Climate change latest incident of SNP under Humza Yousaf promising hope then taking it away - Alexander Brown

The Scottish Government have focused on what looks good rather than what’s possible

The SNP’s U-turn on climate change is an abject humiliation – one that shows a lack of planning, a failure of governance and is absolutely their own fault.

Ministers were warned when setting the 2030 target for reducing emissions that it was too fast. But perhaps having seen Greta Thunberg on the streets of Glasgow days earlier, they got carried away with it all. The SNP decided to do what they thought right, rather than what experts advised them was possible.

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Unfortunately, this is not the exception for the Scottish Government, but the mean. In recent times, Humza Yousaf’s party has consistently set out admirable policies or pledges that inspire hope, and go further than Westminster in addressing the big issues.

The First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf is under fire over the climate U-turn.The First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf is under fire over the climate U-turn.
The First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf is under fire over the climate U-turn.

With that, unfortunately, has also come a series of failures and botched landings, with policies either being deeply unpopular or simply blocked by the UK government.

Consider Gender Recognition Reform, a policy aiming to make the lives of trans people slightly easier. This is a worthy goal, even for those in the concerns about spaces camp. It is inarguable that trans people are demonised and dehumanised every day in the UK.

The SNP promised to change that, in a move that prompted wild celebrations from my own trans friends, who felt finally they were being seen, with policy moving towards the more progressive models seen in Denmark, Ireland, India, Portugal, Argentina and Belgium.

Instead, by failing to bring people with them and not taking longer to ensure it was compatible with the Equality Act, the Bill was blocked, the debate soured and the hope for trans people deeply diminished.

SNP figures may point the finger at Westminster over this, as net zero minister Màiri McAllan did over the climate U-turn, because how could they have possibly predicted the UK government might clash over legislation with the Scottish administration?

It is the same for the deposit return scheme, a policy that sounded good, but which the Scottish Government failed to make workable through the prism of dealing with Westminster. They promised a more environmental approach, but ended up with nothing but outrage and excuses.

These promises and failures to deliver are everywhere, such as the new delayed funding to improve gender identity services. The Scottish Government pledged £9 million over three years, but it will now be delivered over five years. They’re in the position where they now find themselves being outflanked on NHS spending by The Tories. The Tories!

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What’s worse about all of this is the SNP are supposed to be, or at least claim to be, better. The party constantly criticises the Labour leadership for U-turns, or the Tory government for missed targets.

Those criticisms now feel not just hypocritical, but laughable, because beyond the much vaunted “party values”, there doesn’t seem to be that much difference in party standards.

Last year, Rishi Sunak scrapped HS2, ripping up a years-old pledge, and tried to get away with it by promising loads of stuff that had already been announced, and basically a plan to have a plan.What the SNP have done on the climate commitment is no different. Hope can inspire, but you know what’s better than promising something? Doing it.



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