Article by our chief executive Pamela Nash, which first appeared in The Scotsman newspaper (24/07/2019).
Time will tell what type of Prime Minister Boris Johnson will become.
He may do better than we expect. To be honest it would be difficult not to - his campaign has been a masterclass in expectation management. Most are anticipating he will be a disaster.
Understandably, there is already concern about the decisions he will make in his new role, and particularly in Scotland.
There have been interesting indications about his commitment to keeping the UK together, including the creation of his new title as Minister of the Union, his commitment to Barnett, and growing the Scotland Office and the UK Government’s brand in Scotland. They say actions speak louder than words and, if this all goes ahead, he is certainly taking action.
However, in politics words are important too. This has far too often been his downfall. I don’t need to list his multitude of well-documented faux pas here. And it was hugely disappointing to hear some of his competitors in the leadership race use lazy language, that they would not ‘allow’ another referendum. That is not what this is about. Scotland does not want or need another referendum any time soon, and our Prime Minister should uphold this.
Let’s be clear, Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands. And Scotland chose to stay in the UK. Scotland being in charge of our own future does not mean regular referendums. Alex Salmond was right to say that this vote was ‘once in a generation’, otherwise we are permanently in a state of uncertainty and instability.
Boris Johnson must prioritise keeping the UK united, which means making the country work for all of its citizens and ensuring the people of Scotland want to remain part of the UK.
Predictably, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are already using his victory to launch yet another attempt to divide us, and the new Prime Minister must not rise to the Nationalists’ desperate grievance tactics or stoop to their level. We are stronger together as part of the UK.
Whatever your views on Boris Johnson, the very last thing Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum and more constitutional chaos.
Boris has long had his eye on this job. Let’s hope that he becomes the Prime Minister the country needs at this vital time.