The Union isn't Just Nice. It's Vital!

By Dillon Kennedy

The Scottish National Party are seemingly beginning to plant the seeds for a second independence referendum. This is all down to a spike in support due to a recent Panelbase survey done by the Sunday Times newspaper. The survey found that 54% of Scots now back a Yes vote, with 46% opposed. Lets rewind back the clock to the results of the Independence referendum in 2014, Better together won the referendum with 2,001,926 Votes or 55.30% compared to the YES campaigns 1,617,989 votes or 44.70%. Ever since the survey results came out we have seen senior SNP MPs appear on television talking about ways of getting a vote including if the UK Government declined to give a referendum , Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wisart stated that Scotland would ask the EU to sanction a vote.

Under the Edinburgh Agreement signed before the independence referendum by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and then First Minister Alex Salmond and then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon temporarily empowered the Scottish Parliament to hold the first independence referendum. This power was transferred using a so-called ‘section 30 order’, which “put beyond doubt” the legality of that referendum. Therefore the Scottish Government with the majority of public support would have to ask the UK Government for a Section 30 Order to run a second indyref. If a second independence referendum happens , then the official Better Together campaign needs to outline the positive case for the union and focus on policies which deliver for the scottish people.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak might be a key to boosting support for the union through the £30bn spending package followed by the announcement of 1.57 Billion pounds invested in UK arts compared to the £10 Million pound investment made by the Scottish Government. let's talk about the elephant in the room, the current pandemic that we are seeing all over the world, COVID-19. The Chancellor announced the furlough scheme which according to recent statistics, shows the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme furloughed 736,500 Scottish workers up to the end of June – 29.8% of all eligible jobs. The scheme currently pays 80% of furloughed employees’ wages, up to £2,500 a month. The Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes claimed that she was only receiving £21 million but the package was worth £800 Scotland. This claim was deliberately rude. The Chancellor has since confirmed that Kate Forbes' budget had been boosted by £4.6 Billion by the UK Government. If the UK government didn't care for Scotland as many SNP MPs say , then why would they boost the budget and invest in scotland.

Imagine for a second what difficulties an independent Scotland would now be facing. It would ,without key support from the UK structure, attempted to rejoin the EU (having in the process to have accepted worse terms of entry than the UK had been afforded) and likley cut its spending drastically to meet the entry requirements. It would have to face the consequences of the oil price crash alone while trying to fund the creation of a new country. The coronavirus pandemic is just another example of something that Scotland would have struggled to manage alone. The furlough scheme was made possible only by virtue of UK membership and thus we must go forward with the message that every one of these jobs was saved by the union rather than sheepishly basking in all the gifts of our family of nations while at the same time allowing separatists to advocate divorce.

If a second independence referendum is to come then we need to show the voters here in Scotland that being a key member of the United Kingdom is a lot more secure and ultimately be and will bring more prosperity to us all. We should note the fantastic things the union does for us and the lifesaving assistance we get from the UK government during all the struggles and obstacles a country encounters.