Independence is not the answerby Kezia Dugdale / March 29, 2017 / Leave a comment
Read more: The SNP has failed Scotland
Yesterday, The SNP and the Greens in the Scottish Parliament forced through a vote calling for another divisive independence referendum.
To readers elsewhere in the UK it may look like the people of Scotland are agitating for this. Let me confirm, for the avoidance of doubt, that the majority of Scots—including many who voted for independence just two-and-a-half years ago—do not want to go through all that again. The referendum in 2014 divided families, workplaces and communities. While for some it was an exciting exercise in democracy, for many more it was an experience never to be repeated.
The SNP is not Scotland and it does not speak for Scotland. When faced with the choice between nationalism and solidarity, Scots voted decisively for solidarity. More than two million people, on an 85 per cent turnout, said very firmly that they wanted their country to remain in in the UK. Because we’re stronger when the four nations of these isles share and pool resources.
The clearly expressed will of the Scottish people is to remain in the UK. That is the mandate that the SNP must respect. Instead of constantly seeking to divide the country, it should focus on the business of government. Recent official statistics confirm that cancer waiting time targets haven’t been met for four years. The nationalists have also abandoned a promise to reduce the hours of junior doctors—a promise that was made to the parents of a young female doctor who lost her life. But neither of these issues, nor the other significant challenges facing our country, are a priority for the nationalist government in Edinburgh. Independence has always been the only thing that really matters to the SNP.
We can safely assume that Brexit will damage Scotland’s economy, especially with the Tories recklessly pursuing a hard Brexit, but we have no idea what that will look like in practice. The people of Scotland deserve clarity on exactly what they are being asked to vote on. So despite the vote forced through by the SNP and its ever-reliable allies in the Scottish Greens, I believe firmly that if there is to be another referendum on independence it should not take place until…