Catching Up

In recent weeks, it would have been easy to believe that Scotland was starting to move past the divisive debates of the past.

We had the much-vaunted Queensferry Crossing closed because of snagging issues, the BiFab yards saved after a dignified march on to Parliament by the workforce and a major debate broke out about whether taxes should go up.

We even had the surreal sight of a former party leader and MSP appearing in a celebrity TV show set in the Australian jungle. There never seems to be a dull moment in Scottish politics.

All the major issues of the day seemed to play out without any reference to the constitutional question which has dominated debate at Holyrood for the last few years.

Now, the independence debate has roared back on to the agenda with three stories today.

First, the Daily Record unveiled a poll which put support for independence at 47 per cent – still showing a majority for staying in the UK but there has been an increase in support for independence based on 2014.

Then we had more noise about the long-awaited Growth Commission, which some reports have insisted will be published early in the New Year and will form the basis of a new referendum drive.

And then the Brexit negotiations on the Irish border provided an opportunity for Nicola Sturgeon to drive a wedge in the process, and even claimed in a tweet this was evidence that we need independence to protect the national interests.

What does this tell us about Scotland’s future? It shows there is still uncomfortably strong, if minority, support for independence, leading nationalists are still determined to force a second vote and the uncertainty of Brexit makes the future hard to predict.

But even in these turbulent times, we can be pleased that the majority of Scots still see the value of being part of the UK.

The lack of official news about the Growth Commission – which was instituted more than a year ago when the SNP were in a stronger position electorally and it appears have been kicked into the long grass several times - suggests the government are still unsure how to play the economic argument.

And there is no doubt the Brexit progess presents just as many tough questions for nationalists as it does for everyone else.

Our main takeaway is this: we cannot afford an ounce of complacency as we go forward.  We need to remind people why we are better off in the UK and point out the contradictions and consequences of the claims of the nationalists.

If you don’t want dragged into another referendum on Scottish independence, make your voice heard. The more supporters we have behind our opposition to indyref2, the greater chance the nationalists will be forced to back down.

Pamela Nash

Chief Executive