This is a single-issue election. Quite understandably, for most across the UK, this is the Brexit election. This is a chance to resolve what is potentially the single worst constitutional crisis in living memory. A chance which the polls suggest will be wholeheartedly rejected, as the British public endorse the right-wing, extremist charade which passes for today’s Conservatives and continue to plummet off the Brexit cliff edge.
In Scotland however, there is a different issue, an issue which the Tory and Labour parties would quite like you to forget about. For us, this is about the chance to choose our own future.
Tactical voting is something which many people appear to be considering, ready to put party loyalty aside to focus on ideology. MSP Annie Wells recently urged Scottish Labour supporters to back the Conservatives in December, asking them to “please help us send Sturgeon a message that we do not want to be divided anymore”. This is an interesting statement from the party responsible for the entire Brexit debacle, all the uncertainty which has arisen since, the divisive and hateful rhetoric coming from her boss and which delivered a decade of damaging and fatal austerity policies. But aye, you crack on with telling us who’s being divisive Annie.
Scottish Labour told her where she could stuff her election pact before claiming that only they could prevent Scotland from seeking independence. Because that’s what Scottish politics is like, we sit here and listen to the UK parties telling us they won’t ‘allow’ a second referendum. Telling us we already made up our minds on the independence question and ignoring the hypocrisy of the fact that most of them advocate for a second referendum on Europe. Telling us we’re ‘too wee, too poor, too stupid’.
We have every right to demand another referendum, the United Kingdom we were promised in 2014 is dead in a ditch somewhere near Carlisle, having never made it across the border. We were promised the only way to guarantee EU membership was to vote no. We were told to ‘lead the UK, not leave it’ and yet our MPs are jeered at, laughed at and ignored in the shambolic and shameful institution which is the House of Commons. Democracy means having the ability to change your mind, by the same logic should this next general election be the last? Whoever gets the keys to number 10 after 12 December should just keep them forever, right? Of course not, that is an absurd statement and utterly indefensible, so too with regards to Scotland’s right to choose. Refusing us a legally binding referendum is not a sustainable position, it is undemocratic, and it reeks of fear.
Johnson, Corbyn and Swinson know we will likely vote ‘yes’ this time and they know – though they refuse to admit it – that Scotland sustains the United Kingdom. We are home to 90% of the UK’s total freshwater, 96% of the crude oil and 63% of the natural gas, 25% of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resources. We exported enough electricity to power more than 1.1 million homes in the first three months of 2019. Johnson claims we are the most highly taxed part of the UK, that England subsidises us when it is in fact the other way around. We’re not concerned about unionist tactical voting because it is getting harder and harder to make a valid case for the union. Scottish independence is a wholly positive and uplifting movement. Our north star is our concrete, hopeful case for a Scotland which can make its own decisions and for a government which is truly accountable to its people. Does that really sound so bad?
Image: Calum Hutchinson via Wikipedia Commons