Plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, announced by Nicola Sturgeon last month, come straight out of the SNP playbook. Rather than effectively govern a country with recently devolved powers, Sturgeon aims only to distract through dividing a nation and blaming Scotland’s problems on the Westminster elite. Scotland should wake up and realise that a second referendum is poor democracy, fails to benefit anyone but the SNP, and wrongly suggests Scots are susceptible to having the wool pulled over their eyes.
I firmly believe that referendums are a bad idea. The only reason they have come into regular use recently is because politicians are having a hard time pushing their badly designed ideas through well-established bodies that aim to scrutinise their plans. Britain is a representative democracy for a reason. In Parliament, not only would an issue like Brexit never be agreed without a plan, but amendments are possible and the details are discussed. Big questions aren’t ever going to be adequately answered by a yes or no and we should stop pretending otherwise. Binary votes create division, anger, and unnecessarily simplify an intricate and difficult problem.
Nicola Sturgeon claims to want to lead Scotland down a different path to that of post-Brexit Britain; more referendums are the wrong way of going about it. Sturgeon should show the world how to govern, not how to divide. Scotland has the chance in this election to demonstrate to the rest of Britain how democracy should be done - not quickly so no one realises the implications of plans and policies, but proudly and openly, upholding the values that our British constitution has preserved beautifully for hundreds of years. Representative democracy works. It provides a voice for citizens, it provides a forum for reasoned debate, and allows implementation of the will of the people without ignoring millions immediately after the votes are tallied.
The SNP are well-versed in poor policy. Last year, plans were introduced to merge the British Transport Police north of the border with Police Scotland. The police force that protects the safety of the public, and is already entirely devolved, would cease to exist, as would its specific expertise. These plans were met with complete disagreement by all involved. Not one letter sent in from officers or staff supports the merger. Bodies from the BTP itself to the unions who represent its officers and Scottish train drivers have all voiced concern over public safety. The merger will cause a loss in special expertise in dealing with terrorism, suicides, and cable theft. The BTP Deputy Chief found they had "not been able to identify any operational or economic benefits". So why are the SNP pushing such a poor policy? It's time for the SNP to focus on what matters and stop this endless centralisation for centralisation's sake.
I support no. No to referendums, no to under-the-counter democracy, and no to yet again mishandling a nation that has had enough with politicians too busy thinking that the problems of the present can be solved with a rhetoric-filled patriotic campaign rather than focusing on actual solutions for the future. Sturgeon needs to realise that if Scotland leaves the UK then she can no longer pin the nation’s real problems on Westminster. The issues Scotland face will not be solved by independence but by good government. The increasing income inequality, the falling offshore revenues, the health service with ever-failing waiting times – these are being ignored for the political gain of a single party. Supporting independence has given the SNP the ability to solve these problems by winning them votes, now is the time to realise that 2014 has come and gone and the problems Scotland faced aren’t going away.
The NHS in Scotland receives a higher per-capita spend than England and yet ranks two places below in European rankings. It’s no surprise as waiting times continue to increase, with a target to treat 90 percent of patients within 18 weeks being missed continually not to mention the failure to meet the legal obligation for patients’ treatment to start within 12 weeks of it being agreed by a specialist. The SNP has to answer for these problems, and stop distracting the country with talk of another referendum. They argue that they can’t solve Scotland’s problems because they don’t have sufficient power – they’ve had control over the NHS for nine years, but the independent Scottish watchdog found the NHS is not only failing to improve, it’s going backwards. The issue is not lack of power, it is lack of competent governance.
The problems don’t stop with healthcare. Scotland’s economic growth is at a third of the UK level, the rate of company formation in Scotland is way below the overall British rate, and house prices are rising more slowly than England or Wales. The idea that leaving Britain to join the EU will solve this is categorically untrue; Europe accounts for only around 18 percent of Scotland’s trade, compared with 50 percent for the UK. If you voted remain in order to retain economic stability, it would then be hypocritical and short-sighted to vote yes in yet another Scottish independence referendum. Don’t let the SNP get away with Brexit or independence as an excuse for more years of poor economic stewardship.
On June 8, we all have our say in where our country will go in the coming years. Make the SNP realise that good governance, economic growth, and a well-functioning NHS are worth more to you than another attempt to divide Scotland. A referendum held with good intentions for the good of Scotland should be welcomed, but this is not that referendum. This is a distraction and a division, good for nothing but Nicola Sturgeon’s career. On June 8, we should vote in MPs that truly focus on what's important for every voter and don’t treat democracy like a joke.