Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
In the First Minister’s statement on the programme for government on 3 September, she made it clear that we will seek agreement from the United Kingdom Government to legislation that puts beyond doubt the ability of this Parliament to hold a referendum on independence. The exact date will be notified to Parliament when it is decided on.
Time and again in this chamber we hear reports of schools, hospitals and the police service continuing to suffer under the Scottish National Party Government. That shows what happens when the obsession with independence referendums takes the Government’s eye off the ball. When will the cabinet secretary accept that the Scottish Government needs to deal with issues that really matter to the people of Scotland, rather than engaging in endless constitutional grandstanding? [
That just proves that Mr Whittle should not believe everything that he hears. As we heard from John Swinney yesterday, the education service is making significant progress. I hope that Mr Whittle will read the report on that—[
.]—as opposed to accepting the catcalls and shouts of members who are sitting around him. The health service is doing well and continues to have high patient satisfaction.
I say to Mr Whittle that, for me, constitutional obsession would be defined by Brexit, as pursued by his party in government. It has cost Scotland millions, and it is costing the UK billions. Nothing has happened in a legislative sense, and we are being impoverished for no good reason. I suggest that Mr Whittle focus on that and not on the myths that he is trying to peddle about the many achievements of the SNP Government.
That is one of the defining issues of the current electoral contest. Who trusts the people of Scotland to speak and to make their own decisions? Quite clearly, no other party in this chamber believes that the people of Scotland should be allowed either to speak or to change their mind. Jackson Carlaw, the acting leader of the Scottish Conservatives—more “acting” than “leader”—has said that he has changed his mind on the issue of leaving the European Union, but the people of Scotland are not allowed to change their mind on any subject. The situation is clearly intolerable and impossible. Listening to the people of Scotland will be our priority. If only other politicians would adopt that democratic imperative.