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MP Quizzed by Auchmuty High Students

All eyes will be on the UK Supreme Court this week as they announce their decision in a case brought by the Scottish Government to confirm whether they have full powers to hold an Independence Referendum without Westminster’s permission. It says a lot about the ridiculous makeup of the UK that this question even needs to be asked. Sovereignty over Scotland is vested in the people of Scotland. The purpose of our political system is to produce parliaments and governments that put that sovereignty into practice. Since the 2014 Referendum every election in Scotland has been won by parties supporting another Referendum. Last year we elected more pro Referendum MSPs than ever before.

Whatever the Supreme Court’s decision (and you’ll probably know what it is before you read this) our elected national government has made it clear they will find a way to give the people of Scotland the chance to decide whether out future lies with the Tories in Westminster or with an independent government that Scotland elects. A big part of the reason the Tories and their allies are so desperate to prevent a referendum is that they know none of the arguments they used in 2014 has any credibility in 2022.

Last week saw yet another chancellor of the exchequer announcing a budget that will bring poverty and financial hardship to millions of people. Most working people will see their tax going up, their wages fall against inflation, and another huge rise in domestic fuel bills next year. There wasn’t much joy either for small businesses that have been hanging on by their fingertips for years. And despite the chancellor’s attempts to conceal it, funding for essential public services is being cut in real terms. And while it’s good news that pensions and benefits won’t fall any further behind inflation, hidden deep in the small print there are plans to make it harder people of working age to claim benefits in the first place. And of course, there’s not a penny of compensation for the 3.8 million WASPI women who had part of their pension entitlement stolen from them.

There’s no doubt that the consequences of covid and of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine have affected economies around the world but that doesn’t explain why the UK has been hit harder than any comparable economy. Things have been made much worse by Brexit.

It was wonderful to be able to get back into some of our local schools for the first time since the start of the pandemic. I met two groups of Modern Studies students at Auchmuty High School to talk about my work as an MP. The questions they asked afterwards showed that these young people have a very keen interest in current affairs, and they presented their views politely and firmly. The next day I was privileged to attend the Remembrance Day service in Levenmouth Academy and lay a wreath in honour of former pupils and staff from the old Buckhaven High School who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

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