AS each day goes by, support for Scottish independence continues to grow. This week alone, your benefits of being part of the Union include interest rates reaching a 15-year high, record profits for Shell while the Tories charge on with raising the energy bill price cap in April – and, to top it off, the UK is tipped to be the only major economy expected to shrink in 2023.

A complete shambles is what it is. They keep telling us we are better together, but they can’t honestly tell us why. 

The Tories and Labour can bury their heads in the sand all they want on the question of Scottish independence, but it is not going away. The reality is that these pro-Brexit and anti-Scottish democracy parties do not represent the people of Scotland.

We in Scotland have a majority of pro-independence members of the UK Parliament and we have a pro-independence government in our Scottish Parliament that ran on manifesto commitments to hold a referendum. That should be enough for any UK Government to acknowledge democracy.

Back in December, my colleague Philippa Whitford asked Rishi Sunak at PMQs: “Can the Prime Minister clarify if he still believes the UK is a voluntary Union and if so can he explain the democratic route by which the people of Scotland can choose whether to stay or not?”

I wrote to the Prime Minister following his failure to answer Philippa’s question, instead highlighting the Supreme Court’s judgment.

Of course, the Supreme Court decision only confirmed that the power to grant a referendum on Scottish independence rests with the UK Government and the Prime Minister – it did not grant a view on independence itself.

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Fast-forward to this week and I have now received a response to my letter – almost two months later – not from the Prime Minister, but from his faithful Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack.

In my time as the SNP spokesperson for Scotland, I spent years trying to find out what Alister Jack and his department actually do for the benefit of Scotland. Turns out, he spends his time answering the PM’s letters.

Jack’s letter is filled with the usual Tory jargon about pulling our resources together and working constructively as an equal partner in the United Kingdom. The problem with that is that we are not an equal partner in the United Kingdom, in fact far from it.

On the back of the Supreme Court decision, it is on Rishi Sunak or whoever replaces him to work constructively with our democratically elected First Minister in delivering what the people of Scotland continue to vote for. And make no mistake, that is for us to have the right to choose our own future.

An extract from Alister Jack’s response reads: “It is obvious that the people of Scotland can have their say in an independence referendum because that is precisely what happened in 2014 when they voted decisively to remain part of the UK.

“In 2014, both the UK Government and the Scottish Government agreed that it was the right thing for the people of Scotland to have their say in an independence referendum, and there was also consensus from Scottish political parties, civic society and people across Scotland. That is not the case at this time.”

So let’s break that down. The UK Government is saying that if Scottish political parties, civic society and people across Scotland want an independence referendum then there shall be one.

Well, for a start, people across Scotland do want a referendum as they have continually proven at the polls for nearly a decade now.

The Secretary of State mentions civic society. I have pressed him on this previously and how his department would measure the consensus of Scottish civic society on the question of independence – and he had no answer.

We have already established that both the Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour not only deny Scottish democracy but are proud of it.

It is not for the people of Scotland to decide our future then, it is for them to decide. Are we to be at the mercy of the UK’s political party branch offices for eternity when it comes to Scotland’s democratic rights?

What truly is the answer from the UK Government to the question of how we as a country are granted an independence referendum?

Much like everything else, they do not have an answer.