In just the first few months of 2021, the UK has slashed its overseas aid budget, made clear its intent to pursue trade deals at all costs – including turning a blind eye to human rights atrocities and genocide – and announced an increase in funding to the UK’s weapons of mass destruction by 40%, signalling the start of a new arms race and ripping up 30 years of commitment to gradual disarmament.
This is what a post-Brexit Tory spun ‘Global Britain’ looks like – and the Scottish people want none of it. Even the Tory backbenchers are squirming at what they see.
The choice to cut international aid – including to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen – not only hurts the poorest in the world but tarnishes the UK’s reputation both as a champion of human rights and as an outward-looking trading nation. Investing in developing countries supports emerging markets and opens up opportunities for trade and investment.
The 0.7% aid budget is a commitment from global leaders to humility and support for humanity across the globe; it is a commitment to supporting global security and promoting peace by enabling developing governments to engage positively with the international community. In turning their back on this commitment, the Tory government signals more of the same “little Britain” attitude we saw throughout the entire Brexit fiasco.
Scotland’s overwhelming vote to stay in the EU and Single Market was as much about heart as it was mind. We feel European and have enjoyed the cultural links that come with being an EU member. Being part of a project rooted in a commitment to good global citizenship and peace-making matters to the people of Scotland.
It is clear that good global citizenship is as expendable as the truth or the law to this Tory Government.
The Tory government signals more of the same ‘little Britain’ attitude we saw throughout the entire Brexit fiasco”
Our vote to remain was also a recognition of the economic benefits that come with being an EU member state. Scotland had easy access to a market of over 400 million people. This is now gone – at a devastating cost to businesses and livelihoods. As are the opportunities that automatically accompanied freedom of movement.
Boris Johnson and his Tory party promised us that an abundance of lucrative trade deals would follow Brexit. Instead we see them scrambling to make any deal possible, while Scotland’s EU exports are falling at an alarming rate.
As a result of Brexit, salmon exports are down by 98%, fish and shellfish exports are down by 83%, food exports from the UK to the EU are down 75%, and 74% of UK companies are facing delays on imports and exports to and from the EU.
On top of the Brexit damage the Tories have inflicted, their trade bill – which is just about to become law – contains no barriers to trading with countries that abuse human rights or are accused of genocide. It isn’t that the Tory government forgot to include these basic moral red lines – they actively stripped them out of the legalisation, just as they did with amendments to protect the NHS from privatisation.
It is clear that with the Tories, Scotland’s values and precious NHS are up for sale, and stockpiling nuclear weapons is the priority.
- Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant at HM Naval Base Clyde, also known as Faslane.
They’ve already announced that the UK will shortly add 80 more Nuclear warheads to its stockpile on the Clyde – each of them with 8 times more power than the Hiroshima Bomb.
This is what the Tories think is global leadership. Scotland can do so much better than this.
As the horror show that is ‘Global Britain’ plays out, the SNP Scottish Government has shown there is another way. The SNP continues to reject nuclear weapons and just this week, Nicola Sturgeon renewed Scotland’s commitment to good global citizenship by working with others to tackle global challenges in its new ‘Scotland: A Good Global Citizen’ paper.
The people of Scotland have made it clear they want to be an outward-looking, safe, and active member of the international community. We want no part in this Tory, Brexit, little Britain.
The only way to do that is with both votes SNP on 6th May to put Scotland’s future and recovery in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.
Drew Hendry is the SNP’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade