Twitter user AyeRightNaw says the SNP reversal over opt-out organ donation was a moment of profound and calculated betrayal and should never be forgotten.
It happened more than a week ago but it’s taken that long for the rage to calm enough to be put into words. The decision by 20 SNP MSPs to change their minds – or have minds changed for them – over support for Scotland to adopt a soft opt-out national organ donation scheme should live long in the national conscience.
Bad enough for the Bill to fall by just three votes but the reasons given for the narrow defeat made it even more difficult to accept. John Mason MSP came out on social media to say that Labour’s proposed Bill had failed because Labour had whipped its vote, come on too strongly and had given the apparently unpopular Jackie Baillie MSP the job of winding up the debate. Is he really expecting anyone to believe that SNP members withdrew their support because opponents were too committed to getting their own Bill through the first stage of parliamentary process?
Blaming Labour on this just won’t wash. It is perhaps more likely that the change of mind arose from the realisation that in the dying days of this Parliament perhaps the most impactful piece of legislation of the five-year term was not going to come from the ruling party but from the opposition benches. Government strategists would be fully aware that a reopened Borders rail line and an independence referendum were not much of a legacy after five years of unchallenged supremacy.
Simply, it just would not do for anyone other than SNP Ministers to be seen to be doing a ‘good thing’ and at this late stage in the parliamentary calendar there wasn’t much time for the motion to be hijacked or turned into a cross-party Bill that could be pushed through. There was not even much of an appetite for Kenneth Gibson MSP’s reasonable suggestion that the Bill be taken to the next stage where it could be amended in such a way as it could be claimed to be a Government success. No, it had to be killed.
For it appears that even in death the Scottish Government doesn’t do redistribution. But not only did SNP MSPs kill the Bill they also killed the hopes and life chances of hundreds of people in Scotland currently awaiting life-changing and life-saving transplants. Not for nothing did the usually moderate Evening Times scream ‘CONDEMNED TO DEATH’ from its banner the next day. It is disappointing that the outrage was neither more widely expressed nor longer lived.
For this cruel act of sabotage those MSPs and the Scottish Government should not be easily forgiven. The promise of a future Government Bill in the next year or so will provide scant succour for the scores of families who will bury loved ones who will die while awaiting a transplant in the intervening period.
The loss of life will be as needless as it is indefensible and for the first time in hundreds of years people will die in Scotland as a direct result of the actions of proponents of Scottish Nationalism. Think on that the next time you hear that only one party acts in Scotland’s interests.
Labour’s decision on Iraq disaffected significant numbers of grassroots supporters and presented opponents with a stick that 13 years on is still used to pummel the party. This month’s betrayal of hope and sacrificing of life should become the SNP’s Iraq. We should not, must not, allow the Scottish Government to forget the consequences of its callous actions even if all the reminders achieve is the non repetition of such a grievous error.