Ian Blackford MP: Five years since the independence referendum, Scotland is still being treated with contempt
Reflecting five years on from the referendum on Scottish Independence, Ian Blackford MP writes that "the people of Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit chaos being imposed on us by a broken and bleak Westminster system".
Today marks the 5th year anniversary of the referendum on Scottish Independence – and what a five years it has been. So much has changed. In 2014 people in Scotland were told by the Better Together campaign that the only way to guarantee Scotland’s place in Europe was to reject independence. How hollow that claim now rings as Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against its will by an extreme Tory government at Westminster that we didn’t elect.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, a majority of Scotland’s MPs have voted against a no deal Brexit, as have a majority of MSPs at Holyrood. Yet, despite that, Scotland’s voice has counted for nothing as the UK Government ploughs on ahead, taking us closer and closer to the cliff edge of a no deal Brexit, which would be a catastrophe for Scotland and the whole UK.
It is clearer than ever that the Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it. But they will have to face the verdict of the people, probably quite soon, and when that happens they are likely to pay a heavy price for their arrogance.
Treating Scotland with contempt, silencing our voices and sidelining our interests has not gone unnoticed. We have already seen in the latest polls that support for independence is growing – as is support an independence referendum.
Those same polls show that a majority of people across the UK, not just Scotland, believe that we have the right to decide its own future.
No Westminster government, of any party, has the right to stand in the way of the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future. And a win for the SNP in any forthcoming election will only reinforce that.
Make no mistake, Scotland now faces a serious and growing threat from Westminster. This is the most dangerous UK Government in modern times. The Vote Leave Brexit fan boys running things in Number 10 don’t care about Scotland. Instead they are determined, at all costs, to exit the EU – deal or no deal. The Prime Minister has undermined democracy at every turn, acting no better than a dictator by stifling democracy and shutting down parliament to prevent MPs from doing our job and scrutinising his Brexit shambles.
Countless thousands of job losses, disruption to medicine supplies and food shortages will be the reality of Boris’ Brexit Britain if we are forced out of the EU without a deal on the 31st October. But any form of Brexit will be deeply damaging for Scotland and the whole of the UK.
Despite the SNP and the Scottish Government’s efforts to compromise and to work on a cross party basis to protect citizens from Brexit, the UK Government has, throughout the entire process since 2016, completely ignored the wishes of the Scottish people. It is no wonder that support for independence is at record levels. The choice is now abundantly clear –being part of a broken Brexit Britain or choosing to take our place as an equal, independent European nation, determined to deliver economic growth, stability and opportunity.
Today, the First Minister of Scotland is in Berlin meeting with our European partners hoping to forge a way forward to protect people across these islands from the catastrophe threatened by Brexit. Meanwhile, I am campaigning in Glasgow, with young people who didn’t get a say in 2014 and who are now demanding a say on their future and a fresh choice on independence. The people of Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit chaos being imposed on us by a broken and bleak Westminster system. Our message 5 years on from Indyref1 is –Scotland demands and deserves the opportunity to choose our own future.
Ian Blackford is Scottish National Party MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.