This week in the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed her party’s priorities for the years ahead.
People and businesses are just beginning to recover from the impact of the pandemic, Scotland is gripped in a cost of living crisis, and frontline public services are facing huge cuts in the coming years. Tackling these issues should be the clear priority for any First Minister. But instead of spending the coming years focusing on the issues that really matter to the Scottish public, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will instead be focusing on holding an unwanted, divisive independence referendum.
And not only have the SNP confirmed that another referendum will be the overriding focus of their government in the coming years, we now know they are pushing forward with this referendum despite acknowledging it is potentially illegal. This referendum would divide our country straight down the middle all over again, and is the last thing that a majority of Scots want right now.
But worse than this, we know now that even if the SNP don’t get their way, and the Supreme Court rules that their proposed referendum is illegal, this still won’t stop the SNP’s relentless pursuit of a referendum. If this scenario, Sturgeon has confirmed she will treat the next general election as a pretend-referendum, and stand her party on a platform entirely focussed on an independence referendum.
It has long been clear that the SNP effectively exist as nothing more than a one issue pressure group – one that ended up in government seemingly by accident. But the SNP’s laughable plan to stand in the next general election on a platform entirely focussed on the question of Scottish independence confirms this beyond all doubt.
With the number of vital issues facing people up and down the country, Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement is hugely disappointing to the vast majority of the Scottish public who want to see a Scottish Government focussed on tackling the day-to-day issues that really matter. But while this announcement may be disappointing, it is wholly unsurprising.
Because this is just the latest example of this SNP Government completely taking their eye off the ball when it comes to dealing with the issues that they themselves are entirely responsible for. Issues such as Scotland’s drug deaths. Issues such as the waiting times crisis in our NHS. And issues such as closing the attainment gap between Scotland’s most-deprived and least-deprived pupils – to name just a few examples.
These are all devolved issues for which the SNP Scottish Government are entirely responsible. The relentless focus on a second independence referendum is nothing more than a smoke screen for their 15 years of failure on all these issues.
In the run-up to last year’s Scottish Elections, our party warned that the SNP would spend the next Parliamentary term relentlessly pursuing a second independence referendum through any means possible. And despite the SNP trying to claim that a vote for them was also a vote for a government that is focussed on Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic, this announcement has caused their mask to well and truly slip.
But just as before last year’s elections, we remain the only party truly willing to stand up to this nationalist coalition and their one-issue agenda, and the only party still strong enough to do so.
It’s time for the SNP to give it a rest, get back to the day job, and focus on the issues that the Scottish public rightly expect them to.