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Sketch: Nicola Sturgeon saves COP27

Credit: Iain Green

Sketch: Nicola Sturgeon saves COP27

Had Nicola Sturgeon not gone to COP27 in Egypt, the climate conference would have been a total waste of time. That’s the honest truth – at least, according to SNP MSP Gillian Martin.

The member was intervening in a speech by Tory Graham Simpson, who was questioning whether the international climate summit had actually achieved anything at all on preventing catastrophic climate change.

“I have to be honest: these COP events look to me like junkets for world leaders and for people like Susan Aitken, and they do not appear to change anything. After COP27, I am not filled with hope,” he told colleagues in the Scottish Parliament chamber.

Martin here tried to intervene. She must set the record straight, get the truth out there. Sadly, Simpson was not inclined to let watchers of the debate in on that truth. He continued: “I cannot see that much has been achieved by Nicola Sturgeon attending either event, and even less was achieved by a delegation from Glasgow City Council flying to Egypt.”

Martin couldn’t take any more. She rose again to intervene and Simpson, seeing he was facing a losing battle against the SNP truther, allowed it.

He did not even attempt to address the idea that Sturgeon had saved the entire conference by her very presence, the truth-denier that he is

“If Nicola Sturgeon had not been there, we probably would not have had any outcomes from COP27, particularly on loss and damage,” she insisted, much to the chagrin and confusion of others attending the debate. “The Scottish Government led on loss and damage!” she added adamantly. Martin was spinning so hard that it’s a surprise she wasn’t falling over from dizziness. She also mumbled something about Susan Aitken being there to talk about how great COP26 was, presumably also thanks to Sturgeon’s attendance.

“I am sure that Ms Aitken had a wonderful time, but I do not see that she has achieved very much,” Simpson replied scathingly. He did not even attempt to address the idea that Sturgeon had saved the entire conference by her very presence, the truth-denier that he is. No doubt he’s one of those folk that believe the only reason the FM went was to show up Rishi Sunak, who wasn’t going before he was going. Imagine! Political game playing as a reason to go on a jolly to Sharm El Sheikh!

To add insult to injury, Simpson continued with his wild accusations. “This debate should have been held tomorrow, because that is when we will hear from the Climate Change Committee on how Scotland is actually doing. We can be fairly certain that it will not be a glowing report.”

Honestly, was the member insinuating the Scottish Government had deliberately scheduled this debate the day before a major report assessing how well (or not) it was doing?! The audacity!

To make matters worse, Labour’s Colin Smyth had thrown about similar accusations earlier. He said the scheduling of the debate “tells its own story about what the government knows that that report card is likely to say”.

When that report did come out it reflected how Sturgeon and her government had not done enough. In fact, it had done so little that it had lost its lead in the UK on progressing towards net-zero. But Martin seemed so sure that her boss had saved the day. How can both things be true?

The man tasked with defending the government’s record on climate,
cabinet secretary Michael Matheson, insisted they had “taken urgent action”. He continued: “Our targets set out in the 2019 Climate Change Act…” Apparently he’d missed the memo that setting targets was not enough – you actually have to reach those targets, too.

Thankfully, Simpson had some helpful suggestions for the minister. “Some pretty unpopular things will have to be done, such as hitting people hard…” Well, that would be unpopular. Not sure it would necessarily encourage them though. “…in the pocket,” he continued. That makes more sense.

He also said improved public transport would help, “unless we want a nation of hermits”. To be fair, that would cut down on car use and reduce emissions. Hermits are not exactly known for their lavish lifestyles.

“We should be treating ferries as buses,” the Tory MSP went on to suggest, which is pretty bold considering the SNP can’t even build a regular ferry properly, never mind one that works like a bus.

Comrade Mercedes Villalba had a much bolder proposal though. “It is not good enough for the government to say that we do not have the power, the wealth or the skills,” she began from atop her soapbox. “We have all those things. The only thing that we do not have is a government that has the socialist ambition… which only Labour in government can deliver.” Hmm, I’m not sure a socialist government is exactly what Labour are offering either, comrade. But you keep on singing The Red Flag, even if you are doing it alone.

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