This Week In Scotland – Week 34

SNP/Green coalition

Greens at Holyrood. Despite disagreement on a number of policy areas, there
seems to be broad agreement particularly on climate and gender reform. Both
parties are pushing for the UK Government to withdraw the licences to exploit
the new Cambo oilfield off Shetland, although this is unlikely to happen.

energy, setting up a Scottish Energy Company and a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
But this doesn’t get round the fact that energy is currently a reserved matter
and we have no control over this. In order for Scotland to become zero carbon,
we need to have control over our own resources, and to do that, we need
independence. So we need a referendum. Where are we on that?

<pWell, this coalition also means that the SNP/Greens are now joined at
the hip on independence. And there’s a vague promise that we’ll have a
referendum when the Covid pandemic is over. Guess that means that it’s not
happening for a while. Pete Wishart said last year there would be a referendum
in 2021. We said there wouldn’t be. You’ve got four months, Pete.

Gender Reform

Bad news for Scotland’s women though is their agreement to push ahead within a year with controversial reforms to the Gender Recognition Act to allow anyone to self-identify as their chosen gender (not sex) at will without any transitioning or even a stated intention to transition. ISP feels this leaves a giant loophole in particular for predatory men to self-identify as women and access women’s single-sex spaces such as changing rooms, toilets, refuges, prisons, and access women-only sports, with a corresponding increase in threats to women’s safety.

Women are at much more risk of sexual crime and murder at the hands of men than the other way round, but Police Scotland’s acceptance of male perpetrators identifying themselves as women, even when the crimes are male sexual crimes, means it will appear that women have recently become much more aggressive and even deadly.

Joanna Cherry has suggested an assembly to ‘de-escalate (the) gender debate’. Good on the face of it, but that may well be code for kicking the can down the road. There are two sides in this fight (and it is a fight) and only one can win in the battle for women’s single-sex spaces.

Doctors Pub/Greene King

The Edinburgh licensed premises made headlines over the weekend for its treatment of some of its female patrons, who were later described as ‘terfs’ and who felt so threatened by them ‘throwing them evils’ that they called the police to eject them. Staff also seemed unduly unnerved by stickers in suffragette colours and a T-shirt proclaiming ‘Women Won’t Wheesht’ and later said such women have no place in society, unlike the staff member photographed on Twitter making a vulgar gesture, which is apparently ok.

If bar staff can be so unnerved by a group of women ‘being’ something they object to (not even doing anything) we should fear for them if they are ever confronted by a group of testosterone- and alcohol-fuelled males out on the lash.

Transport

Patrick Harvie hails the possibility of a transport revolution if they enter coalition with the SNP. Rural dwellers will be less enthused. Full dualling of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness is a much needed safety measure, but to Greens this is second to its impact on the climate.

There will be no major new road projects. Bad news for Stranraer and surroundings, which desperately need the A77 to be upgraded on trade and safety grounds. That is without considering the south of Scotland’s road network, which is not fit for purpose, certainly not for trade.

While £300 million will be made available for safe walking and cycling routes, there needs to be a recognition that centralisation has meant many rural dwellers have no alternative to using a private car for work.

Good roads in an integrated transport system are pivotal to encourage local industries to develop. No good increasing trade from Northern Ireland and England if they find a less than world-class road network when they cross into Scotland.

Rent Controls/ Independence

It’s with some disappointment that we note that rent controls have been put back to 2025. Rent controls are desperately needed, particularly with rising food costs and the backlash on jobs from both Covid and Brexit. There’s a lot of new poor out there, who have suddenly found themselves out of work and are struggling to keep their heads above water. This is a policy area within the Scottish Government’s control. It’s a power we should use to help people weather the economic storm created by the Tories. And let’s get that referendum going so that we have control over our economy and our trade, eh?

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