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INVITING SUSPICION

November 13, 2019

The 2011 Fixed Term Parliament Act was supposed to bring stability to the UK, with Westminster elections held every five years. However, here we are now in the middle of the third General Election in less than five years. So much for stability!

 

The first snap election, in 2017, was a vanity project of then Prime Minister, Theresa May, who had a Parliamentary majority but wanted a bigger one so she wouldn’t be beholden to Brexiteers in her own party. It didn’t go to plan, as Mrs May’s majority vanished, and her Government had to be propped up by Northern Ireland’s DUP. She was eventually deposed by the very MPs she hoped to neutralise.

 

Now those hard-line Brexiteers, led by political weathervane Boris Johnson, managed to alienate their DUP partners and many in their own party over a Brexit deal that effectively moves the European Union (EU) border to the Irish Sea. Meanwhile, Scotland will be dragged out of the EU, despite 62% of Scots voting to remain.

 

Ironically, a big plank of the ‘No’ campaign in 2014 was that only by opposing independence would Scotland remain in the EU. Clearly, the opposite was true and so another independence referendum must happen next year.

 

Now we have, temporarily at least, stopped the threat of a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit, we are heading to the polls again as, having effectively expelled 23 Tory MPs, Mr Johnson was completely unable to govern. Voters will rightly decide where we go next, hoping that the next UK Government will do better than the last.

 

I am delighted to have been re-selected unopposed as SNP candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran and hope to be returned again to continue my work of representing constituents and standing up for their interests, whatever hue of government we get.

 

It is not looking good, however, for the UK parties as their election campaigns got off to a shaky start. Out of touch Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg began with offensive comments about the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, backed by his colleague, Andrew Bridgen MP. Both have since been forced to apologise.

 

Tory troubles didn’t end there. Both Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan and former Home Secretary Amber Rudd are among those who have had enough and won’t stand for re-election.

 

Crucially, the Tories have delayed publication of a report on alleged Russian interference in UK democracy until after the election even though it has gone through the standard security clearance process.

 

Ex-terrorism watchdog Lord Anderson said any further delay would "invite suspicion" of government motives in the run-up to next month's election. So what do the Tories have to hide?

 

Things are no better for Labour. Deputy Leader Tom Watson suddenly announced he will not contest next month’s election. They also had to ban four candidates for alleged misconduct, while they have yet to decide on Keith Vaz, an MP for 32 years recently suspended from Parliament over drugs and male prostitution allegations.

 

Meanwhile, former Labour MPs - 13 resigned during the last Parliament, including two Jewish MPs over allegations of Anti-Semitism - are falling over themselves to tell people not to vote Labour next month, such is their dislike of Mr Corbyn.

 

UK politics is broken. Whether the Tories get the majority they desperately crave, or we find ourselves with another hung parliament, Scotland could find our interests sidelined and ignored by the UK parties, who will pursue concerns that will not align with ours. That is why a strong SNP vote is crucial.

 

Whatever the outcome of this election, Scotland needs to take our future into our own hands.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

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