Unionists Will Need More than SNP Failure To Be Successful

By Dillon Kennedy

There are many polls stating the SNP winning an overall majority in the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections, if this is the case then the SNP would use this to call a second independence referendum. During a period where Brexit will be ironed out and coronavirus will be recovered from Nicola would rather spend her time holding yet another divisive and economically destructive referendum. (We need only look at businesses preparing to flee south of the border during the 2014 debate). In short, the SNP need to go!

We need to take the fight to the SNP and the current First Minister on their failures over the past 13 years but the way we go about this may be more important than the failures themselves. It may appear to many as a hard fight but so long as the will is there we can do it. In 2016, the Scottish National Party won the election and a third term in government but fell two seats short of securing a second consecutive overall majority. The Conservative party saw a significant increase in support and replaced the Labour Party as the second-largest party and main opposition in the Scottish Parliament but I believe that the journey doesn't stop with us just being the opposition, we need to show and prove to the people of Scotland that the Scottish Conservative and unionist party under Douglas’s leadership is the alternative to the SNP.

Let's look at the failures of the SNP in government.

Education - One of Nicola Sturgeon's earliest promise when she became First Minister was that improving our education system would be her ‘number one priority’. exam passes in core subjects are down 10 per cent, teachers unhappy over standardised testing for primary one pupils, an increase in ‘multi-level teaching’ in deprived areas, and Scotland slipping in international rankings on maths and science, and let's not forget about the 125,000 students across Scotland, which is 1 in 4, had their marks lowered because the Scottish Education Secretary himself said the direction the Government gave to the Scottish Qualifications Authority led to this. This is simply not good enough.

Health - Official Statistics show that the percentage of patients in our Accident and Emergency department within a four-hour waiting time target has richest the lowest level on record, they also show that the proportion left waiting for more than 8 -12 hrs in December were at the worst level for a month since records began in 2007. Over the 13 years of this SNP government, they have cut the number of beds and failed to support primary care of patients meaning that those patients are waiting in pain and distress which in turn affects the Nurses, Doctors and staff wanting to help them.

We also have a drug death crisis in Scotland. Statistics for 2018 show that 1,187 people died in Scotland of drug misuse. This is an increase of 27% from the previous year, we will not know the stats for 2019 as they will be released sometime in 2020 but experts fear they could be even worse. Most drug-related deaths in Scotland are people who took more than one substance, so-called poly-drug use. Opiates such as heroin and methadone are implicated in the vast majority of deaths but users are often taking a lethal cocktail of drugs which increasingly includes pills like benzodiazepines and etizolam. we need to look at ways of tackling this crisis.

Housing - in official statistics released in March 2020, there were over 11,655 households in temporary accommodation across Scotland, which is an increase of 676 (6%) from the year before. These also showed a record number of children living in temporary accommodation at 7,280, an increase of 485 (7%) from the year previous, we should not have children either homeless or moving around in temporary accommodation.

These failures are great and work in favour of parties opposed to the SNP yet criticism never appear to stick. However several obstacles stand in the way of a clear unionist victory and all parties involved must put country before party and do what must be done. George Galloway Alliance4Unity has captured the public attention and his impressive media platform makes him formidable political force. How The Conservative party navigates the existence of another unionist party within the framework of the Scottish electoral system could seal Scotlands fate forever. Another obstacle is leadership. It would be unfair to comment on Douglas Ross's performance as leader so early although the interim use of Ruth Davidson and the lingering problems inherent to the party (including weak social media, talent drain to Westminster and rampant careerism) cast doubts that will need to be put to rest ASAP. The final problem is Scottish Labour. It has always been their task/role to provide a left-wing opposition to the SNP in areas that the conservatives would gain no traction. However, the party has fallen asleep at the wheel and been captured by divisive social debates rather than focussing on the threat of an SNP victory.

It is crucial that we elect a new government in Scotland to save the UK, recover our economy and end the creeping authoritarianism of the SNP. If this requires tough decisions, compromises, alliances and tireless and relentless debate then so be it!