It's time to focus on recovery, not independence.

By Dillon Kennedy

The Scottish Parliament elections of 2021 are now officially over and we now know the makeup of Holyrood in terms of which party is in government and which party is in opposition.

The SNP might claim victory but the fact of the matter is they fell short of an overall majority by 1 seat and must now rely on support from Patrick Harvie and The Greens to make up a “Majority”. This, therefore, means that independence should be shelved or better yet thrown out and the First Minister should focus 100% on the recovery of Scotland from the effects of the past 12 months and work in partnership with the UK Government.

But hey, who am I kidding, this is the SNP who will want to use this to focus on legislating a second referendum but with a notable difference, without the consent of a section 30 order by the Prime Minister, therefore, making any vote illegitimate. If this is the case then the UK Government would take the fight to the supreme court which would not only pit Prime Minister vs. First Minister but Scotland vs. England.

It seems that the scene has been set with the SNP apparent win for constitutional grievance against Westminster and polling showing shifting trends between independence and the Union.

How do we as unionists take the fight against the nationalist idea of separation? Well if there’s anything we can take from the past 12 months, is that Scotland would not have survived without the investment from the UK Government and the Treasury through the Furlough Scheme not to mention the increase in the investment straight to the Scottish government through the Barnett consequential of a total of £1.2 billion by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

It's not just about investment, we need to focus on challenging the failures by the SNP to stand up for Scotland in areas such as education, health and investment not only in the last 14 years in power but going forward. The fight ahead in any independence referendum needs to be of the heart and the head.

In the Sunday Times, Luke Graham said it best “There is no silver bullet here. It is a slog. Just as no long-term relationship can be saved by an occasional bunch of flowers, so Scotland will not be saved from nationalism by a quarterly visit from Westminster. We must dedicate ourselves to the long haul with pro-active and substantial delivery”. He is absolutely right; we must act now and be ready for the upcoming fight and win for the union in any referendum.

If we fail to act, then the worst-case scenario, the UK will cease to exist. We as proud unionists need to show the voters the positive case for the union and also prove to the people of Scotland the advantages and the opportunities of being an integral part of the United Kingdom also show them that Scotland is as valued as anyone else in our country.

We need to show Nationalism for divisive and nasty politics it is, which drives wedges between friends and families. I should know as the majority of my family are all supporters of the SNP and can’t comprehend why I am proud to be a conservative and a supporter of the union of the United Kingdom.