WITH all the challenges facing people in Scotland these days, the case for re-gaining our independence is ever strengthened. From where I stand there are few if any realistic grounds for thinking the Westminster political parties are interested in Scotland, because we have been systematically deceived, disadvantaged, lied to and, frankly, disregarded throughout the history of the United Kingdom and perhaps particularly with regard to the EU exit.

Yet this state of affairs is in no way acknowledged by Westminster and those who dwell in its increasingly fragile bubble. In their view the independence movement in Scotland represents an ever-present bubble buster, as is revealed by the continuous barrage of smears and outright condemnation seen in the mainstream media. Clear indicators of what might be robustly termed a “brown trouser” response.

Without doubt these are uncertain times, and I need hardly say that the EU exit calamity is about to be visited on Scotland against our democratic will. A Westminster approach that supported ordinary people and respected the devolved governments might have been appropriate. Whatever Theresa May is currently saying, the strategy so far has been austerity and disregard. It’s all very fine for Westminster politicians to enigmatically imply things are down to forces outwith their control, but it’s easy to see that other small nations are not impacted as we seem to be; look at the way Ireland has recovered from the 2008 crisis free from the restraints of Westminster. Moreover, these very forces seem more than capable of filling elite pockets and funding London-centric developments with little sign of benefit to anyone else. Yet none of the Westminster political parties appear to have the will or intent to change the way things are, and who can deny that Scotland’s interests will be best served by having the powers to enable decision making by her own sovereign people; that is all of the people choosing to make Scotland their home?

Everything I have read and seen about the Conservative and Labour parties, and indeed their recent conferences, shows me there is very little understanding of politics, or indeed life, in Scotland on the part of their leadership. In fact, it seems a long time since they did much to show their support for Scotland, or for ordinary people almost anywhere outside the Home Counties. Even Labour MPs seem to have had little difficulty voting for the austerity measures that are bringing anguish to so many, and also appear set to support the EU exit shambles. The least said about the Conservatives in this regard the better. Recent expeditions to Scotland by the Westminster-centric higher echelons have only served to highlight the fact that they do not have Scotland’s best interests in sight. The Conservative and Labour parties have turned their backs on Scotland, and no amount of talk about traditional loyalties or re-processed vows will help. All of this alongside the disgraceful anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia that currently appears to pervade Westminster politics.

There was a time when the Labour Party (particularly the ILP) was a force for good in Scotland and of course, the principle of home rule graced its manifesto up to 1958. It beggars belief that the same party now seems prepared to deny Scotland’s democratic right to a second independence referendum. For the Conservatives of course it’s either not the right time or some kind of pie-in-the-future sky.

To me it is no accident that the SNP upswing came in the 1960s and 1970s at the very time when the Labour Party leadership had begun to desert their erstwhile principles in favour of their own political careers, and the Scottish people saw that their vision of a better future would not be realised through their medium. Indeed, Labour Party abandonment of ordinary people may well be a factor in the intensification of the right-wing political challenges seen south of the Border. But perhaps this Labour Party abandonment of regular folk should come as no surprise. I recently read that almost half of Labour’s newest membership intake is made up of those who occupy social groups A and B and may therefore be considered middle-class professionals and less likely to be in touch with the needs and aspirations of everyone else. In spite of all that was said about an end to austerity at the recent Conservative party conference, in real life their policies have ever favoured the wealthy over and above everyone else and this should come as no shock

I believe the Labour Party have let the Scottish people down too often for there to be an easy road back to political relevance for them. Their current political stance makes the SNP and the Yes movement the natural homes of voters who seek to establish the fairer and more equal society an independent Scotland can be. It’s been a long time, if indeed it can ever have been said to be so, since the Conservatives had Scotland’s interests at heart.

Independence is the only way to go. I am reminded of the famous quote about seeing further due to standing on the shoulders of giants – independence offers us this opportunity.
Iain Lappin