I rise to give my support to this statutory instrument, brought before the House in the name of the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is important because it is about facilitating twin areas of vital national interest: the need for us to continue to support the efficient development of cheap, clean energy generation; and the crying-out-loud need for us to double down on our efforts to stick to hitting our legally binding carbon reduction budgets. Scotland is playing a massive role in giving the UK a lead on clean energy in the G7. That is not just something to take quiet satisfaction from; it is something to shout from the rooftops. In short, that is why I wanted to speak in support of this SI. Yes, it is about a couple of technical amendments, but they point towards a couple of greater things that need to be highlighted.
The first is perhaps a little subtle, but it is significant—it is a political and constitutional point. The SNP in this place and elsewhere—in fact, everywhere that it is given a platform or a microphone—will go on and on about how outrageous everything is and how blatant the UK Government are in their dealings with Scottish interests, saying that they do not listen, they do not co-operate, and so on. My Scottish Conservative and Unionist colleagues in this House and I bear the brunt of this kind of rhetoric through the vile abuse that we receive from fundamentalist nationalists. A Cabinet Secretary in the Scottish Government even called all of us traitors—yes, a Cabinet Secretary.
The truth is a very long way away from that kind of bare-faced politicking. It needs to be said and this SI illustrates it well: there is actually a very good working relationship between the SNP Scottish Government and the Conservative and Unionist UK Government. Privately, the Scottish Government’s Ministers get on with getting on with the UK Government. While things can always be improved upon—as Members will know, I have many ideas about how that might be done—the day-to-day business of co-operating and collaborating is going on, largely insulated from the faux rage and grievance manufacturing of the SNP.
I was talking to an SNP Member the other day—someone I quite like and respect —who said something to the effect that we always disagree on everything. I said, “No, we actually agree on a lot of things a lot of the time.” That Member said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t tell my supporters in my constituency that.” That sums up the SNP attitude for me.