THIS election has been unnecessary. It was called because Theresa May overestimated both Jeremy Corbyn’s weaknesses, and her own strengths.

For the Tory leader, this was supposed to be a shoo-in. She thought she would dissolve Parliament, force an election and be returned by adoring citizens.

In fairness, five weeks ago, most of us watching assumed she was right. Despite Brexit, despite Trump, we all thought we knew what was going to happen. But this has been a remarkable campaign.

It’s been a shocker of an election for May and the Tories: the dementia tax; the dementia tax U-turn; the patronising and sterile rallies in empty factories and small sheds in the middle of nowhere; the unwillingness to take part in televised debates; the risk of meeting actual real-life voters minimised as much as possible. It’s been a disaster.

And the election north of the Border has been wildly different to the one fought by our friends elsewhere in the UK.

Here in Scotland, the informal pact between the LibDems, Labour and the Tories has meant this election has often felt more like a referendum on whether or not there should be a second referendum on independence. Sometimes it feels like the Unionist parties are even more obsessed with independence than us!

And when the debate did get on to policy, it was often the policy of the SNP as the Scottish Government. In the televised debates, aside from independence, devolved issues have dominated.

This has been frustrating, but also an indication perhaps that the role of our Westminster parliamentarians has changed. Ask any of those who have served in the past few years, and they will tell you that constituents attending surgery rarely come just to talk about reserved issues. We expect our MPs to be diplomats, social workers, housing officers, advocates and more. We expect them to be fighters. To fight for us.

Look through some of stories in this paper over recent months in which Scotland’s MPs have helped constituents. The man who was mis-sold a mortgage, the woman sanctioned for not looking for work two weeks after getting a job working for the Government. The heavily disabled person losing a lifeline because of changes to Motability. The family who have made Scotland their home suddenly facing deportation because of silly changes in immigration rules.

We need our politicians to be fighters. We need them to fight against bad decisions, bad policy and bad ideology.

And we need them to fight for Scotland – which is often difficult.Scotland’s voice doesn’t seem to matter much in Westminster, and Brexit has only reinforced that. If the Tories get in, they’ll find it easy to ignore us.

That’s what a lot of Unionists don’t understand about the independence movement. They think it’s a feeling of exceptionalism or superiority. And while there may be those on the fringes for whom that is true, independence is really about ending that democratic deficit. It is about making the fight for all of us that little bit easier.

We believe only the SNP are capable of that fight.

We know they aren’t perfect.

But Labour will spend most of the next five years fighting among themselves. The Tories will fight the Europeans. And as Brexit hits us – and let’s not kid ourselves, Brexit has yet to hit – we need people whose first job is to stand up for Scotland.

We need people fighting to get us round the negotiating table. We need people fighting to make sure those Scottish industries who rely on the single market are represented.

We need people to fight to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in Scotland, and to fight to get yet more to come here to help us avoid our demographic timebomb.

The Tories want us to sit quietly, to do nothing, take what’s coming to us with Brexit. We must elect representatives who will resist that.

And finally, but most importantly, the SNP are the only party standing in all seats who are fighting to protect Scotland’s right to decide its own destiny.

We understand that many Scottish politicians are opposed to independence. That’s fine. We’ll argue with them, we’ll campaign against them. That’s just politics.

But for these politicians to deny the people of Scotland the chance to choose their own future, to ignore a mandate voted through by the Scottish Parliament they are supposed to serve?

Well, that’s unforgivable.

Get out there and vote today for the party that respects the parliament of Scotland – and the will of its people.