So it’s the start of a New Year and let’s hope we can press the political “restart” button at Westminster given the shambolic shenanigans that marked the end of last year. The behaviour of so-called honourable Members has been an utter disgrace – personal vitriol and abuse distracting from the serious work needing done. This simply would not be tolerated at Holyrood or in the modern chambers of most of our European neighbours, who watch what’s happening in the UK with a mixture of amusement, disbelief and disdain.
No wonder a recent Girl Guide survey found girls over 11 were put off going into a job in politics – we will never close the gender gap when all people see is that boorish bear-pit.
I hope that this year both the Conservatives and Labour will begin to get their acts together and put the people’s interests before those of their parties. Imagine what could be achieved if we had a UK Government that was actually prepared to listen and act on the real concerns being raised about its Brexit deal instead of pandering to xenophobic elements in their party. It would be good to see an official Opposition actually prepared to politically oppose rather than posture and pretend while muttering insults. By refusing to back the cross party vote of No Confidence in the UK government, Labour made it clear they are content to act as midwives to this self-destructive Brexit plan, while murmuring quietly from the sidelines that it’s all the Tories’ fault.
As the deadline for leaving the EU draws closer, people are understandably worried, frustrated and desperate for some hope that things can be better than this – we need politicians from all sides to step up to the plate. The SNP wants Scotland to remain in the EU, as the country clearly voted to do, but protecting our membership of the single market and customs union would be essential for any compromise deal. We back a second referendum to break the UK impasse, particularly given the dark money, dodgy dealings and downright untruths that tainted the first result.
I hope the Tories and Labour have made a few resolutions for 2019. I hope they have resolved to listen to people and take heed of the evidence being presented to them before firing ahead recklessly with policies that will damage our rights and our jobs. I also hope they have resolved to be that wee bit kinder and more respectful in the manner in which this debate is conducted.
Deidre Brock is the SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith