The SNP/Green Scottish Government has launched yet another campaign to break up the UK. Nicola Sturgeon has published the first in what will be a series of papers on independence with the stated intention of making the substantive case.
Rather bizarrely, the nationalists have chosen a small number of countries to point at and compare the UK to (not a separate Scotland), highlight where they are doing better than the UK, and say that we could do that too by leaving the UK.
They are not able to make the argument of how this would be achieved and fail to mention the significant differences between us and each of these handpicked countries and of the role of recent and current governments in their current economic and social success.
They do not set out why they have chosen these countries and not other countries of similar size, so it must be concluded that the criteria was simply if the country fitted the argument they are making this week.
Remember, they have had lists of comparator countries in the past, the list seems to change to suit the campaign of the day.
That the Scottish Government has chosen now to launch this campaign shows how wildly out of touch its politicians are with the people of Scotland. Polling commissioned by Scotland in Union shows only 29% agree that there should be a referendum next year, and similar polling can be seen elsewhere, yet they are ploughing ahead regardless.
That it is the Government publishing these documents, and not the political parties, the SNP and the Greens, should be noted. To be clear, this means Government resources are being used to research, write and distribute these papers; we are paying for this project.
The SNP and the Greens say this is okay as they have a mandate. Many will remember that live on television just before the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election, Nicola Sturgeon reassured voters that even if they did not want independence, or even a referendum, they should still vote for the SNP. Yet immediately after the election result, and again this week, Nicola claimed those votes as a mandate for indyref2.
This is their justification for spending our tax and the talented staff resources they have at their disposal for making a case for a referendum that two-thirds of Scotland do not want, when those valuable resources could be used to help tackle the big issues of the day: resolving the ongoing issues in the NHS; helping people navigate the cost-of-living crisis; funding local services.
They have a mandate to do all of this, yet they do not.
Having a mandate for scrapping the Council Tax, maintaining police budgets, and hitting emissions targets to tackle Climate Change has not inspired the SNP to tackle these issues, yet it will spend much of its time and our resources to campaign yet again to break up the UK.
So many of us are so tired of this. Of course we want to live in a country that is wealthier, happier and fairer. Why doesn’t the Scottish Government use all the power it currently has at its disposal and make that happen now? And our ambition for this wealthier, happier fairer country does not stop at Gretna, let’s make that happen for all of us across the UK, and throughout the world, rather than just in our own wee corner of it.
We have a stronger future in the UK, and our influence on the rest of the world is stronger through the UK. Let’s use it for good.
By Pamela Nash, Chief Executive of Scotland in Union.