GETTING away is good for a bit of perspective.

I’ve been on holiday from Westminster and working in The National’s Glasgow office this week. It helps from going native in our southern outpost of the Commons press gallery.

You notice things you might not have done if you’re stuck in the fray.

This week, I was struck by two odd wee moments where Holyrood and Westminster mirrored one another almost perfectly.

Firstly, there was Wednesday’s debate in the Commons on amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill, currently winding its way through Parliament. You can be forgiven for not following every twist and turn of this riveting piece of work.

But what you might find interesting is Tory MP for Carshalton and Wallington Elliot Colburn’s amendment. It would have introduced an aggravating component to offences if they were committed based on a person’s protected characteristics. These include transgender identity.

Does that sound familiar? That’s because it was a key and controversial component of the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Act.

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It was backed by Colburn’s Tory colleague Robert Neill and Labour shadow justice minister Alex Cunningham while junior justice minister Laura Farris praised her colleague’s “sensitive and thoughtful” contribution.

She even invited Colburn to “come and work with me on it” further.  

But it never went to a vote, which is a shame because it would have been interesting to see if Douglas Ross (below) would have backed it after spending a good portion of this year arguing against it in Holyrood.

The National: Douglas Ross

Speaking of Ross, his contribution in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday was interesting.

That morning, The Herald’s front page revealed that Scotland’s prisons were fit to burst and that it was likely prisoners were going to need to be released early.

Sure enough, it was confirmed later on Thursday that the Scottish Government was considering early release.

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Cue front pages screaming about the risk this could pose to public safety. Naturally, the Scottish Tories provided damning quotes criticising the move.

Absent from the coverage was Douglas Ross, who used none of his four questions at FMQs to ask about lags on the loose. Why? Because exactly 24 hours before, Ross’s boss Rishi Sunak had been defending doing virtually the same thing in England.

At PMQs on Wednesday, Keir Starmer demanded to know whether the cons were cause for concern. Sunak gamely pointed out that Labour had done exactly the same thing when they were last in power.

The moral of the story: If something looks, walks, talks and acts like cheap political point-scoring… it probably is.

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