Strikes and rising bills put a headache for the Scottish independence campaign

Strikes and rising bills put a headache for the Scottish independence campaign

Strikes and rising bills put a headache for the Scottish independence campaign

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<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Lesley Martin / PA

As cleaning up Edinburgh’s trash littered streets began Tuesday morning after a 12-day strike by garbage workers ended, one residence did not bother those tasked with removing piles of bursting garbage bags.

Nicholas Sturgeon’s official residence, Bute House, like other Scottish government buildings, was unaffected by the backlog of waste, which is considered a public health hazard throughout the city. The garbage at Bute House is being collected by a private garbage removal company, it emerged last weekend. The news added another unflattering perspective to mounting criticism of the prime minister’s handling of the nationwide strike escalation.

On Friday, opposition parties accused Sturgeon of being “asleep at the wheel” on his way to Copenhagen to officially open the Scottish government’s Nordic office. Meanwhile, decisive talks were underway between the trade unions and the Scottish Local Authorities Convention (Cosla), the SNP-led umbrella group for the 32 Scottish councils.

Sturgeon also made no fewer than five appearances at the Edinburgh festival, concluding his run Monday night with an interview with Succession actor Brian Cox, who told audiences he was doing an “amazing” job and vowed to support. Scottish independence next year campaign. The SNP leader hopes to hold a second referendum on 19 October 2023 and has asked the UK Supreme Court to decide whether it is legally possible to do so without Westminster consent.

Constitution aside, its challenges are much more immediate: with over 60% of Scottish local authorities affected by the dumpster strike and with further action planned for next week, when garbage workers will be joined by educational staff, resulting in closing hundreds of schools and daycare centers across the country, there seems to be no end in sight. The unions rejected an improved pay offer, saying it did not benefit the lowest paid staff and Unison predicted a “winter of discontent.”

With Holyrood still on hiatus, much of the criticism is conducted via press release or via Twitter, with the likes of Scottish Labor activist Jenny Marra posting photographs of overflowing bins in Dundee and urging Sturgeon: “If you’ve finished all your shows marginal, can you go back to work please.

If these virtual hits do not hit, he can expect a vigorous questioning session from the prime minister next Thursday, although whether the details are reported depends on how many reporters managed to organize emergency childcare for the strikes. scholastics.

The blame game is likely to persist. Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney insisted last week that “he was not the employer,” but while Cosla is participating in the negotiations and representing council employers, opposition politicians and union officials say the Scottish Government must take more responsibility for impacting its cuts in real terms to council funding.

Sturgeon tweeted Monday night that, while Cosla’s new offer was backed by an extra £ 200 million in Scottish Government funding, “if we could go any further we would, but the Scottish Government budget is limited,” returning the responsibility. in Westminster, which also called for a cancellation of the increase in the energy price cap.

Research published Monday found that an unequivocal majority of Scots believe neither Westminster nor Holyrood have done enough to address the cost of living crisis. Surveys for the David Hume Institute and Diffley Partnership found that 89% and 73% respectively said the UK and Scottish governments have done too little to help.

The Scottish government responded that it was doing everything it could “within our limited powers”, pointing to mitigations such as paying Scottish children, but figures like this are a headache for an administration that is about to start a new push in earnest. to independence. He needs to persuade voters that he has the ability and expertise to go it alone, with papers addressing the bigger currency and border topics expected in the coming months and a galvanizing SNP conference scheduled for October.

Sturgeon is all too aware of the challenge of persuading indecisive moderate voters at a time when continuing crises and uncertainties can leave many motivated to cling to the status quo.

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