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How Is Boris Johnson Still Foreign Secretary?

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The Collateral Damage Of Windrush

By No machine-readable author provided. Zleitzen~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson The Tories and many of their supporters in the mainstream media would have us believe that those people of the Windrush generation who have been treated as second class citizens by their own government are some sort of collateral damage: accidental casualties of […]

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What Matters Most To Tories?

Amber Rudd

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson

At the time of writing, Home Secretary Amber Rudd remains in her job as the Windrush scandal fallout continues, and the full extent of the inhuman treatment meted out by the UK Government to its own citizens through deliberately rigid officialdom is becoming more painfully clear by the day.

In normal times, it is difficult to imagine how she could possibly keep a job she is so obviously not on top of. But these are certainly not normal times.

The Guardian has just broken a story with further leaked documents contradicting the Home Secretary’s position that there were no official targets for kicking ‘immigrants’ out the country, and it rather looks like she has been caught lying to Parliament. Human shield for her predecessor as Home Secretary she may be, but if it transpires that she has indeed been misleading parliament, her time will undoubtedly be up, and yet another nail will be hammered into the coffin of this decaying administration.

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Lack of Contact with UK Government, Letting Down Constituents

Cllr Scott Farmer
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Taking Control Of Our Borders

Nigel Farage

By Steven Paterson former MP for Stirling
The omnipresence of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage in our politics is one of those things in life that must be endured, it seems.

I mean, every time one thinks this shallow character has finally shuffled off the political coil, he pops up once again on network news programmes like some oily car salesman, still somehow in business pushing his well-practiced pitch and damning the beastly European Union and the freedom of movement it brings for its citizens.

Perhaps as a society, we have just become inured to his grinning face beaming at us from television screens during an endless series of publicity stunts blaming overbearing Brussels bureaucrats for trying to ban bendy bananas and the likes to the extent that we’ll tolerate his view being necessary on any story on Brexit and taking back control of Britain’s borders.

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Tories Sell Out Scottish Fishing In Brexit Deal

A fishing boat off Jura
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Scotland Pays the Price of Tory Misrule

The city v the fleet

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson

The UK’s media establishment was positively gushing with praise for the UK Government’s victorious Brexit Ministers at the beginning of the week, as Brexit Secretary of State David Davies and the EU27’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier shook hands on a draft transition deal in Brussels.

If one had been inclined to believe the near-universal media hype on Monday, critics like me should have been not only silenced but confounded that, out of the blue, we were suddenly well on the way to the bespoke deal the Brexiters always claimed we’d get. However, predictably enough, once the fanfare had passed and we could have a closer look at the draft agreement that had been signed off and now apparently confirmed, it turns out that the transition deal is not the resounding Tory victory it first appeared.

The most glaring omission, of course, was of any agreement on border arrangements on the island of Ireland. Although the EU27 had previously insisted that no further progress could be made on negotiations until the issue of the future of the Irish border had been resolved, in the event they allowed a fairly modest concession by Mr Davies and his team on this issue to be progress enough for now.

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Stirling MSP Chairs Longest Ever Finance and Constitution Meeting at Holyrood

Bruce Crawford at Holyrood
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The End of the World is Nigh

By Steven Paterson, former MP for Stirling

This week, we should finally get some actual answers on what the Brexit experiment actually means. Prime Minister Theresa May will attend the EU summit, and the crucial phase two of negotiations will be completed, one way or another.

A public which must be completely bored with all things Brexit is going to have to brace itself for yet more torture, but we’re probably on the verge of this becoming real. No longer will we have endless assertions from government ministers of how all this will work and make things inestimably better for us all; instead we’ll face the reality that UK government ministers have been talking through holes in their heads for eighteen months, and that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has no god given entitlement to be treated as anything special.

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Our Westminster Overlords

UK power grab

By Steven Paterson former Stirling MP

In a written statement issued by the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley this week, the first instalment of the billion pound bung of our money to be allocated to Northern Ireland was dished out.

No less than £410 million has been paid from UK Treasury coffers, explicitly part of the confidence and supply arrangement that ensures that the Tory Government remains afloat thanks to paying off the DUP. Although ostensibly this is direct rule from Westminster over devolved issues in Northern Ireland, in reality, the DUP is in complete control of this process thanks to the present arithmetic in the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, the UK Government is seeking to assume direct rule over one of the other devolved legislatures: Holyrood. Although altogether different in scale, at least for the moment, the attack on Scotland’s devolved parliament resulting from the Brexit vote could have far-reaching and unwelcome implications for the future. In short, if this power grab is allowed to proceed and a precedent is set, this could be merely the thin end of the wedge leading to the aggressive reassertion of London supremacy over hitherto devolved competences.

This is why the Scottish Government is entirely correct to fight this Westminster power grab all the way. Since 1999, the principle of consent has been adhered to when it comes to Westminster legislating on devolved areas and agreement with the Scottish Parliament has been required whenever legislation is being considered at Westminster that has crossed into a devolved area.

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