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Keith Howell: What Scotland in Union means to me

As a floating voter, in the past I could not claim to be very politically engaged. That all changed in the 2014 independence referendum campaign. Amongst other things I became concerned about the way the SNP government was knowingly seeking to mislead people, and felt I needed to speak out about that. Since then, despite a clear result in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK, the SNP reaction has been to simply look for new ‘triggers’ to try to justify a referendum rerun.

As someone who is not a member of a political party, it is all the more important to me that there is an organisation that can represent the case for Scotland’s positive place in the UK. Since its launch, Scotland in Union has provided a crucial focal point for all who value being a part of the UK, just as much as they recognise all the benefits of being amongst those who call Scotland their home.

Over the last ten years, the Scottish government of the SNP, led firstly by Alex Salmond, and now Nicola Sturgeon, has attempted to emphasize differences with the rest of the UK, trying to build a case for separation based above all else on a deep sense of unjustified or exaggerated grievance. While each of the pro-UK political parties has an important role to play in responding to that, it is crucial that there is a broad based, non-party aligned, active campaign to counter the SNP’s divisive tactics. It is not enough to simply focus effort during election campaigns. The SNP relentlessly seeks to dominate the news agenda, with a negative spin on anything and everything that the UK government tries to do. Scotland in Union speaks up for Scotland’s place in the UK, with its growing presence online, in social media, at special events and through its campaigns. Whether in meetings, with its street stalls, or posters, and on social media, Scotland in Union’s presence encourages ordinary people like me to remember how many are equally determined to do all that they can to strengthen, rather than weaken, Scotland’s place within the UK.

If it were not for Scotland in Union, many might feel overwhelmed by the daily drip-feed of the SNP’s misleading attempts to equate themselves with Scotland, as they arrogantly claim to speak for us all in relation to what we think about everything from Brexit to the UK.

The respectful and positive tone of Scotland in Union’s contributions, also means they are treated seriously by the media who now often look to them for reactions to relevant developments, again encouraging us all that the SNP cannot simply drive the news agenda to suit themselves.

Above all else, Scotland in Union has given a voice to a majority who might otherwise be intimidated into silence. I thank them for that and will continue to do all I can to support their continuing campaigns to speak for the best of what Scotland can be within the UK.

- Keith Howell


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