Following the UK Tory Government pushing its EU Withdrawal Bill through, despite overwhelming opposition in the Scottish Parliament, there has been a surge in SNP support.
Last Wednesday’s display of contempt, ranging from infantile World Cup jibes of “SNP – Scotland Not Playing” to the more serious call for SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford to consider “suicide” resulted in an increase in SNP membership of 5,085 in only 24 hours.
In a seven-hour session last Tuesday before the EU Withdrawal Bill vote, only 15 minutes were allotted to discuss the impact on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. One Tory Minister filibustered throughout and no Scottish MPs were permitted to speak.
The Bill passed as Labour and Lib Dem MPs abstained, including measures returning to Westminster EU powers that have been under the Scottish Parliament’s remit for 19 years. This prevents Holyrood from legislating in existing devolved areas and allowing UK Ministers to make changes in devolved areas without the Scottish Parliament’s consent for 7 years.
In a further act of contempt for Scotland, the House of Commons Speaker expelled SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP from the Chamber after the latter insisted measures should be taken to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard, prompting a mass walk out of SNP MPs.
The latest developments were the straw that broke the camel’s back for many. Murray Foote, - architect of the so-called ‘Vow’ which appeared on the Daily Record front page two days before the Referendum in 2014 and promised more powers for Scotland if it voted No - came out in support of independence and stated:
“The difficult decisions our independent nation would face and the sacrifices we may need to make do trouble me. But what troubles me more is the prospect of bequeathing to my daughters an isolated Britain governed indefinitely by the progeny of Rees-Mogg and their ilk.
“I have reconciled that independence would herald good and bad. I trust in us to solve the problems that will come our way. If so many other countries can, it is inconceivable that Scotland can’t.”
Kenneth Gibson commented:
“Publicly admitting you have changed your mind is not easy and I welcome Murray Foote and all our new SNP members to the independence cause.
“If anyone was under the illusion that the UK establishment had any intention of living up to ‘The Vow,’ this bubble has now well and truly burst. Not only have the Tories proceeded to strip the Scottish Parliament of powers that are rightfully ours, Labour and Lib Dem MPs didn’t even bother to oppose it.
“It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what Labour and the Lib Dems say at Holyrood, their Westminster colleagues will stand aloof, ultimately helping the Tories. With this power grab we will see much more of that.
“Only one party consistently stands up for Scotland and that is the SNP.”