YOUR news item about Nicola Sturgeon turning up the heat with one month to go to the General Election (May ‘sacrificing Scottish jobs’ to gain Ukip votes, The National, May 8) was interesting as it laid out the battle lines for the main parties. Apparently the Scottish Tory leader will argue they can “bring the SNP down to size” and show “they [the SNP] can’t take Scotland for granted”. Since the Tories at Westminster are experts in taking Scotland for granted I presume Ruth Davidson will know all the tricks and levers to pull?

Of course if she is reading this she will assume I’m another rabid SNP supporter and I suppose I am, but it wasn’t always so. Until last Thursday I confess that all my voting life I had voted Tory but my ‘Road to Damascus’ moment came at precisely 10:35 at Portsmouth ferry terminal on the June 25, 2016. Another confession, I voted to Remain in the EU so barely 36 hours after voting closed I was still in shock when a triumphant Leave supporter decided to engage me in conversation. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as I was told ‘now we can stop the Philippino nurses coming here and taking our nurses’ jobs’ – before I took my next breath my politics had changed and I could see!

What I was hearing confirmed my fears that many voters had been influenced by the lies and misinformation of the Leave campaign. Nothing short of Tory manifesto pledges to put an extra £350 million a week into the NHS, cut immigration to 10,000 per annum (though I personally see the value of immigration having been welcomed to work in 4 other countries during my lifetime) and guarantee a bright new future for us all without runaway inflation, pay stagnation, a plummeting pound, no loss of jobs due to Brexit, no xenophobia and a promise to adequately fund the NHS would make me even consider voting Tory again. So that deluded Leave supporter had helped me to see the error of my ways and to open my eyes. To then hear repeatedly that the result was “the democratic will of the people”when the result was based on a tissue of lies and alternative truths just completed my political transformation. Sorry but my understanding of democracy is based on a belief in the need for honest debate.

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To add insult to injury having become Prime Minister Theresa May then promotes two of the biggest culprits behind the Leave campaign lies to senior Cabinet positions – surely it couldn’t get worse? Sadly it could and it has. Forgetting the Brexit shambles and the desire to alienate the EU before talks begin, what else have the Tories been up to? Well there’s that rape clause that Ruth Davidson and other Tory MSPs sought to justify at Holyrood. Then there’s the attack on the less fortunate in society with sanctions leading many to desperation. There are too many people left reliant on food banks by Government austerity. The shambles in our conventional defence forces that have been cut to the bone, though at least there are enough seats in Wembley Stadium for our entire Army – with enough seats left over for the RN crews whose unserviceable ships can’t put to sea. The looming financial crisis in the MoD as the plummeting pound has added billions to an already stretched defence budget. The looming crisis in the cost of forces married quarters sold off to private investors by the Tories in 1996. Et cetera, et cetera In January I happened to be at Westminster to see my MP on the day of the debate about the aborted Trident missile test cover up. My MP was to ask a question so our meeting had to be deferred until after the “debate”. Rather than have me wait in the Lobby he kindly got me a pass into the Member’s guest area right above the Government benches to hear what was said. I do hope any Unionist readers of The National have taken the trouble to watch some Westminster debates to see that the last thing it can be described as is a forum where issues of national concern are debated openly and honestly – it’s become a place for reciting sound bites for the 6 o’clock news and tomorrow’s papers. After 25 minutes of waiting for a straight answer to one question I gave up and decided to wait in the Lobby as the Defence Minister merely went back to the first sound bite on his list, and I’d already heard that and the others he was about to recite.

By this point in my letter some will be branding me “a saboteur”, which is 2017 speak for a democrat who holds different opinions to the Tories. Remember my initial confession, I was once a Tory voting Unionist before my “Road to Damascus” moment made me look more closely at what those I had supported were doing to our country. Last Thursday I voted SNP for the first time and it will not be the last. I don’t agree with all their policies but on balance they are the best party for Scotland by a country mile. It is clear that the Tories picked up votes at the expense of Labour whilst the SNP vote held up. For those Labour supporters who voted tactically you need to think very carefully before doing the same on the June 8. The Tories will no doubt get their landslide in England and do you really think a few extra Scottish Tory MPs will make a difference? They’ll just do what their Party Whip tells them to do and Scotland’s voice will be further diminished. If you can’t vote SNP at least stay true to your principles, unless of course you support the rape clause, sanctions, an underfunded NHS, the looming financial crisis in our conventional armed forces, xenophobia and a Prime Minister in waiting who is unwilling to face the public in a televised debate – what nasty surprises does she have to hide from us?

Ruth Davidson says the Tories will be the underdogs in the General Election. Let’s make something she says come true for once!