Cost of living crisis: Tory leadership farce and UK Government's inaction shows why Scotland should choose independence – Christine Grahame MSP

There is only one topic of conversation these days and it’s certainly not the Tory leadership contest though that outcome is awful whoever wins.

It is, of course, the cost of living, with inflation currently predicted to rise even further above 10 per cent (18 per cent anyone?) and energy costs skyrocketing.

No wonder folk are on strike for pay rises. Edinburgh may be knee deep in debris as it is but what else can the workforce do? And there are those who are powerless (no pun intended), on fixed incomes, on benefits, pensioners.

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Well, don’t blame the Scottish Government for starters. Devolution means the Scottish Parliament’s budget is fixed by Westminster which controls energy, income tax, VAT, fuel duty, benefits – you name it.

Meantime, the good ship the SS UK Government sails us rudderless into the recession rocks. Captain Boris keeps going orf on his hols, happily raking in his pay as PM while the crew, his Cabinet, stand on the deck, some bidding for Liz’s favours – gie’s a joab.

Meantime Rishi and Liz preach to their faithful in a world wholly detached from the one we live in. One will be the next Prime Minister, not because you or I voted for them, but because the Tory faithful did our choosing for us. In Scotland, this amounts to a few thousand Tories. Democracy anyone?

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Now, I understand the frustration of demonstrators in Perth recently as the Tory faithful trooped in for the duelling pair, but I absolutely condemn threats and abuse.

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Liz Truss is the favourite to become the next Conservative party leader (Picture: Carlos Jasso/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Why on Earth the protestors did not wave banners reminding us of the escalating energy costs, the high rate of inflation, cuts to Universal Credit, the rape clause, millions wasted on useless PPE, is a mystery. Much more pertinent than nasty slogans.

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It makes not one whit of difference whether it’s Truss or Sunak. Yet again this crisis and the lack of democracy in GB has thrown into focus the failure of the UK political system and the stark limitations of devolution.

For a long time, it has been evident that the UK parliament should have been recalled as economic powers lie there. There should have been an emergency budget. There should have been a bigger windfall tax on the energy companies and energy prices should have been capped at the current level. None of this has happened.

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Then there is the elephant in the room, Brexit. Why is it that we have the worst level of inflation of the G8 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA (excepting Russia, waging a cruel war on Ukraine)?

All have rising energy costs. Keep that quiet at UK HQ don’t they? Well, there is the effect of Brexit which, according to independent experts, is costing the UK billions. No Brexit bonus, just Brexit bourach.

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Scotland voted 62 per cent Remain, generates the equivalent of its total electricity demand from renewables, and voted 45 SNP MPs to six Tory. Where is democracy? There’s a lesson there. So don’t allow UK plc to lay the blame anywhere but at its door.

Is the time right for a referendum to determine if an independent Scotland can do better? You bet it is.

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