The extraordinary row about how the Scottish Parliament’s committees and their supposed reputation for independence is being so systematically compromised by
the SNP is more than just a party political spat.
That ministers and their paid hacks are suborning their ever-willing backbench MSPs to dilute or even excise any criticism of the Scottish Government is a negation of democracy. It also speaks volumes about what the Nats think of the parliament that they profess to cherish; all they want from it is total obedience.
Any idea that those committees’ main duty is the detailed scrutiny of proposed legislation and of how government policy works when put into practice – such as the amalgamation of Scotland’s police forces – is clearly a complete anathema to the Nats.
According to the SNP the principal task of the MSPs who make up the membership of these committees – or at least those who hope for advancement in the Nat war machine – is to support government policy; nothing more or less.
David Steel’s statement that the committees were the “jewel in the crown” of the new parliament has never been proved as wide of the mark, if not farcical, as it is now.
The Nationalists’ behaviour over these committees once again paints a vivid portrait about what political life is like in what is now a one-party parliament.
Not only do the Nats have a majority on all parliamentary committees, they have the convenerships on most of the important ones and, not content with that sort of control, they also bagged the speakership, too, in the shape of Tricia Marwick, the presiding officer.
The SNP got a stunning majority in the Holyrood elections three years ago and decided to use its overwhelming numerical authority to steamroller all opposition.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see how the Nats would operate in an independent Scotland if they win the referendum in September; just look at how they behave now.
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