Scotland in Union (SIU) meeting on 28/9/18 Westhill, Aberdeen. You know it’s the speakers and the topic that are the draw when over 50 people turn out on a Friday night despite there being only tea and coffee on offer. This was the case in Westhill near Aberdeen on 28th September when Andrew Bowie MP and Mike Rumbles MSP made a positive case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.
It was worth sacrificing a Friday evening to hear their entertaining and informative individual views and then a very successful double act (or triple act if you include the audience) for the Q&A session. After the introduction by SIU's regional organiser Allan Sutherland, Andrew Bowie made the case for Brand Britain as being a positive thing in the eyes of the rest of the world and that Scotland is a big part of that.
His description of the SNP being like a wounded animal with no sense of humour following indyref went down well. He said that their strategy was now all about ‘playing the man not the ball,' stressing that all the other parties want to get on with the business of bettering the country and with confidence returning to N.E Scotland, the last thing we need is more uncertainty.
Mr Bowie warned that complacency is our biggest enemy as the SNP are very good at appealing to the emotion of their followers. He also believed that unionists using a sense of humour was very annoying to the SNP as they constantly try to appear as representing a nation of aggrieved victims.
Mr Rumbles pointed out the similarities between the SNP and the other nationalist and populist movements in Europe and elsewhere, saying that the SNP like to think that they are different, but aren’t, and that we unionists need to make an emotive case for the Union as well as to contest the deliberately misleading and erroneous ‘facts’ that the SNP put out.
He also described the wide range of political opinion within the SNP ranging from far left to far right. They are united by one thing - and that is that every party policy is subservient to the aim of independence. Hence, their intolerance of elected members who contest the official party line. Both speakers contrasted the open discussion in other parties, with MPs and MSPs able to vote against their party line, with the intolerance in the SNP. They gave several examples of how despite getting, then not using, devolved power, they also failed to further devolve power from Holyrood to the local authorities.
There were many excellent questions from the audience, mainly themed on the SNP's failures on the deficit, in education, infrastructure, agriculture, and half-baked policies for defence and security in the event of independence.
A recurring theme was the ability of the Scottish Government to get away with quoting inaccurate or misleading statistics which differ from there own official stats because the media and opposition were not doing enough to expose this. Again, this was contrasted with enhanced democracy resulting from scrutiny focussed on the Westminster government.
Allan Sutherland also reminded the audience of the Nat Fact Checker on the SIU website and encouraged them to become active in support of the Union and SIU in particular.
We would like to thank the speakers, organisers and everyone who took the time to attend our event.
Scotland in Union are holding another speaking event on Thursday 4th October in Stirling, click here for tickets and more information.
You can also view our upcoming events section on our website, click here.