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Steven Paterson

Shall There Be A Scottish Parliament?

Scottish Parliament

By Steven Paterson, former MP for Stirling

The sheer contempt in which Scotland, its MPs and the Scottish Parliament are held by the Westminster establishment was laid bare this week when House of Lords amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill were debated in the House of Commons.

The delirious shower of sneering, braying, and giggling Tories inhabiting the Government benches – including those representing Scottish constituencies – savoured the delicious moment that Westminster’s power grab was completed against Scotland’s Parliament. The “debate” (if indeed the English language can forgive me calling it thus) was relegated to the very end of the day’s proceedings thanks to the Government’s Programme Motion setting out the timetable, order and limit on debates, meaning there were a mere nineteen minutes remaining of parliamentary time to discuss the Tory attack on Scottish devolution.

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DSG Operation in MOD Forthside

An open letter by SNP Councillor Alison Laurie
Last Thursday was an upsetting day for the many employees and their families who have experienced a redundancy as a result of Babcock closing their DSG operation in MOD Forthside. In a bitter irony, this was done on the same day as Heads of Terms for the Stirling City region deal were signed just along the road at the Engine Shed.

The service employed 56 people. These were highly skilled jobs, and almost 50 of them have now been made redundant. 

Yes, this was a decision made by Babcock Intl – a private company looking to further profits – but it came as the result of decisions made by the Tory Government to decommission MOD Forthside. 

In a press release, dated 7 September 2017, Stirling’s Tory MP Stephen Kerr boasted that he was “saving our jobs at Forthside”. 

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Paying a High Price for the DUP

By Steven Paterson former MP for Stirling

It is almost a year since the Westminster General Election which saw the DUP sweep to an unprecedented level of power and influence through parliamentary arithmetic which means they effectively own the Tory UK Government. The continued support of their ten MPs in the House of Commons is the single reason Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagginggovernment can continue to survive week after tortured week

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The Many Faces of Unionism

The Union flag

By Former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson

This week’s Unionist conference in London drew together the big hitters of the Better Together world: Tory; Labour; and of course, DUP. Keynote speeches were delivered by Ruth Davidson, Michael Gove, Arlene Foster, Brandon Lewis, Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and Theresa Villiers, as the Union and Unionism past, present and future were examined.

The tone was exactly what you’d expect. Generous dollops of gushing praise for the 300 year old Union which, it was alleged, has served us all so well for all this time, and predictable condemnation for the SNP for not taking the No vote in 2014 as an all-time, all-circumstances rejection of Scottish self-government forever and ever and ever.

Ruth Davidson stated a somewhat strange belief that talk of independence only started in 2007 – I’m sure I heard the concept mentioned before that – then went on to peddle the myth that the devolved Scottish Parliament she sits in is somehow an “autonomous and powerful parliament for Scotland”. This ridiculous falsehood at the very time her Tory colleagues at Westminster are ignoring the Scottish Parliament’s democratic vote to resist the stripping back of the powers it has by Westminster in response to a Brexit Scotland didn’t vote for but is being dragged towards anyway.

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Co-operation and Partnership, Westminster-Style

The Scotland Office - time to go! Image By Paul the Archivist [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson Perhaps Stirling’s unpredictable Tory MP Stephen Kerr was overcome and swelling with Britannic pride this week owing to wall to wall and unavoidable coverage of a royal wedding. Or maybe he just took a wee turn in the hot weather. Whatever the reason […]

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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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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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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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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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