Ab­surd stance of SNP

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - OPINION - North-east Conservative MSP

Dur­ing the EU ref­er­en­dum cam­paign last year, I was one of the very few mem­bers of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment to cam­paign pub­licly for a Leave vote and the only one in the north-east.

The en­tire Scot­tish po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment were proac­tively ar­gu­ing for Re­main. I tried my ut­most to make the pos­i­tive case for the UK to leave the EU, as I firmly be­lieved, and still be­lieve, that there are tre­men­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead.

This was a his­toric week with the UK Par­lia­ment fol­low­ing through on the demo­cratic will of the peo­ple and giv­ing the prime min­is­ter ap­proval to trig­ger Ar­ti­cle 50. I have been as­ton­ished by the in­creas­ingly flawed stance of the SNP, which is us­ing the re­sult to fos­ter fur­ther di­vi­sion with the rest of the UK and to ag­i­tate for a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

Fur­ther­more, our first min­is­ter seems happy to hail the 1.6mil­lion who voted to Re­main as “Scot­land’s voice”, but the over 1mil­lion here who voted Leave are por­trayed as un-Scot­tish and air­brushed out of the pic­ture.

The first min­is­ter con­ve­niently for­gets that amongst that mil­lion are around 400,000 of her own sup­port­ers – in­clud­ing for­mer cab­i­net sec­re­tary, Alex Neil, and a few bash­ful na­tion­al­ist MSPs, who are too scared to pub­licly ad­mit they went against the party line by vot­ing for Brexit.

Nowhere was this more true than Banff and Buchan, an SNP strong­hold where a ma­jor­ity voted to Leave. Rather than stand­ing up for those vot­ers who clearly wanted to Leave the EU, Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh White­ford voted against the trig­ger­ing of Ar­ti­cle 50 at West­min­ster, while Banff­shire and Buchan Coast MSP Ste­wart Steven­son did the same in a sym­bolic vote at Holy­rood.

That is a be­trayal of their own con­stituents.

Dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum, we were aware of the views of fish­er­men all over the UK, des­per­ate to get out of the EU due to the dev­as­ta­tion caused by the Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy. The SNP did not rep­re­sent those fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties in the ref­er­en­dum.

The SNP ul­ti­mately want an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land within the EU, but also talk of re­main­ing firmly within EU struc­tures with an un­work­able dif­fer­en­ti­ated deal. Not only would that stop our fish­er­men chart­ing a new course away from the dis­as­trous CFP, but it would pre­vent the in­dus­try as­sert­ing con­trol over its Exclusive Eco­nomic Zone.

The SNP want to keep us tied to the EU, which is ex­actly the op­po­site of what our fish­er­men voted for.

We are con­stantly hear­ing about the 1970s and ab­surd claims that the Tories will sell out the fish­ing in­dus­try.

Brexit Min­is­ter David Davis made it abun­dantly clear in the Com­mons the fish­ing in­dus­try would be pro­tected. In con­trast, the SNP would be­tray our fish­er­men by march­ing them out of the UK, back into the EU. We would be left in a po­si­tion where English fish­er­men would have full con­trol of their EEZ, while the Scots would be stuck with the cur­rent ar­range­ments that they voted against.

I think the prospect of a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, based on Scot­land break­ing away from the UK in or­der to re­main in the EU, will be a very dif­fi­cult ar­gu­ment for the SNP to make.

A sur­vey at the week­end also showed the views of Scots when it comes to the EU are not that dif­fer­ent to those from the rest of the UK. 45% of vot­ers quizzed north of the border dis­missed the EU as a “po­lit­i­cal gravy train” and a “waste of money”.

Most peo­ple were more con­cerned about the state of the NHS, our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and our econ­omy.

Fun­nily enough, that is ex­actly what the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives have been say­ing re­peat­edly at Holy­rood.

The SNP want to keep us tied to the EU, ex­actly the op­po­site of what our fish­er­men voted for

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