Sunday Column: This is the last chance for unionist parties to come together and defeat the SNP.


Dreamstime

By Derek W Gardiner

The 2021 elections were once being spoke of as the time when the SNP would finally be thrown out of office, surely after 14 years of SNP government (longer than both the Thatcher and "New Labour" governments), the Scottish people would finally be fed up of the SNP. Alas, it seems they will be in for a super-majority in next year's elections with all the unionist parties being eviscerated and there even being a second independence party, which seems to be designed to top-up the SNP's majority by winning seats on the regional list.


Former Scottish Socialist Party MSP, Tommy Sheridan, has suggested that the Scottish government not bother with a second independence referendum and simply "begin the 12 months negotiation over the withdrawal settlement, and then we put that settlement to the vote in 2022.” This would be undemocratic because 55% of people in Scotland still support the union, that figure has not changed since the 2014 referendum.


The reason why the SNP do so well and unionist parties do so poorly is because the nationalists are united while unionists are divided along outdated labels of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat. In the 2019 General election, these parties won between them 55% of the vote but only 11 seats. In 2016 Holyrood elections the SNP did not even win a majority but instead had to go into a confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party and yet they still lord it over us as if they have a divine right to rule. Indeed, the highest vote share the SNP won was 50% exactly, in the 2015 General election, when they were still promising that the referendum was a once in a lifetime event.


Independence remains a serious threat and the majority still don't want it. If the SNP win next year then it will be goodnight Vienna for the union. That is why we have one last chance to come together and defeat them. Former Labour MP, George Galloway, has already come to this realisation and formed a new Alliance for Unity to stand solely on the list. So far they have selected some top-notch candidates such as Professor Alan Sked, formerly of UKIP. Mr Galloway has also expressed willingness to work with other parties in an effort to get the SNP out of power. In constituencies currently held by the SNP, the runner up party should be allowed to stand uncontested by other unionist parties, giving them the best chance of ousting the SNP. Old party rivalries must be put aside for the greater good. However, this does not seem to be forthcoming, parties are more concerned about scraping what few seats they can from the SNP than trying to form something bigger than themselves.


If we come then we may stand a chance of ousting the SNP, if not then it will be weak opposition and unionist infighting that destroys the unionist cause.



A WTO Brexit is back on the table and it's nothing to be afraid of.


This week it was reported that the government is now working on the assumption that Britain will trade with the EU on WTO terms after the transition period ends at the end of the year. It has been clear since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, almost exactly a year ago that all the UK hopes to achieve out of these trade talks is a simple free trade agreement on the movement of goods. We don't want a "level playing field" which ensures that anti-business EU regulations can remain in place in a non-member state and be overseen by the European Court of Justice, we don't want our fishing water to be open to other EU countries but it seems the EU hasn't got the memo.


The EU is in deep trouble and it looks as if the Eurozone will need another bailout to the tune of 500 Billion Euros. A settlement that would have cost the British taxpayer a fortune had we chosen to extend the transition period beyond December 31st. This settlement will also lead to greater centralisation in the hands of Brussels Andrew Watt, head of the European economic policy unit at the Macroeconomic Policy Institute said: "That's looking more like a traditional set up like you would have in the US, with European characteristics of course,".


Unless the EU radically change their tune and realise they are no longer dealing with Theresa May then a WTO Brexit is what is best for Britain. Some may argue that this would be unpopular in Scotland and would further jeopardise the union but the truth is that the people of Scotland, unlike their rulers, respect democracy and want to see the result of the 2016 referendum properly implemented.


Only through a no-deal exit will we be able to ensure that we are never dragged into a United States of Europe which has full control over our laws and charges us a fortune for the privilege.