The First Minister is attempting to overturn two democratic votesby Adam Tomkins / March 16, 2017 / Leave a comment
The shadow of a second independence referendum has loomed large on the horizon in recent months, but this week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out her stall. Despite putting on record in 2014 that “constitutional referendums are once-in-a-generation events,” she has now laid out demands for another secession referendum to take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019—just four years after Scots went to the polls and voted decisively to stay in the Union. Our country doesn’t want to go back to the divisions and uncertainty of the last few years. That is why Ruth Davidson and Theresa May have both said “no” to a second independence referendum—for now.
Scotland did not want independence in 2014, and it does not want it now; poll after poll makes it perfectly plain that most Scots do not want a second independence referendum. But within just three hours of the EU referendum result becoming clear in the early hours of 24th June last year, the SNP put independence back on the agenda. The grounds? That Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will. In these circumstances, the SNP argue, they have a “cast-iron mandate” to have a referendum. But no minority government has a “cast-iron mandate” to do anything.
In any case, new polling shows that two in three Scots either want Britain to leave the EU, or for the EU’s powers to be reduced. One million Scots voted Leave on 23rd June, including many who had voted Yes to independence in 2014. Meanwhile, the SNP is hijacking Remain votes as their own—mine included. By ignoring these voices and attempting to overturn not one, but two democratic votes, Nicola Sturgeon has ceased to be First Minister for all of Scotland—and has shown she is prepared to play fast and loose with the future of our country for her party’s political gain.
The SNP government is not faring much better. This is a government that has repeatedly said education is its priority focus—Nicola Sturgeon even staked her personal reputation on closing the attainment gap. Yet, in the five months following last May’s election to the Scottish Parliament, it failed to introduce even a single bill. And then in October, under cover of recess and with no parliamentary debate, a first bill did eventually emerge—a draft independence referendum…