Brexit hardliners will damage Scotland to please Tory shires

More than a week has passed since the European elections, which saw Scotland send a clear and unequivocal message that we reject Brexit and want to stay at the heart of Europe.

I’m grateful to everyone who put their trust in the SNP. Thanks to your support we won a historic victory – our best ever result and the highest vote share of any party in the UK.

Once again, the election result sent an overwhelming message that Scotland will not be dragged out of the EU against our will – and we will not be ignored any more.

But if you read the papers over the past week, you would be forgiven for thinking that Westminster still doesn’t get it.

Instead of listening, the Tories and Labour have continued to treat Scotland with contempt.

They still aren’t getting the message – and, if more evidence was needed that Scotland will never be treated as an equal partner in the UK, we have seen it in droves this past week.

With Theresa May on her way out and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party riding high in the polls in England, the Tory leadership contest has become a race to the bottom as candidates seek to outdo each other lurching to the extremes.

All of the main contenders for the Tory leadership are hardline Brexiteers, and all of them have made clear that they would be willing to drag us out of the EU on the hardest terms possible – with no deal at all.

The threat to Scotland from Westminster is becoming more serious by the day, as the likes of Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey, Sajid Javid, and Andrea Leadsom focus on winning back votes from the far right and appealing to the fringe interests in the Tory shires.

Crashing out of the EU would be devastating for Scotland – destroying up to 100,000 jobs, costing every person £2300 a year, and inflicting lasting harm on our public services and the economy.

There’s a reason Donald Trump thinks the Tory candidates are “excellent” and hard to choose between. Any one of them would double-down on the decade of austerity we have suffered, imposing further cuts to shrink our public services and damage the social security net that has protected us all since World War II.

In Brexit Britain, Scotland faces a toxic future where our interests will always play second fiddle to the Tories, Trump and Farage. If Westminster won’t listen to us now, on the biggest issues facing the country – when will it listen to us?

Scotland can do so much better than this – if we were in control of our own destiny as an independent country, like our neighbours in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and across Europe.

With the referendum Bill going through the Scottish Parliament, Labour must decide whether it will continue to side with the Tories and stand in the way of Scotland’s democracy, or listen to their own party colleagues like former first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, who believes Scotland’s right to hold a referendum must not be denied.

Westminster has put us on a different path to Brexit Britain. We can choose to become an independent European nation – and that choice must be ours to make.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.