Scottish politicians have done us a favour

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Right now Scottish politicians are as unpopular in Westminster as a drugs tester is at a Moscow running track.

The UK Government has successfully painted Parliament’s third biggest party, the SNP, as the pantomime villains after plans to relax the Sunday trading laws in England and Wales were put on hold due to the level of opposition it faced.

The SNP received almost all of the flack because it opposed the plans announced by Chancellor George Osborne despite the fact that its constituents can shop without any restrictions on a Sunday. The move was described as political mischief making.

But they have done us all a favour because a relaxation in Sunday trading laws is not something anybody south of the border really needs. Sure Osborne will continue to claim that extra trading hours would mean extra revenue for small business but I would argue that there are already more than enough hours in a week to spend your hard earned.

It is 21 years since shops were allowed to open on the day of rest and it seems that, ever since, some in the higher echelons of the retail industry have been pushing to extend those six hours. Although opinion polls suggest the majority of us don’t see the need in increasing the number of hours that bigger shops can open on the Sabbath, the vocal few argue that legislation is restrictive and means retailers are getting a kicking from online competitors.

I find it hard to believe an army of hardened keyboard shoppers are going to ditch their convenient, if not expensive, habit just because they can nip to their local department store rather than watch the Antiques Roadshow. But there are people who love to shop – take the strange creatures who camp outside a clothes store at 3am on Boxing Day. These are the sort of people who will welcome an extension to Sunday trading hours but there are not enough for these changes to make a significant improvement to the economy.

There are many of us who can remember Sundays when nothing opened apart from church, pubs for three hours and newsagents until noon. Back then Sundays were for washing the car and mowing the lawn.

They could be boring but they were a day when families were almost forced to spend time together because there was nothing else to do.

While I might not with agree with their motives, I am grateful to a group of politicians who live hundreds of miles from me. They have done us all a favour.