Here we are again looking down the barrel of another independence referendum. Although Sturgeon might not really want to call one through fear of losing, she has certainly backed herself into a corner where calling IndyRef2 is more likely. Her hand not being forced by the Scottish public, the majority of Scots being against a second referendum, but by the members of the SNP. It is the nature of the beast and in their eyes independence “transcends” all other issues.
With so much of our MSP’s time preoccupied with arguing for and against independence other issues have fallen by the wayside. The Scottish economy is growing slower than the rest of the UK. Scottish schools once renowned for high standards have fallen in international league tables. Young people might be able to attend university for free but can’t get a job after graduating. The list goes on….
Devolution and the Scottish Parliament came into existence as a Labour scheme to fend of nationalism. In this it has failed spectacularly and has given nationalist in all parts of the UK a platform from which to be heard. Scots live constantly under the threat of IndyRef2. Northern Ireland’s executive is dysfunctional and only a year after being elected is heading back to the polls. There has also been a rise in English nationalism brought on by the West Lothian question.
Devolution of course didn’t happen without the consent of the people. Referendums were held before the creation of assemblies and the Scottish Parliament. The North East of England also had a referendum on having an assembly but voted ‘No’. In hindsight if it was known what problems and division devolution would cause we might have done likewise.
UKIP is a referendum party. We believe in the power of referenda. We campaigned 20 years to win a referendum on EU membership and continue to campaign to ensure the result. The result of a referendum should be respected. That goes for the EU referendum, Independence referendum and devolution referendums. The result of a referendum can’t simple be over turned or ignored. To do so would be to ignore the will of the people.
This is exactly what the SNP intend to do. By going a head with IndyRef2 they would be disrespecting the wishes of the Scottish people regardless of how they try to justify it. They argue that Brexit gives them a mandate to do so but this is only when they ignore the million Scots who voted leave and the fact that their independence white paper states the possibility of the UK leaving the EU. The Indy groups campaigned hard on that line in 2014. Polling carried out after the EU referendum has shown no increase in the support of having a second independence referendum, if anything there was a decrease. If the SNP are so keen on calling a second referendum then it shouldn’t be on independence but the Scottish Parliament and devolution.
The current devolution settlement has created division between the home nations and weakened the Union. Scottish Labour in an attempt to win back some of the unionist vote has suggested a new Act of Union. I believe this is the wrong direction. There is nothing wrong with our Union but there is everything wrong with devolution. Labour’s devolution has resulted in powers for some and not for others and confused the electorate about what they are voting for. This leaves us with two options. We can either scrap devolution which would be incredible difficult or reform devolution and make it work for the people, not the nationalists.