Cabinet Office (Recruitment)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10 February 2021.

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Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

The First Minister will be aware that the Tory Government at Westminster is advertising jobs in the Cabinet Office’s union unit for which knowledge of Scottish issues is deemed only “desirable”. Does the First Minister agree that that unit is no more than a costly flag-waving exercise and an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I suppose that the United Kingdom Government’s asking for people in whom knowledge of Scotland is “desirable” could be seen as a step in the right direction, because there is no evidence that it has insisted on that at any point in the past.

Does that not say it all—recruiting people to a so-called union unit for which, I understand, it has said that it is not essential to have knowledge of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? Complete uninterest in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland perhaps might just sum up the union perfectly.

The most interesting things about that union unit, as far as I can see, are the fact that, if the Scottish Government had an independence unit in such a way, there would be howls of protest from the Conservatives; and all the effort that is being put into fighting in a referendum campaign that they say is never going to happen. That is a bit odd.

I am saying to people, “Let’s get through Covid”—I am focused right now on getting this country through Covid—“then, post-pandemic, let’s have this debate properly.” In addition, here is an idea: let us allow the people of Scotland to decide their own future.