THE main dividing line in the UK General Election is becoming ever clearer with each passing announcement, particularly those from the London-based parties. Gone is the traditional left versus right political debate, which has now been replaced by a more basic democratic issue. Who do the people of Scotland trust with their future?

The Tories are being joined by Labour and the LibDems in their constant carping about independence and are clearly forming a Unionist bloc against the SNP who, while getting on with the day job, are happy to let the people of Scotland decide on the country’s constitutional future. The SNP’s main concerns are the issues that are actually relevant to this election, such as standing up against austerity, fighting for pensions, and giving our young people a voice, to name a few.

Labour and the LibDems are falling over themselves trying to out-Tory the Tories by seeking to be even more ardent in their attempts to rule out another referendum on Scottish independence. Not not that long ago, Jeremy Corbyn said he was relaxed about the idea of another Scottish referendum – but now Labour are set against it.

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Like so many on the so-called left of the Labour Party he cries out for freedom for Palestine, and for a united Ireland, but when it comes to Scotland such principles are suddenly put on the backburner.

And, of course, the Trident issue looms large over Labour’s manifesto. While most of us are worried not just about the safety of nuclear weapons but also the obscene waste of money involved: more than £180 billion wasted renewing mass weapons of death while people are literally being killed by Tory benefit sanctions that Labour either approved or simply abstained from voting against.

At least when Groucho Marx said, “These are my principles, if you don’t like them I have others,” he was funny; unfortunately, Corbyn is not. He has no control over his party and his principles are quickly abandoned as he tries to keep a failing Labour Party together.

Even one of Corbyn’s main supporters, union chief Len McCluskey, is in damage-limitation mode, stating that Labour returning around 200 MPs should be seen as a success. I suppose when compared to Labour’s position in Scotland, coming second would be a success but it’s not one that will protect the vulnerable or stand up to the Tories. The infighting will continue as the Tories steamroller their policies through the UK Parliament.

Who do you trust to protect Scotland’s interests? When the Tories try to fast-track changes due to Brexit, who will stand up for the interests of ordinary people, not just in Scotland but also in the rest of the UK?

Do you imagine Corbyn will even get his MPs to rally around and support him or will they simply abstain again as is becoming their default position? The LibDems are flailing about with no clear leadership and on the fast-track to becoming an even smaller minority party. Their focus on another EU referendum while insisting on no Scottish referendum highlights their duplicity on this issue.

Earlier this week I was in Orkney/ Shetland supporting Miriam Brett’s campaign there (an excellent candidate who will be a brilliant MP for that area) and someone asked what could the SNP do in opposition. Well, even if we hold on to all the seats we won last time – which would be an amazing feat – there are not enough MPs in Scotland to outvote a resurgent Tory Party. However, over the last couple of years the SNP group have had some successes. This includes using our voice in Parliament and the media to highlight what the Tories were planning.

There is not enough scrutiny of the Tory policies. They hope to pass legislation without anyone paying any attention to what they’re doing until it’s too late to change. However, using our combined voice in Parliament and pushing the press to examine Tory policies, the SNP have been successful in opening up public debate on many of the plans the Tories want to implement.

This includes my Private Member’s Bill on benefit sanctions which helped to publicise the cruel Tory sanction regime. Similarly, it was the SNP who highlighted the Concentrix scandal, with a private firm making profits from implementing false sanctions on people receiving tax credits. This eventually led to Concentrix having its contract cancelled.

My colleague Alison Thewlis has been arguing against the Tory rape clause since its inception – if that had been left to Labour no-one would have heard about it. It was also pressure from the SNP group in Westminster that stopped the Tories slashing Scotland’s Budget by £7 billion as well as forcing them to ditch tax credit cuts.

We know we can’t win every vote in Parliament but we will argue against everything that harms our communities. We will not sit idly by, abstaining on issues which will impoverish families or harm individuals and communities.

In essence, this is a battle between two visions: outward-looking positivity from the SNP and an inward-looking British nationalism from the Tories. The former looks to the Scottish people to make their choice about their constitutional future, aiming for an independent Scotland (when supported by a positive referendum result) that works closely with international neighbours to boost Scotland’s standing in the world. This is our standpoint: that while aiming to boost the economic and social welfare of everyone in Scotland, we recognise the importance of working together with other countries to boost human rights and trade for the betterment of all.

In contrast, the narrow nationalism of post-Brexit Britain seems only to want to pull up the drawbridge and isolate itself in some sort of fantasy land where it can dictate terms to other countries while at the same time slashing not only employment rights but human rights for its citizens.

In this view of the world we seem to have been reduced to less than human – what other reason is there for removing human rights legislation?

The election on June 8 is a simple binary choice: who do you trust to stand up for your future and to defend you from a new Tory government?