There was a rumour doing the rounds last week that, on his appearance in Scotland, Prime Minister Boris Johnson would visit Inverness. Had he come and – I know it’s a stretch – met the public, he could have answered some of our questions.
He could tell us why, for years, his Government have been charging Highland Council Tax payers to subsidise Universal Credit. The deficit in funding to operate Universal Credit has left the Council footing an around £2 million bill at last count. He could have cleared up what happened to the UK Government’s missing £83 million to match the Scottish Government’s contribution to the Inverness City Region Deal. Or why, after years of warm words and promises, terminally ill people still have to prove that they will die within six months to be fast-tracked for social security support – with some even asked to visit ‘work coaches’.
Perhaps he could explain why his Government said doing something about Donald Trump’s punitive 25% whisky tariffs was a priority, but have done nothing. We could have asked why he and his MPs voted against measures to protect our NHS in future Trade Deals with the USA and from foreign companies.
Had Boris Johnson visited Inverness, he could have also heard from those excluded entirely from COVID support and shared with us, his justification for refusing simple changes to Scotland’s borrowing powers. Changes that would mean The Scottish Government could help families and businesses in need of support.
Yes, if he did visit Inverness, he would have heard our strong feelings on these issues, at the treatment of EU nationals and a whole lot more.
One other thing he could clear up is why, instead of getting £350 million a week from Brexit to spend on the NHS, research from the University of Warwick has exposed that the looming Brexit has already cost Scotland nearly £4 billion. That’s £736 for each of us – a number set to grow as we crash out in the middle of a Pandemic.
His well-publicised attitude to Scotland and refusal to recognise the rights of our citizens to choose their own future mean that he is seen here as the most unpopular Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher and, very much in line to beat her in that dubious honour.
It’s no wonder that support for Scotland making its own future is now a clear majority view.
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