CAROLINE ANSELL MP: My dismay over a second Scotland referendum

It was with a sinking heart I heard Nicola Sturgeon speak about her desire to call a second Scottish Independence referendum earlier this week.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:09 am
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001

My family came from Scotland and I am a passionate about the union - the most successful joining together of two countries in history - and one that has, so far at least, lasted for more than 300 years.

But I’m not surprised; for nationalists, it was never a ‘once in a generation event’ - they’ll be referendum-ready forever.

Brexit - on this occasion - has provided the catalyst, and to be fair, Brexit does represents significant change.

But behind all the politics and nationalist bluster, Mrs Sturgeon has done something to harm everyone in these islands.

To seek permission to hold a referendum before Brexit negotiations have even begun, and to want to run that referendum before a deal is even brokered, weakens us and tells you everything you need to know about the priorities of the Scottish Nationalist Party.

But putting aside any sentiment around independence, in economic terms, it is extraordinary to me that they value the single market of the UK so little, which at 60 per cent of their exports, dwarfs their EU exports currently hovering around 15 per cent.

Their economic credibility was shot through back in 2014, in ‘IndyRef 1’, when they made the case for that ‘brighter, independent Scotland’, fuelled by North Sea oil revenues only for their position to crash.

What a near miss for the Scottish people!

It was a disaster avoided when they voted to stay in the Union.

In her heart, in her political DNA, the idea of an independent Scotland will always shine, and that after all is the core purpose of her party, but her stated ambition - to leave the United Kingdom and cling to the European Union - should instead be in her party’s manifesto and be put to the Scottish people at the next general election.

I admire the First Minister for her zeal, but I cannot help think she would do better to bring all her energy to bear on delivering good public services for the Scottish people, and properly take up the devolved powers already at her disposal.

It’s Disney to expect it, but also for her to work for the best deal from the EU for the UK would also be good.