Jim O’Neill says he doesn’t want to be ripped out of Europe or out of the UK, and it’s time our leaders got on with running the country.

 

I am a European, I am a Brit and I am a Scot. I have lived for almost 40 years in Ayrshire, so that would make me an Ayrshireman too. I don’t see any conflict in these positions. Indeed, it can be argued that the suborning of petty nationalism into the European project has helped keep the peace in Europe since 1945. Further, the swift response of a united Europe to issues in Bosnia clearly prevented a Third Balkan War. (For those who hated history at school, the first two Balkan Wars were key causes of the First World War.)

But now Theresa May and the Tories are trying to rip me out of Europe, and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are trying to rip me out of the UK. Stop the bus, I want to get off. Granted that Labour at Westminster were weak in opposing Brexit and are only now (possibly too late) hardening their stance, Labour in Scotland have always been strong in opposing another independence referendum, a referendum that all the polls say Scots don’t want. But Nicola isn’t listening.

So, what happened last Tuesday? The call for Indyref2 went through on a 69-59 vote with the Greens, who are becoming more and more Nicola’s lapdogs, overturning a promise made during their election campaign to oppose one until a million voters supported it. Indeed, they have said that they could not support any party who supported more drilling for oil, blindly ignoring the SNP support for the new drilling west of the Faroes, and the central part oil plays in the SNP’s budget for an independent Scotland.

Two days later, I saw something new at First Minister’s questions. It is not unusual for a Prime Minister or a First Minister to plant questions with their backbenchers so that they can get a cheer, or indeed seal-like applause from their supporters. On Thursday I saw, for the first time, a planted question being asked by a so-called opposition leader. It is no wonder that Nicola responded to Patrick Harvie, for it was he, with “I absolutely agree with Patrick Harvie”. Of course you do, since you clearly had asked the ersatz SNP’s leader to ask you those questions. Harvie didn’t even pretend he was making up the question on the spot as he read the pre-prepared questions from a crib sheet. Shame on you, Mr Harvie.

And what of Nicola’s staged picture and totally unnecessary letter about Indyref2 to Theresa May? The silly “laid back” picture, along with the handing the letter in to Downing Street to mirror the handing of the Article 50 letter to Donald Tusk (a requirement of the Treaty of Lisbon) just made her look artificial in the eyes of many. A stunt that worked like a damp squib.

One of the main rationales for the creation of the Scottish Parliament was that it was so difficult to get time for legislation that impacted solely on Scotland through the House of Commons. Under Labour, the Scottish Parliament passed a series of world leading pieces of legislation, including anti-smoking legislation, free bus passes, free care for the elderly and much more. The SNP has not brought a new piece of legislation before the Scottish Parliament in over a year. This confirms what we alleged last year, that they have run out of steam; but when they are failing on so many indicators in health, education, roads etc., surely someone in their ranks has an idea for legislation other than on Indyref2?

What have the great minds of John Swinney, Nicola Sturgeon, BFF Shona Robinson or Humza Yousaf come up with to improve the lot of the Scottish people? They cannot even make a decision on fracking. These people are paid to improve all our lives, not just to manage a genteel decline in our living standards. It’s about time they got on with the day job.