BY EFFIE DEANS
The SNP has been demanding a second referendum on Scottish independence from the moment it lost the first one. We never get a break. I began writing about Scottish politics in 2012. I was willing to be magnanimous when we won in 2014. I advised people not to gloat or rub it in. That we were all Scots together and now was the time to become united again. But it did no good. The division continued and we never moved on.
Every Scottish election is about independence. No one votes based on the Scottish Government’s performance on health, education or the economy. Even now the SNP is focused on the single issue that concerns them more even that the life and death of Scots who are ill in hospitals and care homes.
Many of us are stuck at home and we have time on our hands. The SNP is using this time to make up for the fact that Covid cancelled their planned indyref2 in 2020 so that they can repeat the same old demand that they have been making every day since 2014.
The SNP had a plan for independence that they released in 2013. It makes all sorts of claims that appear faintly ludicrous today, such as that there would be a currency union with the former UK and that every Scot would be hundreds of pounds a year better off because we’d have all the oil.
In 2018 the SNP came up with a new plan called “Scotland: the new case for optimism” written by the Sustainable Growth Commission. In many ways it was commendable in its honesty. It recognised that Scottish independence would require some difficult economic choices and that there would be a degree of austerity for the first decade or so after independence.
It stated that an independent Scotland could not begin with any debt of its own but would pay 5 billion a year to the former UK.
It argued that Scotland would use the pound unilaterally but would have its own central bank even though interest rates and other monetary policy would be determined by the Bank of England with no input from Scotland. The assumption was that Scotland would use the pound in this way for many years.
It should be obvious that Covid has destroyed this plan. How many years of austerity would be needed now Mr Growth Commission?
The SNP in effect is arguing that in May 2021 hopefully when the Covid pandemic is over, there would be an election for the Scottish Parliament where the SNP would have in its manifesto a firm commitment to a second independence referendum. If they won a majority at Holyrood they would go to Boris Johnson and demand permission to hold a referendum.
What this means is that the SNP right now thinks that it can demand that the Chancellor pays Scottish wages and keeps our businesses going for as long as we choose to remain in lockdown, but all along we are plotting to walk away and renege on the debt that been taken out on our behalf.
The SNP appear to think that after the Scottish banks were bailed out in 2008 and after the jobs of 374,000 Scots were protected by the Chancellor that even under these circumstances they can continue their conspiring and that it will be just up to us if we want to say “cheerio suckers, you English can continue for generations paying back the debts that kept us fed, but we’re away.”
We are in the worst crisis since the Second World War and suffering the worst pandemic for 100 years, but still the SNP while preaching equality can never get beyond its own selfishness.
We are relying on the British transport network to deliver food to Scottish supermarkets and Scottish homes. It is British retailers who are making sure that there are no longer shortages. It is British expertise in science and technology that is being shared freely within Britain that is keeping us safe and well. It is the fact that the Bank of England is trusted that means we can afford to borrow enough to look after everyone. The British armed forces are guarding our borders and ready to step in if there is any emergency. Yet the SNP looks on all this help with contempt and won’t even give it any credit.
There would have been enough uncertainty this year even if there had been no Covid. We have left the EU and the transition period may end without a deal. There may be a second wave of Covid this winter and it may be worse than the one we are experiencing now. Education both in schools and universities is uncertain. Hardly any of us has a safe job now. Covid will change the way we work and some of us will have to learn new skills because pre-Covid jobs may have ceased to exist.
We may go through one wave of Covid, or two or three, but when it is finished everyone will be needed to put our country back together again. The focus in Government will be on renewal, rebuilding and getting people back to work. No one, but no one is going to have any time whatsoever for the SNP and its increasingly ludicrous demands.
How much time and effort would be needed to unpick Britain so that the SNP could go it alone? We talked of nothing else for three years in order to leave the EU. Does anyone fancy going through that sort of division and worse in Scotland?
It is high time that BBC Scotland began to realise that it would cease to exist if Scotland became independent. It should act accordingly and remember what the first B stands for. It’s high time the rest of us realised that if England at the beginning of this Covid crisis had said that we’re unilaterally declaring independence, then Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland would have had no wages, no food and no electricity with which they could have broadcast that they were staying in lockdown and keeping a “Stay home” slogan they didn’t even invent.
When Covid is over we will all need a break and a long holiday from Scottish nationalism. Let the SNP pay back every penny of their share of the National debt before they get another go. That would at least stop them Welshing or should that be Scottishing on it. That should scotch them.
The excellent Effie Deans writes at Lily of St. Leonard’s here.