THERE is something about fancy outfits and flummery that puts my teeth on edge, so the odds of me enjoying yesterday’s King’s Speech (note capitals) weren’t good from the start.

It entirely lived down to my expectations. The UK Government’s King’s Speech and the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government highlight the differences between the two. As I sat in my office at Westminster watching the King in his crown and robes, I was struck by what it failed to address than what was actually in it.

Westminster offered pomp, ceremony and little of substance. Holyrood provided clarity, certainty and direction. Fewer men in tights and less of a spectacle to be sure, but the Holyrood Parliament is focused on improving the lives of our citizens, I don’t see the same can be said of Westminster on any objective analysis.

The Tories are drawing up their battle lines for next year’s expected General Election – yet their record is one of dismal failure and even at that I don’t think it is about who resides in 10 Downing Street, it is the whole Westminster system that is failing us. That is why we need independence in Europe.

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The King’s Speech is normally an annual tradition to open the start of a new parliamentary session and outline what legislation the UK Government wants to enact.

What yesterday showed was that the Tories want to go hard on law and order despite being weak on addressing the causes of crime and disorder. Take, for example, their proposals for tougher and stricter prison sentences and more law-breakers going to jail for a wider variety of crimes.

Echoing shades of Miliband-style “Hell yeah, I’m tough enough” the proposal falls apart once you consider the dilapidated state of the prison service in England. In fact, there simply isn’t any space as reports emerged a few weeks ago that the Government was considering sending prisoners to jails in European countries, such is the problem of overcrowding.

That’s before we get onto some of the stuff that didn’t make it into the speech. The Home Secretary’s plans to restrict charities from giving out tents to homeless people was dropped after saying homelessness was a “lifestyle choice”.

Clearly, she has never spoken with someone who is homeless if she thinks someone chooses to be in that position.

Many of the other legislative proposals were equally uninspiring. A bill to force ministers to run an oil and gas licensing round every year, undermining our climate commitments. Further roadblocks in the shape of restricting the use of clean air schemes or introducing 20mph zones.

SOME policies might be worthy, such as the phased smoking ban, but is there enough faith in the Tories ability to deliver them well? The non-stop scandal that seems to be Johnson, Truss and Sunak’s governments suggests not.

Equally, there was no legislation on further devolution of powers to Holyrood. There was no relief for households when it comes to the price of food and groceries.

No mortgage relief for homeowners facing exorbitant interest rates caused by Brexit and Trussite policies.

Meanwhile compare and contrast with the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which was delivered in September. Policies focused on helping communities get through Westminster’s cost of living crisis such as the game-changing Scottish Child Payment. Protecting public services through record pay deals for workers. Increased funding for businesses.

This is a programme delivering for the people of Scotland. Their priorities are our priorities. Tackling the cost of living crisis, securing more powers for our Parliament and, crucially, independence in Europe.

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Because, even as we contrast the two legislative programmes, there was a third speech that took place recently which underlines where we want Scotland to be.

It was rather understated at the time but when EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her State of the Union speech in September it signalled two game-changing proposals – further enlargement of the union as well as serious proposals to accelerate the just transition and secure Europe’s energy future.

Scotland can play a key role in both of these areas. When we are back in the European Union we will be part of a global A-team working together to deliver a better future for all of Europe.

A tale of two governments in these isles – one focused on division and culture wars, the other focused on the cost of living and delivering a better future for the people of Scotland.

Between having representation at Holyrood and Brussels, we can implement the policies which not only help the people of Scotland in the present but build for the future. Westminster can keep its pomp and ceremony; we will focus on delivering on the priorities of the people of Scotland.