Political Roundup – Hold my coat

Sometimes Scottish politics simply says “hold my coat” to others when it comes to intrigue and events.  And the last couple of weeks has certainly fallen into that bracket.  A First Minister who dumps their partners in Government, then wonders why they are so upset, a previously spurned MSP holding the balance of power in Parliament, opposition parties who smell blood in the water and revert to their shark basic instinct even if it is bad for them in the long term.

It all got a bit bonkers at the end of April early May in Scotland.  For us political geeks it is all good fun and we love to watch and comment, with WhatsApp groups going crazy and X conspiracy theories rife.  We love it, but the country – not so much.

But, when someone exits the political stage, something really interesting happens, everyone develops a grace and compassion that is rarely seen in politics.  People start being nice to each other and leaving the stage with a graciousness that has been previously unseen.  Gone are the jibes across the Parliamentary chamber, and now everyone is saying that they were best buds really and how much respect they actually hold for each other.

If only…….

Imagine if we could have that kind of kindness, respect, graciousness and compassion all year round.  Imagine if our opposition leaders stood up every week in Parliament and told each other how much they actually respect the individual before them.  Imagine if the First Minister finished every FMQs by shaking the hands of the opposition leaders.

Not as much fun for us political geeks but good for the country…. Probably.

Our Scottish Parliament works best when it is a minority Government who has to talk to others to get laws through.  The committee system works better, and the legislation that is passed is more robust, because it is based on lots of people coming together with opposing views to work out what will work, and how to implement it.

Our committees no longer have the governing parties bias that they now have, so they actually scrutinise legislation and are willing to say when something doesn’t make sense without worrying about the impact on their careers.

The last month in Parliament has seen some pretty significant pieces of legislation beginning its progress, for example the abortion buffer zones legislation that passed almost unanimously its first stage in the Parliament.  There are concerns about how it will be enacted and that process can now be much more robust with compromise and nuance built in as all MSPs will now have the opportunity to table amendments and win if they gather support from others.

The Assisted Dying Bill was also introduced and will now go to the Health Committee for consideration.  This Bill has a free vote from all the parties and will need extremely robust scrutiny, if it passes Stage 1, in order to ensure that it has the safeguards required (we don’t think that is possible). More information to follow on this one.

There is a Bill to introduce a Disability Commissioner Bill.  A Bill to abolish juryless trials for rape victims which is very controversial, The National Care Service Bill that will have implications for care homes and children’s social work services and a Land Reform Bill.  All of these will now need cross party support to be passed and so all will have to be debated, agreed and compromises made.  This is good for our Parliament.

We can only pray that the graciousness will continue, strange things can happen when collaboration is required.

If you would like more information about any of these Bills going through Parliament, or help in how to respond please do let me know.  shona@logosscotland.org