Call for inquiry
Scottish government accused of peddling SNP propaganda
The video which appears on social media channels
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has demanded an inquiry after accusing government civil servants of flouting strict rules on political neutrality by peddling “SNP propaganda”.
A Scottish Government video – promoted on the government’s official social media accounts – makes a series of anti-Brexit claims.
The narrator states the UK-EU trade deal is “a bad deal for Scotland” that will damage business and communities.
He also says the deal will cause “greater risk to national security” and concludes by saying: “We believe Scotland has the right to choose a better future as an independent country.”
Mr Ross said: “This video is a work of shameless propaganda and it’s incredible that a politically neutral civil service would think it is in any way appropriate.
Douglas Ross: ‘This video tries to take us all for fools’
“For taxpayers to be bankrolling a work of one-sided Nationalist distortion is not on. The government is supposed to represent everyone in Scotland.
“Today I have written to Simon Case, the UK Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service and also to Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government.
“The truth is the UK-EU trade deal has been welcomed by Scottish business leaders who say it is good for jobs and the economy.
“This video tries to take us all for fools, especially the one million plus Scots who voted to leave the EU.
“We know Nicola Sturgeon and her party cannot accept reality as seen by her #NoDealNicola hypocrisy but the civil service should play no part in peddling SNP propaganda, falsehoods and grievance.
“We need an apology for this video, its removal from Scottish Government sites and an explanation of how this was authorised and the cost to taxpayers.”
The civil service code states that officials must not “act in a way that is determined by party political considerations, or use official resources for party political purposes”.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have received the letter and will respond in due course.”
Agreement reached on Gibraltar
The UK today struck an eleventh hour deal with Spain to keep Gibraltar’s border open amid worries that it would disrupt the flow of goods and labour to and from the British Overseas Territory.
The island’s status was not settled in last Thursday’s trade agreement but after last minute negotiations today it will remain subject to the rules of the free-travel Schengen area. These are countries which have abolished all passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders.
More than 15,000 people live in Spain and work in Gibraltar, making up about half of its labour market.
In the 2016 EU referendum, 96% of Gibraltar’s voters in favour of remaining in the bloc.
Campaign to rejoin EU
A campaign group is calling for Scotland to rejoin the EU as quickly as possible, whether it is independent or not.
Mark Lazarowicz, convenor of the European Movement in Scotland (EMiS), says: “With all the crises the world faces, the argument for the European Union is stronger than ever – and opinion polls show that support for EU membership is higher than it was at the time of the 2016 referendum, both in Scotland and across the whole of the UK.
“Whether Scotland becomes part of the EU again as an independent nation state, or through the UK as a whole, we know it will not happen overnight. But being a realist doesn’t mean we stop campaigning for our country to be part of that wider European project again.”