Scottish independence will let us turn page on Boris- Lorna Slater

Boris Johnson’s resignation came as a relief. It followed months of scandals and a career that had been characterised by mishaps, mistruths and lies.

Lorna Slater is a Lothian Green MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
Lorna Slater is a Lothian Green MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

He said that he would ‘get Brexit done’ with no border checks or extra bureaucracy and lower fuel bills for everyone. Instead, he has delivered a devastating deal that has removed the right to work, travel and study across Europe and has seen prices skyrocketing while exporters have been hammered.

He said that he would unite the country and bring people together, but instead he has offered acrimony and division. He told us that climate change was “the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced” but has continued to push for more oil and gas drilling in the North Sea.

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He didn’t do any of this on his own. He did it with the overwhelming backing of his parliamentary colleagues and his party. They enabled all of his lying, his lawbreaking, and his incompetence. They were the ones who backed his terrible Brexit deal and allowed him to cut universal credit by £1000 a year while spending huge sums on wasteful projects and crony contracts.

Those same Tory MPs may be distancing themselves from him now, but for years they cheered him on and stood by him. They did so even though they must have known that he was totally unfit to be an MP let alone the Prime Minister.

Over the weeks ahead, it will be the same MPs and Tory party members who landed us with Boris Johnson who will decide our next Prime Minister.

Some of the possible successors fill me with dread. We can be sure that whoever they choose will want to inflict the same punishing cuts and austerity, the same environmental vandalism and the same cruel hostile environment policies that have been used against refugees and migrant communities.

With Greens in government we are doing everything we can to mitigate the damage that is being done from Downing Street and to follow a different path. That is why we have doubled Scottish Child Payments for every eligible child, introduced free bus travel for everyone under 22 and secured record investment in renewable energy, wildlife, nature, recycling and active travel.

These are all vitally important changes and are making a big difference. They are improving people’s lives at a time when Westminster is ignoring them. They have been delivered despite the limitations and constraints of devolution and despite the real-terms cut that the UK Government has made to the Scottish Parliament budget.

Next year’s referendum offers us a crucial opportunity to build on the progress we have made and to secure a better future. The people of Scotland never voted for Boris Johnson or his party, and we never voted for their ruinous Brexit.

Independence will give us the chance to turn the page and put our future in our own hands. It will allow us to do things differently and ensure that we get no more unaccountable and disastrous Tory governments.

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After three years of chaos, the party may finally be over for Boris Johnson. But the problem is much bigger than one man. I will be delighted when he leaves Downing Street for the last time. But it is not just the Prime Minister that I want to see the back of, it is also the policies and the worldview that he represents.

Lorna Slater is a Lothian Green MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity