An independence referendum needs to be the very last thing on Sturgeon’s thoughts

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The author is chief of the Scottish Labour get together

When the primary minister of Scotland entered the chamber of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, saying plans to carry an independence referendum on October 19 2023 was not her foremost intention.

Eager observers of Scottish politics will know that final week’s assertion was actually about one factor: positioning the Scottish Nationwide get together for the subsequent UK normal election.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, and Nicola Sturgeon are usually not polar opposites — the truth is, they’re in a symbiotic relationship, counting on one another to take care of the political established order that retains them in energy.

The folks of Scotland are dealing with a price of residing disaster not like any now we have seen in recent times, and our financial system, nonetheless reeling from the injury of the pandemic, is lagging behind different components of the UK.

The challenges earlier than the Scottish authorities couldn’t be higher — nor may the chance to deal with poverty, assist companies and kick-start our financial system.

However as a substitute of rising to face these challenges, the SNP is returning to the arguments of the previous and sowing division to distract from the chaos and failures of their authorities.

Slightly than coping with the burning problems with the day, now we have two governments feeding off each other and attempting to tear communities aside for political achieve — however you can not play politics whereas folks’s lives and livelihoods are within the stability.

For the reason that final elections to the Scottish parliament in Could 2021, nearly 5,000 folks have died of Covid — 51 up to now week. There are over 700,000 Scots on an NHS ready checklist, with over 10,000 kids and younger folks in line for a psychological well being appointment. And, as of final week, there have been nearly 20,000 fewer companies in Scotland than when the pandemic started.

Final month, the Financial institution of England warned that inflation may attain 11 per cent — which means increased payments and a deepening value of residing disaster.

However slightly than specializing in the restoration and rebuilding our financial system and public companies, Sturgeon is extra involved with making the SNP related in a normal election.

By pledging to make the subsequent normal election a “de facto” referendum on Scottish independence, Sturgeon is sending a transparent message to the folks of Scotland: in case you care concerning the NHS, your baby’s training or supporting companies — don’t vote SNP.

Scottish politicians ought to aspire to be extra than simply barely higher than Johnson and the Tories. However for that to occur, we have to have a political management targeted on the folks’s priorities and on our nationwide restoration from the pandemic.

By the way, that is what the SNP promised to do within the Scottish election final 12 months. At that time, we had been nonetheless residing below Covid restrictions. Over 10,000 of our fellow residents had misplaced their lives.

Sturgeon stated throughout her marketing campaign that individuals who didn’t assist a referendum or independence by means of the restoration ought to vote for her, protected within the information {that a} referendum wouldn’t be her precedence.

Quick ahead to now and our post-pandemic restoration hasn’t even began. However the Sturgeon who stated she needed to drag us by means of is gone and the Sturgeon who desires to divide our nation is again — pursuing a referendum that over half of Scots don’t want at this second.

The primary minister is utilizing her electoral victory final 12 months to pursue a politics of division. However the folks of Scotland deserve so significantly better.

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