By Dillon Kennedy
Let's talk about the SNP campaign at the Scottish parliament elections. Their key message is about Independence well to put it more specifically "We care about Independence because we care about everything else".
If they truly were to care about everything else, then why in the past 14 years of the SNP being in government in Scotland, have standards in our education have plummeted, the drug death problem in Scotland deepened civil liberties been curbed and taxes increased while public services are continually cut.
At the time of writing, I have before me the a leaflet from SNP Candidate Jim Fairlie for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire. The prime focus of their leaflet is mentioned Independence. It is mentioned several times. Do the SNP not recall the referendum of 2014 where the vast majority of Scots voted to remain a part of the UK?
The vote for NO was 2,001,926 and the votes for Yes was 1,617,989. On top of this, we have the independence movement internally divided on the question of the EU (the supposed reason for holding a second referendum) and polls appear to have failed to show any real material change in opinion.
The other key theme in their leaflet is that our democracy and parliament are under attack by not just the UK market bill but Westminster and the Conservatives more broadly .
Let's take the 1st point of the democracy are under attack from the Internal Markets Bill. The Internal Market Bill, in my own opinion is a Win-Win for Scottish businesses, jobs as well as boosting Scotland's economy and rebuild it from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. This bill is key to protecting 545,000 jobs in Scotland that rely on trade in the UK as well as ensuring that the movement of goods across the country remains unrestricted. We have seen the SNP during interviews and in their election materials claim that the UK Government is staging a power grab. Not one single power will be lost that the Scottish Parliament currently has, in actual fact there will be new powers and new responsibilities which will flow into the Scottish Parliament. Ironically many of these would be transferred to the EU if Scotland were to become independent under Nicola Sturgeon.
The SNP has stated that if Scotland was to become independent from the rest of the UK, their goal is to rejoin the European Union. If Scotland became independent and wanted to rejoin the European Union, then the stance from the EU itself is that an independent Scotland doesn't automatically become a member. In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a new country when considering treaties. Now that the UK is leaving the EU, if the SNP won a referendum they would have to apply to re-join the EU and the consent of other members to be allowed to join. There are also several questions hanging over Scotland's finances that could potentially bar entry to the EU. Even if they managed to join they would have betrayed the wishes of many who want "true independence ". This would take away the idea of the snp's goal of achieving self-determination as they would be leaving one union to join another.
We know that if the snp win an overall majority in Holyrood, they will use this to try and kick start a 2nd referendum on independence even if the UK Government doesn't accept it. This is becoming more of a threat with the idea of a coalition between the SNP and the newly formed ALBA Party to create an "Independence Super Majority" during the election.
There is a clear way to send a message to the First Minister, that Scotland doesn't want to go back to the divisiveness of an independence referendum, where families and friends are ripped apart but instead focus on rebuilding Scotland back from the impact of the last 12 months. The SNP have proved they are not up to the task and to vote for ALBA or the Greens is to enable their Neverendum campaign.