Obsessive Scottish nationalists, it seems, don't understand 'no'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 August, 2015, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 August, 2015, 4:37pm

At a Foreign Correspondents' Club breakfast, our Scottish first minister told her audience that the Scottish independence referendum last year could offer lessons to Hong Kong on political engagement.

Nicola Sturgeon's predecessor, Alex Salmond, called our referendum an exemplar for others to follow. I do urge all to reflect on the reality we faced here in Scotland, which is very different to that which was conveyed.

The Scottish government started the process by securing a slanted question, giving them the advantage of the "yes" answer and aiding their strategy of portraying their opponents as negative.

Faced with the harsh economic realities of independence, the Scottish government put out a 650-page official white paper, which was, in truth, largely a nationalist manifesto filled with fantasy economics.

In particular, they included oil revenue assumptions that were never remotely possible, which subsequent oil-price falls have further exposed.

For the two to three years of campaigning preceding the vote, a vociferous hardcore of nationalist supporters ran a campaign of intimidation online and on our streets that continues to this day, with any critic of the nationalists facing abuse.

Then finally came that democratic vote that our first minister mentioned. In the run-up to the polling day, both Sturgeon and Salmond urged their supporters to get out and vote, saying this would be a once-in-a-generation opportunity. The result was clear, as 55 per cent voted no. The country sighed and hoped life could return to normal.

But no, the nationalist leadership, now led by Sturgeon, will not accept the result or the need for the country to see normality return. Rather, they hold the threat of another vote over us.

Less than a year later, there is talk among the nationalist leadership of including a second referendum in their manifesto for next year's Scottish elections, making this the shortest "generation" on record.

Meanwhile, because of the Scottish government's preoccupation over many years with breaking up our country, we suffer the consequences in poor performance and lack of resources in health, education and emergency services.

So much for our first minister's belief in democracy. So much for her duty of care for the well-being of the people of Scotland. For the nationalists, the ideology of separation always comes first.

Keith Howell, West Linton, Peeblesshire, Scotland