FM’s crocodile tears and Borderers’ fears

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The majority of Borderers would have been dismayed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum.

She’d have us all believe that, despite campaigning her whole life for separation, she was only reluctantly calling for a re-run of the vote because she had been forced into it. I’m not sure how many people will have been fooled by her crocodile tears.

I’m angry with her because she has now given up any pretence of being First Minister for the whole of Scotland.

Poll-after-poll shows support for separation is roughly the same, if not lower, than before the European Union referendum. Poll-after-poll shows clearly that Scots do not want another divisive referendum on our place in the UK.

The First Minister could be getting down to the important business of improving our public services. But the temptation to have another go has proved too much. And the SNP has gone back on its word that the independence referendum was a once-in-a-generation event and gone back on its word to respect the outcome of the 2014 vote.

In the arguments of last week, it was Premier Theresa May who was standing up for the wishes and interests of Scotland by ruling out a second vote before Brexit.

The Borders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the UK back in 2014 and I see no evidence that people have changed their minds. Indeed, the sense I have got over the last few weeks and months is that, if anything, the Borders is moving towards a more firmly pro-UK position.

The impact of leaving the UK would be hardest felt here, where people regularly travel and work south of the border. The SNP’s intention to pursue a separate immigration policy and to be part of the EU single market means a hard border is inevitable. Putting up barriers between us and our largest market makes no sense and it would be a disaster for businesses and residents in this region.

What the majority of Scots want is for the SNP to focus on getting the best deal for Scotland as we leave the EU, but also for the SNP to focus on its day job.

Improving our schools, supposedly the SNP’s number one priority, is needed in the Borders more than anywhere else. The attainment gap is one of the highest in Scotland and teacher numbers have plummeted. Pupils, parents and teachers are being let down by a government obsessed with separation from the UK at any cost. And the SNP’s record in other areas – such as health, policing and economic growth – is similarly poor.

It’s hardly surprising when everything the nationalists do is about independence.

As a side note, I’ve been contacted by so many concerned residents over the past few weeks that I have decided to host two public information meetings in Kelso and Melrose next week. Further details can be found on my website – www.johnlamont.org.

LAMONT