisions on major issues taken against our wishes, bend to the will of UK governments we do not vote for and watch old Etonians ride roughshod over democracy or do we chose our own path?

We have a mature parliament which has worked throughout the Brexit turmoil, passing laws, holding the First Minister and Ministers to account, delivering for Scotland. It has mitigated against the worst of Tory cuts: the Bedroom Tax, free school meals, free prescriptions, free personal care and no tuition fees for starters. It appears that Labour (UK version)is now thinking of offering free prescriptions in England in its forthcoming manifesto. This parliament got there years ago.

You know, if we take more of this, more of this chaos, more of this austerity, more of this blatant incompetence and self-serving frankly we get what some deserve and did not and I repeat, did not vote for. Time for grasping our independence.

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale