At a dinner held earlier this week by Reaction, at which Ruth Davidson MSP kindly agreed to be the guest speaker, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives said something with crystal clarity and coherence that cannot be said too often: The SNP is not Scotland.
It is worth mentioning this particularly now that the Scottish parliament has voted to seek a second referendum on Scottish independence. MSPs voted by 69 to 59 votes (the Greens voting with the SNP) to seek talks with the UK government on preparing a referendum. With the SNP presenting this vote as somehow the will of the Scottish people (it isn’t) there is a danger that Scotland and the SNP become jumbled in the public consciousness.
We’ve seen this in recent weeks in the media with some headlines declaring that Scots were seeking something or Scots were annoyed. No, the SNP has the support of a lot of Scots but far from all of them and not yet a majority, a reality which drives them bananas. This Holyrood vanity vote is simply the SNP leadership seeking another grievance in pursuit of its sole and longstanding aim – that is breaking up the UK – and trying to make independence look inevitable, which it is not. Meanwhile, the economic case for it is even worse than it was in 2014 when the Scots voted by a healthy 10 point margin to stay in the UK.
That was back in the distant days two and a half years ago when the SNP said that the last referendum was once in a generation and Sturgeon when under fire added that the Scottish parliament would only go for it again if there was a clear demand from a majority of Scots for independence. There isn’t.