Next month will mark 25 years since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened.

The Parliament came at the end of a century long debate on what type of self-government was best for Scotland and was backed by 75 per cent of Scots – two facts so conveniently forgotten by today's UK Government.

Support for the institution itself is pretty much the same today – but what has changed is the number of people who see devolution as the end point, with around half of the population supporting independence, and a growingly vocal unionist establishment which says “this far but no further” – and seem intent on reeling back the self-government which Scotland does have.

It’s not just rhetoric either – after the Parliament opened in 1999, it was widely understood that Westminster would not interfere in devolved affairs. This was dubbed the ‘Sewel convention’, and was always rigorously observed – until 2018, when Brexit legislation with a significant impact in devolved areas was rejected by the Scottish Parliament but passed anyway.

Since then, the UK has interfered in issues devolved to Scotland no less than 11 times, not least by ruling that Scotland’s bottle deposit return scheme couldn’t possibly go ahead while including glass bottles, because an alleged plan for a UK-wide scheme, which we have never heard anything about before or since, would not include glass bottles.

This approach serves nobody but the UK Government and does a particular disservice to those Scots who are inclined to support devolution, but who feel, rightly, that the UK is putting that devolution under threat.

Devolution or independence, though I believe in both on their own merits, is only as good as the difference it can make to the living standards of the Scottish people, and we need real change more than ever here in Clackmannanshire.

The front page of last week's Advertiser showed the shocking figure that 1 in 4 children in Clackmannanshire are living in poverty – that is unacceptable in a country with the natural wealth that Scotland has.

It shows that the UK is not managing Scotland’s resources for the benefit of our people – and is certainly not redistributing that wealth in a way which is fair – we could do a much better job ourselves.

Where we can though, we’ve put our money where our mouth is – we’ve frozen the council tax this year, we’ve reduced income tax for the 51 per cent of Scots who need it the most, and we’ve built a social security system where payments increase in-line with inflation, with the Scottish Child Payment going up to £26.70 a week this month.

The difference we can make with devolution is limited, but undoubtedly, that Parliament has and is making a difference.

With the full powers of independence – powers over trade, corporation tax, immigration, energy, industry and more – we could address the underlying economic problems in our society, rather than just responding to its symptoms.

I’ll be glad to see the back of the Tory Government at the upcoming election, but we need a lot more than a new face at the head of an old system – we need a root and branch change of the system that will only come with independence.