THE one topic on everyone’s lips this week was the First Minister’s statement on a future referendum on Scottish independence. We have to face up to the stark choice that we will be facing very soon: stay within the UK and be dragged out of the EU and the single market, potentially risking 80,000 jobs, or take our future into our own hands and ensure that all the decisions affecting Scotland are made here in Scotland.
The First Minister’s announcement clearly caught the UK establishment flat footed. They were all preparing themselves for the Brexit announcement and the passing of the Brexit Bill.th
It seemed the UK Government thought the First Minister would do nothing about the fact it was ignoring Scotland at every turn – failing to fulfil the promises of the infamous Vow of 2014 and failing to acknowledge the threat of Brexit to Scotland’s economy. This arrogance only highlights the UK establishment’s complete indifference to Scotland and Scotland’s people.
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As the First Minister made clear, this isn’t a re-run of 2014. Things have moved on. Instead of the promises of the infamous Vow being delivered, we ended up with English Votes for English Laws, diminishing our MPs to second-class status.
As for Brexit, the performance by the Brexit Minister, David Davis, this week won’t have filled anyone with confidence – it’s clear the Tories have no idea what they are doing when they haven’t even looked at the economic impact that Brexit will have on the UK’s economy.
Even the latest intervention by Theresa May won’t dampen the increasing demand for a referendum; in fact it’s likely to increase support for a Yes vote. The hapless and unelected Prime Minister hasn’t actually ruled out a referendum, all she has done has said not now – but no-one was calling for it now!
It’s surprising how many of the so-called media experts didn’t pay attention to what was actually said. The Prime Minister said no referendum now, but the First Minister had called for one sometime between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 – when we will know the terms of any Brexit agreement.
At that stage, we will know exactly how badly the UK Government has performed in upsetting our EU neighbours and which Scottish assets they are willing to give away to save London’s financial markets.
The Prime Minister wants a free hand to sell out Scotland’s fishing rights and any number of other assets to protect the financial markets, who think nothing of giving the failed former chancellor George Osborne £650,000 per year for one day’s work per week – he might have messed up the UK economy but his friends in the City seem to appreciate what he has done!
A future Scottish referendum on independence throws up problems for all the London based political parties. The Liberal Democrats oppose another vote – the message they are trying to put out is that the people have spoken and should never be asked again.
However, they say there should be another EU referendum as soon as possible. If there isn’t a referendum on the terms of Brexit, then the LibDems have said they will have a referendum on getting back into the EU when they have the power to force this (although it is unlikely they will find themselves in that position). Yet their former leader and former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is fine with another referendum on Scottish independence. One young speaker at the recent LibDem conference also showed his support for another independence referendum. It seems LibDem members pay as much attention to what Willie Rennie says as the rest of us.
But if that’s confusing then British Labour in Scotland’s position is even worse. Their current Scottish leader once said she was comfortable with Labour members voting Yes in a future independence referendum. This then changed to outright opposition to a referendum.
That seemed the settled position of Labour until Jeremy Corbyn’s flying visit to Glasgow last Saturday when he said a second referendum would be “absolutely fine”. Labour did what it does best and turned on itself. Social media became the focus of Labour politicians and members airing their disdain for their London leader.
The following day, a mealy-mouthed statement was issued trying to save Labour’s face but fooling no-one. It seems Labour members get more upset about a call for a democratic referendum than they do about child poverty, illegal wars or starving Scotland’s public services of funds.
And then there are the Tories, another Unionist party with only one MP in Scotland and one which came a distant second to the SNP at last year’s Scottish elections.
The SNP had the option of calling a referendum on independence in our manifesto and we won the highest percentage of constituency votes since the Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999, yet the Tories claim we don’t have a mandate!
So, what is their mandate to over-rule the voters of Scotland? An unelected Prime Minister relying on the votes of Tory MPs to keep her in power even though an ever increasing number of them are now under investigation for breaking election rules.
In any normal society, these MPs would be suspended until the police investigations were complete, but that would lead to the Prime Minster losing her parliamentary majority. So much for their mandate to dictate terms to the people of Scotland.
Whether Theresa May likes it or not, Scotland will have its referendum and it will be a resounding Yes vote.
Too many people have seen through the lies of 2014 and too many have become politically aware to pay much attention to Project Fear and a biased media dancing to the tune of the UK establishment.
I relish the opportunity to get back out on the streets again, persuading even more people that Scotland deserves the right to decide its own future. I hope you will join me in this quest.