2015 UK general election – the SNP win a landslide in Scotland.
2016 Scottish Parliament election – pro-independence majority elected to the Scottish Parliament, with the SNP as the largest party.
2016 European Union referendum – 62% of Scottish voters choose to remain in the EU
2017 UK general election – the SNP win a majority of seats in Scotland.
2019 UK general election – the SNP win a landslide in Scotland.
It couldn’t be clearer that the Scottish people want the opportunity to choose a different future from the current version of Brexit Britain that’s being imposed on us.
This week the Prime Minister and a bunch of candidates for the Labour leadership lined up to tell Scotland to get back in their box. It was a tour de force from the Tories, who put out all their greatest hits. We had the classic: “we said no and we meant it”; the one they always play that everybody is a bit sick of: “once in a generation”; and Douglas Ross did a cover of the less often played (because, it turns out, the lyrics are absolute nonsense): “independence didn’t feature on any of the SNP’s leaflets, and they never mentioned their plans for separation”.
For some reason, the medley of greatest hits didn’t include their recent single: “the Union is on the ballot paper” – I can only guess they were disappointed in its performance.
After the SNP won an overwhelming mandate for Scotland’s right to choose our own future, on a vote share higher than that of the UK Tories, Boris Johnson had the tenacity to shrug it off, ignore Scottish democracy and attempt to silence Scotland’s voice.
In his letter, Johnson said his government would “continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people” in 2014. But it seems they’re not going to uphold any of the democratic decisions that the Scottish people have made since 2016.
They won’t be upholding the Holyrood mandate and the general election mandate that the people of Scotland have given for another referendum. They won’t be upholding the overwhelming democratic decision of Scotland to remain in the EU, reinforced in the 2019 European elections. They won’t be upholding the votes of the Scottish Parliament that voted to withhold consent for Brexit and backed a new independence referendum. For Boris Johnson, Scottish democracy was a one-off in 2014 and Scotland should now be contained. Time to get back in your box, Scotland.
Johnson has confirmed that the UK is not a partnership of equals, but his casual dismissal of any carnation of Scottish democracy will only play into the hands of our independence movement in the long term.
The question that more and more people are asking is – if, in the apparently most successful union ever, there is no space for a distinctively Scottish viewpoint and the democratic will of Scotland is always overridden by the will of England, how can the UK ever work for Scotland?
The notion of “partnership of equals” falls apart every time the UK-wide parties discuss Scotland – they’re out of touch and don’t want to engage in the issues that Scotland cares about. Instead, they make out that the constitutional question is some fringe issue that’s being pushed by some barely-there movement on the margins of politics. It should be obvious by now that it isn’t working for them. But, alas, they continue to scoff and belittle independence supporters.
All of this, of course, pales in comparison to how offensive and ignorant Lisa Nandy’s comments were in her interview with Andrew Neil. Lisa Nandy stated that she wishes to look to overseas examples of how to deal with an uppity country wanting to get the governments it votes for, and highlighted the wonderful work that has been done in Catalonia to beat “divisive nationalism”. To be clear, that includes police brutality, and locking up political opponents.
The five electoral results I’ve listed above (which don’t include decisively winning a European election in 2019) show, as plain as day, that the Scottish people would much rather live in a thriving, independent, outward looking, European country, than an isolationist, right-wing Brexit Britain that has to take its begging bowl to Donald Trump to try and maintain GDP figures.
Enough is enough. We can do so much better as a more equal, more progressive, fairer, greener, independent country. It’s time.