Cometh the hour, cometh the man; according to online sources, this phrase means, ‘when a time of need arises, a man to do this job will appear’, truth be told it is more to do with cricket and with 2 wickets standing and 12 runs required, the phrase was uttered by English bowler Cliff Gladwin. However, I know nothing of cricket, nor do I want to.
Let me take you back a few months to the ill-fated General Election, and the shock of losing SNP’s Angus Robertson. I distinctly remember my jaw dropping at the sheer stupidity of those in Moray who voted for the then part-time referee Douglas Ross. That said, I now feel they have done us a great big favour in replacing one formidable leader with a much more formidable leader down in Westminster.
These past few weeks have seen SNP-MP Ian Blackford come out from the shadows of Angus Roberson whose shoes he more than fills. Standing head and shoulders above the opposition on all sides he has delivered for the people of Scotland. Calling out the Tories, Lib Dems and the Labour Party. Playing Westminster at its own game and getting under the skin of, not only English politicians but the mainstream media also; especially when the English MP’s were kept in the chamber when they could have been watching England’s World Cup match – oh what a shame. That was not the fault of the SNP however, that was the fault of those who brought the debate in the first place.
Post walkout, there has been a significant change from within the SNP ranks, no longer are they simply sitting quietly listening to the guffawing, the ridiculing, and sheer pompous arrogance of the Tories. They have grown in stature and are now showing their teeth, heckles up, snarling; an old dog bites sore’ to coin a phrase.
“Mr Speaker, why is it that the Tory Government thinks it can do whatever it wants to Scotland and get away with it? Many in Scotland are outraged that the Conservative Government had argued that times are not normal and that allows them to change the devolution settlement?”
Those were the opening remarks by Ian Blackford during the debate on the Claim of Right – why indeed? Could it be that they don’t see Scotland as an equal partner? Why would they when the Secretary of State for Scotland doesn’t see Scotland as being an equal partner; just merely part of the United Kingdom. The utter lack of respect for our elected representatives coming from Scottish Tory MP’s seated on the benches opposite were in full view of the television cameras, believing they were shielded from view as, not many people would be watching. Well we were and those who were not, will soon be enlightened as to what exactly went on; the laughing, jeering, sneering and shaking of heads, so much so that Blackford had to remind them the people in Scotland would be watching.
“…the reason that we have called this debate in our opposition time today is the real anger that the people in Scotland feel about what has taken place. That the Parliament that Scotland voted for in the referendum in 1997 is being attacked that our rights are being attacked by a Conservative Government backed by their so called Scottish Tory friends, that went through the lobby to take powers away from the Scottish Parliament, we’re having this debate tonight, let’s look around us, I can see my colleagues from the SNP, and to be fair, I can see colleagues from the Liberal Democrats, and the Labour MP’s from Scotland that are here as well; where is the rest of the house? Where are the Conservative MP’s that voted the measures through, they can’t even be bothered to turn up to defend what the Conservatives done to Scotland; that’s the reality.”
That is the reality, Blackford is correct in what he states; that is the contempt upon which Scotland is held, however, this debate showed just how far the Scottish National Party have come, as much as the Conservatives and others tried to dominate, by their constant standing and calling for Blackford to give way they were dismissed by a dismissive wave of the hand and told in no uncertain terms to ‘sit down’ Tories Stephen Kerr and The Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell receiving the wrath of Blackford on more than one occasion. The Tories and their counterparts on the benches opposite had not come to the chamber to listen, they had no interest in the Claim of Right, their soul interest was to disturb, deride and agitate the debate. They did not want to listen to Blackford, they had an agenda of their own, that said, those of us watching were there to listen, to acknowledge that we as citizens of Scotland are sovereign as Blackford so eloquently put.
“The Claim of Right acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish People to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and the obligation on elected representatives and all their actions and deliberations. The interests of the people of Scotland shall be paramount. The claim of right is not simply a historical document but it is a fundamental principle that underpins the democracy and constitution of the framework of Scotland. The 1989 Claim function declaration of intent of the sovereignty of the Scottish People, it sets the constitutional Conversion which ten years later saw the people vote in a referendum for the reestablishment of a Scottish Parliament, a parliament that this UK Government now seeks to undermine and ignore.”
Blackford went onto remind the Conservatives, Lib Dems, and Labour, that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is a significant change in circumstances…such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will and given events of 2016 there is no question with regards to the legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to consider the question of independence again now that everything had changed…Blackford finished his speech by urging that the wishes of the people of Scotland and vote to recognise the Claim of Right of the Scottish people, “our sovereignty, Scotland’s sovereignty, must and will be respected.”
That remains to be seen given we have seen such contempt shown for the Scottish people, our elected representatives and I include the Tories in this, they are not respected by their peers, they are simply tolerated and used. One thing has emerged throughout all of this, something has changed in Westminster, the SNP have grown tougher, not as tolerant; they have a great leader down there, a formidable man. As much as I was shocked and heartbroken to see Angus Robertson lose his seat; I am pleased to see such a man fill his shoes, Blackford really is living up to the phrase, cometh the hour, cometh the man.