YOU have to love it when the SNP take a firm stand against blatantly unjust Westminster policies and simply refuse to impose them.

Amid all the controversy over the police investigation into SNP finances and spending from the public purse it’s all too easy to overlook the benefits of having that party in power in the Scottish Parliament and in local government.

If you are looking for a contrast between SNP principles and those of the parties vying for power in Westminster its hard to think of one starker than that delivered this week.

The SNP administration running Glasgow City Council was absolutely right to stand first against any attempt by the UK Home Office to dock a barge for asylum seekers anywhere within the city limits.

READ MORE: Home Office explore 'potential site' for Glasgow asylum seeker barge

If a civilised society should be judged by its treatment of the most vulnerable, the Conservative UK government fails that test in the most shameful way imaginable.

The treatment meted out to those fleeing violence and poverty in their native land and seeking a new life in Britain is cruel beyond imagination. Westminster’s bid to send refugees to Rwanda may have been ruled unlawful by the High Court, but Home Secretary Suella Braverman refuses to bow to the demands of basic humanity.

While the legal wrangles over her Rwanda plot will continue for months to come, Braverman has come up with another shocking plan to have her way.

She wants to move asylum seekers onto barges in a bid to reduce the £6 million a day she says is currently spent on keeping more than 50,000 migrants in hostels.

READ MORE: Bibby Stockholm: First asylum seekers arrive on Dorset barge

The first such barge secured – Bibby Stockholm – is now mooted in Portland Port in Dorset, where it has been the subject of criticism from local people, charities and asylum seekers on board, one of whom said the sound of locks and security checks gave him the feeling of entering Alcatraz prison.

The new plan has been described as “cruel and inhumane” by more than 50 national organisations and campaigners, including the Refugee Council, Asylum Matters and Refugee Action. They insisted the barge was “entirely inappropriate” and would house migrants in “detention-like conditions”.

The National:

It should come as no surprise to anyone that such protests have had precisely zero effect on Westminster’s determination to continue. Its search for more suitable sites for barges has incorporated an exploration of a potential site within Glasgow – a move thankfully brought to an abrupt halt by Glasgow City Council.

It was good to see council leader Susan Aitken tweet earlier this week: “Glasgow’s communities are proud to be beacons of support and integration for asylum seekers and refugees. This is the polar opposite of that.”

Such no-nonsense refusal to comply with heartless plans hatched at Westminster is something we need to see much more of.

Our votes suggest a very different set of political priorities is in place in Scotland and democracy demands that our elected officials act accordingly.

READ MORE: Former Bibby Stockholm resident says barge is unfit for asylum seekers

It is becoming increasingly obvious that we can no longer expect the Westminster parties to act in the way humanity demands. Their masks are slipping.

Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson this week told refugees who objected to being housed in barges to “f*** off” back to France and refused to apologise even in the face of mounting criticism.

Braverman is obviously concerned that she has not yet been cruel enough and has therefore come up with another plan to ship off migrants to another far-off location that is completely unsuitable.

This time the destination is not Rwanda... because even the Tories might have to do as they’re told when the Supreme Court backs the High Court in ruling out the legality of that particular option.

Plan B is moving them to Ascension Island, a clump of land in the Atlantic Ocean with less than 900 residents.

This isn’t exactly a new idea. It was suggested in 2021 but quickly abandoned as being unworkable. Reports suggest it is now being dragged back on to the table.

READ MORE: Where is Ascension Island? All you need to know about potential migrant centre

Not that Ascension Island is likely to prove a more legally palatable option than Rwanda. In fact it might be worse. It does not, for example, seem to have a hospital, which would make difficult to comply with the European Convention of Human Rights.

Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, professor in Human Rights Law at the University of Liverpool, argued on The Conversation website this week that the Ascension Island suggestion would be likely to violate multiple rights under the ECHR and unlikely to achieve “any meaningful purpose”.

You might think that any plan that could unite the Ministry of Defence and the US government in opposition – which is exactly what the Ascension Island plan has managed to pull off – would be quickly dumped, but I suspect that would require more intelligence than any UK minister has hitherto displayed.

There was a time – admittedly not a recent time – when the Labour Party might have been expected to speak out against the Tories’ inhumanity, it being the official opposition party at Westminster.

The National:

But Labour’s shadow immigration minister, Stephen Kinnock, has expressly refused to rule out the use of barges to house asylum seekers if the party wins the next election. Of course, Kinnock insisted, the idea made him “deeply unhappy” but Labour would have “no choice but to deal with the mess we inherit” blah blah blah blah.

And where is Labour leader Keir Starmer’s angry criticism of Anderson’s “f*** off back to France” comment? Nowhere to be heard. Downing Street has backed Justice Secretary Alex Chalk’s insistence that Anderson “spoke for the British people” with his remark. Yet still not a whimper from Starmer.

Contrast this view of migrants with the welcoming and inclusive picture of an independent Scotland painted by the recent SNP paper on citizenship. In contrast to Westminster, an independent Scotland would automatically confer citizenship to anyone living here on the day of independence.

Anyone born here after independence would be a Scottish citizen.

Any children, regardless of nationality, living in Scotland or brought up here, could register as a Scottish citizen and would automatically become a Scottish citizen if one parent is a Scottish or British citizen.

An independent Scotland’s attitude to migrants would not only be morally superior than Westminster’s cruel approach – which we currently have to accept because immigration is a reserved issue – it would be better financially. Scotland needs immigration to boost its economy.

The stance taken by Glasgow City Council is especially welcome at a time when recent polling shows independence support remaining solid while SNP support is slipping.

This is exactly what we need to send the message that the SNP are willing to stand up to the Tories in a way that other parties are simply not.

We sometimes overlook the ways that the Scottish Government mitigates heinous Tory policies such as the Bedroom Tax and, more recently, the benefits cap. The money to do so has to come from Holyrood’s budget and that limits its ability to spend in other areas.

The National:

Glasgow City Council has also been hampered by the need to settle equal pay claims which had been ignored by Labour when it was in power. Last year the council agreed to pay around £770m to settle claims and in June it announced the final payments were imminent.

Good governance can be taken for granted. Especially when political opponents are keen to make capital from those difficult decisions needed to pay for it, which they themselves avoided.

All the more reason to take a principled stance and refuse to implement policies which have little to no popular support in Scotland.

Scotland’s distaste for the immorality of Tory policies and the UK Government’s willingness to publicly embrace frankly horrific values are just two factors which keep the level of support for independence front and central in our political debate.

The more the SNP stand against Westminster’s moral bankruptcy the more they will demonstrate how an independent Scotland will better reflect the values which will guide the way we want our country governed.

And the more voters will surely realise that supporting the party – which may not be perfect – is still the most likely route to our independence.