Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that her government will take various “positive actions” to demonstrate its empathy and solidarity with the EU, following Prime Minister Theresa Mays’ “refusal to compromise on the European issue.”
The first such action she said, will be to use the devolved powers on Transport by bringing in right-hand driving throughout Scotland.
This process, she said, would start tomorrow, on April 2nd, road by road, over the next two years until the project was complete.
She said it would be rolled out in a similar way to the Scottish government’s decision in 2001 ‘to bring in Gaelic road signs, which had been an ongoing process, with fund assistance from the EU.’
She said she hoped EU funding would be available for this project as EU countries drive on the right hand side of the road. She said an application for funding could be made as Scotland was still legally a member.
When asked how much project would cost and who would pay if EU funding was not available, she said the figures were still not available, but cost was not the issue. It was the principle of Scotland saying “we are at one with Europe.”
When further pressed she said the project costs may have to be paid for out of the Scottish government Transport budget, and that if necessary other road projects would have to be put on hold.
She said the “need to express oneness with the EU,” far outweighed any overdue road developments and road repair works needed.
Responding to criticism of her plans that they were not practical, would be confusing for people driving between Scotland and England, and were disruptive for businesses and people generally, she said that “it was another example of the scare stories which were used during the EU referendum campaign.”
Asked why the Scottish people were not being given a say on this in a referendum, she said the SNP had “a broad mandate from the Scottish people to govern in the best interests of Scotland and this was obviously overwhelmingly in Scotland’s interests.”
“It was not necessary to have a referendum when the people made it so clear who they wanted governing them,” she added.
She was then asked why there was not going to be a Scottish Parliamentary debate on the matter, and she said Holyrood had better things to do with its time, such as debating independence referendums.
In any event, the Scottish Greens had pledged their support, as they wanted to be “environmentally compatible with the EU,” so any debate would be a foregone conclusion and a waste of Holyrood’s time.”
This was a matter where the Scottish Transport Minister had delegated authority and could sign an executive order to implement it.
When queried about whether such a decision could be questioned by the Courts, as had happened in the USA with Donald Trumps’ executive orders, she said that she had received legal advice that any Court action would fail.
When further pressed that this was what happened in America, she said that her government did not act in a fascist dictatorial way like the new Trump administration, and the criticism of her policy “was a fake news presentation of the facts.”
One commentator questioned if her policy to change to driving on the right hand side of the road in Scotland was actually a genuine pro-EU one, as four members of the EU, apart from the UK, continued to drive on the left side, notably Cyprus, Malta and Ireland.
She responded that she had good relations with Sinn Fein politicians and they wanted Ireland to remove its “British Colonial yoke legacy” by changing to right-hand driving too.
She said that it was a minority of countries in the world who had left hand driving and most of them were “former British Colonies who had yet to shed the last remaining vestiges of British Imperialism.”
She said that left hand driving was a symbol of oppression and that she was determined to rid Scotland of it.
Finally, she shrugged off requests for more questions saying “her time was important and she would spend it on those who were sensible enough to agree with her on everything.”
“Blind allegiance and faith is something I value and those who don’t have don’t have it are not compatible with our modern, global, non-discriminatory Scotland.”
“I know it is right to have right hand driving, and anyone who does not have the sense to agree with me is like the minority who are left handed and have backward thinking left handed mental capacities.”