Scottish independence: Why tale of two governments will see Scotland go its own way – Eleanor Bird

There’s little to be proud of when it comes to being British today – the international embarrassment of Brexit and the bumbling (sometimes sleeping) UK Prime Minister, the leader of a party fuelled by naked cronyism and corruption.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 12:30 pm

This is to say nothing of the revelation earlier this year that the UK has had the worst inequality of any country in north-west Europe every year this century where figures have been available. Even rock band British Sea Power has dropped the ‘British’.

Successive Tory governments thatr Scotland didn’t vote for have imposed ideological austerity on Scotland for over a decade, and this year’s autumn budget has done nothing to reverse it. Once again, those on the lowest incomes will be hit hardest, true to Tory form. We can’t say they’re not consistent.

I am particularly disappointed that the new £9.50 an hour national living wage does not apply to under 23s, one of the groups worst affected by the pandemic. And workers in receipt of Universal Credit could lose over 50 per cent of any wage rise to the reduction in benefits.

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In contrast, since 2018 Scotland has been working with Iceland and New Zealand – all countries currently run by women, incidentally – and, latterly, Wales and Finland on the Well-being Economy Governments Group.

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COP26: 'Scottish independence referendum would be distraction from climate crisi...

This was set up to find new ways to not only improve well-being but place it at the heart of economic strategy. It will also form part of the COP26 discussions on how to achieve both social and environmental aims by enabling a just transition to a carbon-zero economy where no one is left behind.

This is the direction of travel – a progressive and pragmatic proposal that prioritises people and quality of life alongside economic wealth, and Scotland’s leading the way.

Boris Johnson's Brexiteer government has cut tax on Champagne while Nicola Sturgeon's prioritises tackling inequality and improving well-being (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Scottish government’s commitment to tackling inequality and enhancing the collective happiness of its citizens stands in stark contrast to the UK government’s cuts to the cost of Champagne and tax breaks for bankers.

I believe it will, eventually, be because of this tale of two governments that we will see Scotland’s well-being increasing and our nation in waiting going its own way.

Eleanor Bird is an SNP councillor for Forth Ward

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