Nicola Sturgeon ran an election campaign that saw her message switch from a pro-independence campaign to an anti-Brexit one.
It delivered a successful election result for her party.
In fact, the SNP were so successful in becoming Scotland’s anti-Brexit party that they took the scalp of arguably the UK’s pro-remain figurehead, Jo Swinson.
But what is absolutely clear is that this is not a mandate for independence.
Before the votes were counted, the SNP was clear it was asking for your vote to stop Brexit, and to stop the Tories. Candidates may have used language like ‘Scotland’s right to choose’, but they soon stopped short of using the ‘i-word’ - with the vast majority of them dropping it from their literature and speeches in the final weeks of the campaign.
It was not a pro-independence message that was emblazoned across the SNP campaign bus, the podium and leaflets, but ‘STOP BREXIT’. It would be dishonest of Nicola Sturgeon to try and argue that votes cast on this basis gives her a mandate for another referendum, nor is it an endorsement of her record in Government.
It’s also clear that many voters felt they were let down by a Labour Party that was unable to stand firmly against Brexit, with many choosing to vote SNP to register their opposition to Brexit. Others were let down by the Labour Party’s failure to have a strong line against another unnecessary, divisive referendum on Scotland’s place in the UK in the foreseeable future.
What must be remembered is that despite the seats won, a majority of people in Scotland, 54 per cent, voted for pro-UK parties. This is in line with the latest polling data confirming that if there were a vote tomorrow Scotland would again vote to remain in the UK.
However, we know that the SNP will use this vote to try and further their relentless argument for a second referendum and breaking up Britain, regardless of the facts.
What we need now is for the majority of people throughout Scotland, from all walks of life, who believe that our future is stronger in the UK, to come together in order to reject the divisive nationalism that has become the scourge of Scotland.
By Pamela Nash, Chief executive of Scotland in Union
This article appeared in The Scotsman on 13/12/2019