Greenock Telegraph 1st July 2022

A Scottish independence referendum on the 19th October 2023 or a General Election campaign based on one question, should Scotland be an independent country. It can’t be much simpler than that. What is being asked is, does Scotland have the right to self-determination and if so, should it be allowed to express its will. Nobody that believes in an electoral democracy can deny the first point. Some may choose to blur the edges by listing ‘more important matters that need to be addressed first’ but that doesn’t answer the question because they have been saying that for ever, there will never be a right time for them. But they can’t deny the right and also say they believe in democracy. If the Supreme Court says it can’t happen without the consent from the UK government and the UK government then denies us a referendum, then that tells you everything you need know about the state of democracy at Westminster. And then we would move to a single-issue General Election. The old unionist guard will be rolled out. The people of Scotland shall once again be told why we are better as part of the UK. All the same lies and, no doubt, a few new ones. The fear factor will be to the fore. After all they can’t possibly hold up the UK today and proclaim it a success story. They can’t make a positive case for the Union. They can’t deny that promises made in 2014 have not been kept. Remember ‘lead not leave’, remember Scotland being better of in the EU, remember the oil is running out? The NO campaign will be another long refrain of fear and dread with undertones of don’t bother your pretty little head Scotland, we know what’s best for you, we shall decide, in fact it is best if you don’t event take part. This is against the backdrop of a crumbling empire, a divided UK, soaring prices, increasing isolation from the EU and a culture of entitlement and privilege riding roughshod over parliamentary procedure at Westminster. Scotland’s exit strategy is becoming clearer and remember 51 nations have claimed their independence from the UK in my lifetime and none that have left have ever asked to come back.

Written question – Gambling related harm [27/06/2022]

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the exposure to children of gambling adverts in football stadiums. (21229)

Tabled on: 20 June 2022

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many football clubs in the premier league have gambling sponsors. (21227)
    Tabled on: 20 June 2022
  2. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate she has made of the number of children who attended a professional football match in 2020-21 and 2021-22. (21228)
    Tabled on: 20 June 2022

Answer:
Chris Philp:

Football clubs can enter a wide variety of responsible commercial partnerships, which may be promoted in different ways including through kit sponsorships, advertising in stadiums or on club websites. In the 21/22 football season, all 20 Premier League clubs had an official betting partner, while nine clubs had front-of-shirt sponsorship by a gambling operator.

The Government does not make an assessment of the number of children attending professional football matches.

Evidence on the impacts of gambling sponsorship in sports, including the issue of children’s exposure to gambling brands, is being closely considered as part of the government’s Review of the Gambling Act. A white paper will be published in the coming weeks outlining our conclusions and next steps.

The answer was submitted on 27 Jun 2022 at 10:34.

Westminster diary wb 13th June

Monday

In the morning I chaired the Westminster Media Forum policy conference. The topic for discussion was the ‘Next steps for gambling regulation in the UK’. It was a strong panel and fair to say there were different opinions. This event was virtual and although it was nice to get a lie in on a Monday, what is missing from such events is the ability to network after them. Hopefully, we will be having these events in person very soon. The airport was mayhem. Cancelled flights to London led to long queues of disgruntled passengers, many of whom were catching connecting flights. I was therefore surprised to see empty seats on my flight to London.

Tuesday

My select committee took evidence from the Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests, the Right Honourable Lord Geidt. The adviser is personally appointed by the Prime Minister to advise him on matters pertaining to standards in public life and the appointment is entirely at the Prime Minister’s discretion. There are other people and committees that fulfil very similar functions, including the First Civil Service Commissioner, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, the Chair of ACOBA and the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists. With so many to choose from I tend to think the Prime Minister chooses the path of least resistance and follows that advice. Lord Geidt entered committee room 15 looking very tense. He was closely followed by senior members of the press which would not have helped. It did give the impression of a man going to the gallows. As it turned out he said nothing of note and further strengthened my views that the powers that be at Westminster avoid scrutiny by building an impenetrable force of place men around them all loyal to the cause of protecting the establishment. To brighten my day, I bobbed at Health questions. I didn’t get in on orals, but I persevered at topicals and got taken as the last question. I pushed the Secretary of State on his appalling record of failing to provide medical cannabis for children with intractable epilepsy. It over 1,800 days since the UK government said they would. I attended a joint meeting of SNP MPs and MSPs to hear the First Minister of Scotland outline the path to independence backed up by substantial discussion papers. Scotland is our country to design and build as we feel fit.

Wednesday

I was in the Chamber for COP26 questions and made the mistake of staying for Prime Minister’s questions. It really is the very worst aspect of life at Westminster and today it was as bad as I have ever seen it. Keir Starmer was appalling, Ian Blackford couldn’t be heard over the abuse and Ed Davey was the victim of a coordinated barracking from the Conservative and Unionist benches. This sort of behaviour would not be deemed appropriate in any other walk of life. The Speaker should be throwing people out and asserting his discipline. He has tried appealing to their better nature but they don’t seem to have one. I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on the ‘Potential merits of a Universal Basic Income’. It’s a sensible topic for debate that never gets the hearing it deserves from the Conservative and unionist government because they are ideologically opposed to the eradication of poverty. The debate was interrupted for a vote in the main chamber on rail strikes. We then restarted and concluded the debate. There then followed a rush through sweltering London to get to the airport to get home.

Thursday

I had a catch-up meeting at Ferguson Marine. It has attracted a lot of misinform criticism and I feel for the current management and workforce as they have become a political tool, where in truth they are highly motivated, professional and doing a very difficult job. I was impressed at the progress since my last visit and intend to catch up soon. I dropped in on the West Coast College – social science information session, at the waterfront campus. And then visited the two exhibitions currently running at the Beacon and the East India Harbour. Both very interesting in their own ways and very much worth a visit.

Friday

Two interviews this morning. First with the Greenock Telegraph to discuss addiction and changing the law on drugs and gambling. And then with Clyde Insider to talk primarily about gambling related harm. In the afternoon, I visited the jobcentre, had a constituent meeting regarding immigration and finished the day with Scottish Women’s Aid discussing the Scottish Welfare Fund.,

Greenock Telegraph 17th June 2022

On the 18th of September 2014 in Inverclyde 87.4% of the electorate cast their vote in the Scottish independence referendum. That was 2.8% higher than the national figure but some local authority areas registered over 90%. When you consider that turnouts for general elections in recent years have varied between 65% and 75% and that recent council elections struggle to reach 50%, it’s proof that the Scottish electorate are engaged in the constitutional question and that they very much want their opinion to be recorded. Why wouldn’t they? Who would not want to have a say in their nation’s ability to raise and spend its own money, set its own priorities and trade deals, control its own borders and foreign policy. That’s the normal behaviour for any country, unless your Scottish, in which case we have shed ourselves of these powers and the question is do we want them back. Maybe more surprisingly is that some people don’t see independence as the normal default setting, they are happier to allow a UK Government take these decisions for us even though what’s deemed good for the rest of the United Kingdom is not what we voted for in Scotland. The most recent case in point being to leave the European Union. And those who would remain in the union felt so strongly about not having the power and responsibility that they won the referendum in 2014. Imagine feeling so strongly that your nation is too wee, too poor and too stupid to govern itself that you would actively campaign and vote to remain subordinate. We will get the opportunity to reverse that decision and after Brexit, Boris Johnson, Tory austerity and more years of disrespect and neglect of the will of the Scottish people I would hope that the electorate once again engage in large numbers and when asked, Scotland independent? This time they will ask, why not?