Scarfgate matters very much, because women matter. 

Requiring a woman sitting quietly, listening, taking notes, disturbing nobody, to leave our Scottish Parliament is a deliberate act conducted by one who is accountable to the people. It is our Parliament. 

Parliament belongs to all of us. Exclusion suggests behaviour deserving of that sanction; where such exclusion is found to be unjustified, democracy, fairness and transparency require answers. And where there is a refusal to account, questions must continue to be asked for silence speaks volumes. When one decides to eject a person from a place so hallowed, that decision maker must have the courage of his or her convictions and put him or herself up for public scrutiny just as happened to our friend so quickly excluded. There is no place in public life for cowardice, especially when others have been identified as the result of the actions of one desiring to remain anonymous. Failure to account indicates a lack of remorse and a promise of anonymity denied to the innocent victim of malfeasance. 

But there is more.

It is not even 100 years since women were ‘allowed’ the vote.

There are valid reasons why women wear the suffragette tartan.

It’s not the GWV for nothing.

Women who are brave, determined, true and also afraid wear the tartan of the suffragettes in Scotland in 2022 because we know that our rights, protections, our safety, dignity and privacy are under threat once more. Not even a century has elapsed since we were deemed worthy of holding rights and yet they are eroded not only by men as we might expect but more insultingly by the actions of women; privileged women, women with middle class status, higher than average salaries, women who will never see the inside of a refuge or a prison and who can afford to pay for private health care and dodge the NHS wards populated by those they wish to avoid.

And the urinary leash is practically upon us once more. Look it up if you are fortunate enough not to have learned its meaning from your grandmothers.

I know women whose grannies had all their teeth extracted before being married so as not to waste their husband’s hard earned wages. Those same husbands went to their graves with mouths full of teeth.

Sadly, I know far too many women who have been obliged to seek solace outwith the gaze or reach of men; men who hurt them, injured them, frightened them and at times terrorised them. 

We have been reliably informed by our FM that women bear the burden of the impact of climate change and that climate justice requires a gendered approach. At the same time there is guidance to the effect that boys will be girls in school gyms, changing rooms and toilets; despite claims a decade and more ago wards are not to be single sex but mixed so as to save the feelings of those men who identify as women. 

Prisons have somehow become open house with utter disregard for the rights, the rights internationally recognised, of our women. Women predominantly victims of male violence, head injuries, abuse of all unspeakable sorts; these women are required to share at close quarters with men convicted of assaulting men in other prisons exclusively male. Nothing quite like inviting the foxes into the hencoop. Foxes with abominable backgrounds who ought to be as far away from vulnerable women as possible. That they are housed in close proximity confirms the contempt with which women’s needs and interests are viewed. By women as well as by men. How low our feminists have descended.

Scotland is becoming unrecognisable.

If Scotland’s values are to be saved then today is a good day for the cut – for an explanation as to who decided, and why, that a scarf was a symbol somehow unworthy, unwelcome and undeserving of room within our governing chamber, Scotland’s democratic dominion. Silence is offensive and insulting. 

So, Madam Presiding Officer, who required our friend to leave the Chamber and why? Reticence indicates that perhaps the rainbow lanyards within committee didn’t welcome competition. Prove me wrong and tell the truth. For in its absence, by your silence, and the complicity of others, there are very strong indications that Scotland is becoming once more a society dominated by men where women’s voices are neither heard nor heeded. That on the watch of an FM who has evaded her sisters and their needs will not be easily forgiven let alone forgotten. 

That a scarf, a pretty adornment and tribute to greatness, became a talking point this week serves only to display how shoddy and shabby the values of the Scottish Parliament have become; the security officer who authorised and required its removal from the building knew full well the agenda at play and clearly had full confidence that his decision was popular with those in higher places. Not for the first time in my life am I glad and relieved that my friends have values found in lower more realistic genuine and honest foundations.