AS the UK continues to suffer through a self-made cost of living crisis – with interest rates going through the roof, unrealistic mortgages and prices for basic necessities continuing to rise –  we have out-of-touch Tory and Labour politicians in Westminste doing absolutely nothing to alleviate the situation.

Because the Unionist parties are more concerned with maintaining the status quo and undermining the Scottish Parliament.  The UK Government continues to disrespect and walk all over the devolution settlement.

A trend is emerging from Westminster when it comes to tampering with Scottish democracy. The use of the Section 35 order to block the GRR Bill, the constant attacks and breaches of the Sewel Convention – and just this week, Westminster has again interfered with decisions made by the Scottish Parliament via the Deposit Return Scheme.  

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The damage and the misery that Tory cuts and cruel policies are causing to people across Scotland will obviously be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. And this suits  the Unionist parties perfectly. 

These sleekit attacks on the  powers held by the Scottish Parliament are a test, they are dipping their feet in the water  to see what they can get away with – and the more that they do this,  the more we will see our powers being eroded by Westminster. 

The reality is that more than a decade of cuts, austerity and an unhealthy obsession with Brexit have left the UK on its knees. At this time, the Tories should be held accountable for the complete shambles they have created. Instead, we have a pro-Brexit Labour opposition that are singing from the exact same hymn sheet when it comes to these major issues.

There is no hope for a better future under a Keir Starmer Labour government, only more of the same. 

And instead of sticking up for Scottish democracy, Scottish Labour have put their heads in the sand, while the Tories tinker and interfere with devolved policies that have already been through our democratic processes, and passed by our Scottish Parliament. It may be that how we return glass is up for debate today, but make no mistake, the power grab on Scotland is real.

The Tories are getting bolder and this sabotage of Scotland will only continue while we are under the control of the UK.  It is tactical for the Tories to focus on policies that are controversial or that have stoked debate.

READ MORE: Independence the only answer to solving financial burdens

That “divide and conquer” mentality only assists them. Even if you are delighted that they are blocking policies that you were not sure of or that you were against, the principle does not change. Today it is the GRR Bill and the DRS but tomorrow it could be our NHS, our education system or even the Scottish Child Payment that is up for debate. 

While people struggle to put food on the table and electricity in the meter, I am sure that the Deposit Return Scheme will be one of the furthest issues from their minds, but it is important because it demonstrates the Westminster agenda. If we in the SNP do not call it out, who else is going to?

Certainly not the Labour Party.

It is clear that the only way to make sure that our democracy and decision-making processes in Scotland are ours to make is by becoming an independent country.  Becoming an independent country is how we protect and help people right here, right now.

It is how we truly tackle the cost of living crisis. It is how we end food and energy poverty in Scotland.

That fairer society that many of us want comes in the form of Scotland leaving this broken Union and rejoining the world as a normal independent country. Decades of broken promises from London should teach us that if we want something done then we are best to do it ourselves.

Devolution has allowed us to take a different path to that of England. It has ensured no one in Scotland pays the bedroom tax. It has ensured we have free bus travel for the young and elderly; free prescriptions for all; no tuition fees for students, and the Scottish Child Payment and the baby boxes. We can see that our devolved policies are making a difference when we look at child poverty figures for instance.

Scotland has lower rates of child poverty than the rest of the UK because we know that allowing just one child in poverty is one too many. 

Devolution allows us to at least blanket some of the blows that come from Westminster policies. Be of no doubt, what we are seeing from Westminster is a desire to take away our ability to do so.