I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the business for next year. May I wish you, Mr Speaker, and all the Members of the House a very merry Christmas? I will not repeat the list given by Valerie Vaz, as I am sure she was very extensive in the list of people she wished a happy Christmas to at this time of year.
It is panto season. I suppose every day is like a pantomime in this House, but this year we have our very own version of “Mother Totally Goosed”, where our hero, with repeated warnings of, “He’s behind you,” is transported to a magical land where her dream of unfettered trade deals and transitional arrangements are grown from the magic Brexit beans. No longer assisted by the pantomime dame from “Aladdin”, our hero climbs bravely into the Brexit unknown.
I am sure we are hoping for a peaceful election in Catalonia today. Last time there was a democratic contest there, ballot boxes were seized and people were assaulted by the state for simply voting. It is almost impossible to believe that political leaders in a modern European democracy are contesting this election from prison or exile simply for desiring a particular political outcome for their country.
May we have a debate about tax, so that we can to try to better understand why England is quickly becoming the highest taxed part of the UK? Whereas in Scotland 70% of taxpayers will have their tax reduced, in England, once council tax is factored in, taxpayers in a band D property face a tax increase of more than £100. Perhaps the Scottish Government could give the Government some advice and assistance on how to design a fair tax system based on the best principles of redistribution.
Lastly, at this time of good will and cheer, let us remember that Scottish Tory MPs are not just for Christmas; we are stuck with them, as they plummet in Scottish Westminster opinion polls. Those cute, doe-eyed stoppers of a second independence referendum can grow up to be that unwanted, unloved, forgotten waste of space with nothing better to do than bark about our Government 500 miles away. So remember people of Scotland: if you are thinking about voting Tory in Scotland, have a look at what they grow up to be when they get down here.