What's been gawn on in Parliament?
Last week’s Parliament ongoings were noubt short of a stoater. In last Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions (FMQs), Nicola Sturgeon was left chicken cajun after a Tory MSP accused her of being anti-English.
It kicked off after Pauline McNeill asked her to join in calling for anti-Irish racism to be treated with the same seriousness as all other forms of prejudice. You probably saw the video of Rangers fans marching under Central Station bridge singing ‘The famine is over, why don’t you go home’ before the Old Firm derby the other week… McNeill welcomed the arrests that Police Scotland had made in retaliation.
So there goes Nicky in full swing going on about how Scotland “is home” to whoever chooses to live here, only until Tess White blurted out “unless you’re English”.
Sturgeon, fumin, pulled Parliament to a halt to take it up with the Presiding Officer (the official bizzie of FMQs) that the politician “withdraw” and “reflect upon” the comments that were made after the session was over. It was the Parliament’s equivalent of being absolutely clamped.
It’s been blown up in the media since but. It’s got people arguing about how English people are treated in Scotland and has stoked up an already tense Parliamentary Chamber on the topic of independence.
First off, let’s be real for a second. English people do get a pasting up here. It’s absolutely undeniable.
Speaking from experience, a lot of it comes from tribalism in sport and the stereotypes that have been passed on through generations (dating back to when the kilt was taken off Scots). I give some of my pals stick in the same vein. Like when English football fans throw their pints up in the air when the national team score, I’d slate them saying it’s so fake, it’s the worst patter, it’s “so English.”
And there’s not a huge amount of logic behind it to genuinely annoy me. You kinda just screw up your face and something inside you just wants to say ‘ach get tae honestly.’ It’s nothing serious, I just think it stems from long-held stereotypes.
The crucial words here are ‘pals’ and ‘patter’ anaw. I’ve got loads of English mates, I’ve got family down south which I love to bits and its no less stick than what I’d give to a Scottish supporter of a rival football club.
In fact, Scots are notorious for absolutely hounding their own. This has been the case since the days Mary Queen of Scots wis about. Any whiff of Scottish rebellion or war threats against their English rulers in those days wasny taken seriously because of how much Scots kicked lumps out each other. Don’t believe me? Have a gander at Antonia Fraser’s book on her.
Not everyone shares this light-hearted view of it though. End of the day, you can only speak from personal experiences and there’s heavy folk that think it’s erring on the side of proper discrimination. To many, and not unjustifiably, it’s bang out of order.
Sturgeon repeatedly criticises Westminster, Boris Johnson and everything Conservative. As a result, plenty folk don’t think it’s age-old historical events that the ‘anti-English’ hing comes from, but rather language used by politicians such as her to gaslight the issue.
Naturally, this gave the independence debate another heated milestone. Alongside the newly formed coalition with the Green Party, opposition parties have put the Government under serious pressure about their motives for this Parliamentary term.
Another big yin on the agenda was vaccine passports. There’s gonnae be a vote in Parliament this Thursday on whether you’ll need them to get into nightclubs and large-scale events. Something Boris has already put plans in place for this month south of the border.
First off, I’m putting out a call to ban the term ‘anti-vaccers’ that folk have been using. Especially considering how divisive the question of English relations has become; we don’t need any mare negativity towards people’s differing views. Instead, I call these people ‘pro-choicers.’
Why? Well for starters, the term ‘anti-vaccers’ bunches together people that are actually against taking the jab and those that don’t mind the jab but understand why people wouldn’t want to. There are folk out there, and I’d argue a fair few, that are double-jabbed and still preach for those that areny comfortable with it.
Also, why is the negative attachment pinned on those that aren’t comfortable with the vaccine? Ken folk are sick of restrictions and just want to get on with their lives again, and believe me, plenty pro-choicers share this lack of patience, but it isny a natural hing. A politician sayin you need to be injected with this liquid you probably ken hee haw about, and to refuse resulting in taking stuff away like gawn to the football or up the dancing for a bevy… this is a perfectly reasonable thing to be against. And by the way, the same politicians that are in power through people like yourself and I going to the polling stations and voting for them, said they were against it last year.
On the topic of what politicians are saying, it is also reasonable to question the stance each party has taken. Despite putting pressure on Sturgeon at FMQs, Douglas Ross of the Conservatives was unclear on his position … although he does belong to the same party that are enforcing it down south. So, Boris and Nicky, who agree on next to noubt, find themselves aligned on this one.
Against the grain, opposition parties have come out and said they will reject the passports (i.e Labour and Lib Dems). Call me a sceptic if ye want, but there is a pattern of those in charge wanting it done and those whose job it is to put pressure on the Government saying dinnae. Just have a deek at the stance of politicians belonging to the same parties in England and Wales.
We’ll announce the result of this vote as soon as it’s out so keep an eye out.
Other questions at FMQs included:
· FM was asked about issues with staff and stick shortages in retail at the minute. She replied saying the Tories should be “hanging their heads in shame” after Brexit being to blame.
· Jackie Baillie asked about the action plan set out by Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland on long Covid. FM says theres a number of very important points made and she’s looking to discuss this wi them in further detail.
· Ross Greer mentioned the 405 pupils that were absent from school at St Ninian’s in Kirkintilloch last week, asking what support they’d be getting. FM highlighted the changes to contact tracing that have been recently introduced.
If you’re wantin a say on vaccine passports, the debate on English relations or any other hot topics in Scotland the now, Tweet us @untribalnews