Greenock Telegraph 3rd June 2022

The ministerial code is a set of rules and principles which outline the standards of conduct for UK government ministers. Recently the Prime Minister exercised his authority to change the ministerial code so those who breach it don’t have to resign. Convenient, given his recent misdemeanours.

Rather than act upon complaints and have open transparent government, the UK government’s view is that “complaints can undermine public confidence in standards in public life”. Really Sherlock? Well how about UK government ministers behave in a manner that doesn’t warrant complaints? They also want to have a framework between the executive and the legislature to avoid  “the judiciary being dragged into consideration of political matters”. But these are not political matters they are legal matters and nobody should be above the law. There are many rules, principles, conventions and guidelines at Westminster they are open to interpretation and only work if the people that are guided by them are responsible, professional and principled. If they are not then they can be vulnerable to misuse. The Prime Minister changing the rules here and there may seem like small beer given the problems that we currently face in the U.K.  When people face deciding between heating or eating, when cronies are handed contracts worth millions of pounds, when supply chains are under unheard of strain and when UK minsters and senior civil servants have partied through the pandemic, does the general public really care about a change in the ministerial code?  Judging by my inbox and conversation in supermarkets, on the street and local parks, they do. They care a great deal and I draw strength from that. We must care about the abuse of democracy, we must raise our voices in anger when those trusted with power abuse it for their own ends and maybe most of all we must nip in the bud the direction of travel that we face in the U.K. today. History has taught us that evil prevails when the good do nothing. We must not allow the U.K. to sleepwalk into a system which governs over rather than governs for the people. And we must ensure that in Scotland we have a choice of direction in which to travel.