General election: Why the SNP wants you to vote Tory – Ian Murray

A Conservative government led by Boris Johnson is precisely what the SNP wants, so it can increase demands for a second independence referendum, writes Ian Murray.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 6:00 am
Ian Murray had a go on the scary Star Flyer but his real fear is a general election victory for Boris Johnson (Picture: Neil Hanna)

This week I made the mistake of having a go on the Star Flyer at the Christmas market. It shoots up 40 metres in the air, spins, and takes you to within a whisker of the Scott Monument. Just as well it wasn’t too windy.

If you can face the fear, it gives a bird’s eye view of our wonderful city that shows how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. It is a great privilege to represent the south of the city that I’ve always called home.

Over the past few weeks, with the general election campaign underway, I’ve been relishing the opportunity to meet as many local people as possible. My team and I have so far knocked on over 17,000 doors and spoken to nearly 8,000 people with a week to go. The overwhelming majority of people have been keen to take time for a chat.

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It’s also been a valuable opportunity to learn more about lots of local issues that I hope to be able to do something about if I have the honour of being re-elected. A December election is very unusual though, so not everyone is expecting a knock on the door from political canvassers.

One local resident was so excited to see someone coming to her door in a bright red “Vote Murray” jacket that she thought she had won the Postcode Lottery. Despite her disappointment, she’s still voting the right way.

A Friday the 13th nightmare

And earlier this week, I attended a busy Morningside husting, expertly chaired by The Very Reverend, Dr Derek Browning. At the end of the event, attendees were invited to speak directly with us. One gentleman made a hasty beeline for me. I thought I was in for a piece of his mind. He lent over the live microphone and asked if I would be so kind to sign a copy of my Hearts book. The first time I have signed an autograph at a hustings!

But while there is a lot of fun to be had on the campaign trail, this election is deadly serious. The future of our country is at stake. If we wake up on Friday 13th with the nightmare of a Boris Johnson majority government we are heading out of the EU, putting our NHS on the table during trade talks with Donald Trump, and facing a more unequal society where people like the Waspi women don’t receive the justice they deserve.

A Tory government is precisely what the SNP wants, so that it can ramp up demands for a divisive second referendum on independence. We cannot afford years of constitutional upheaval – whether that be the SNP’s campaign to break up the UK or the lengthy trade negotiations required if we go ahead with leaving the EU.

What we need is a final say on Brexit within six months which will give us the opportunity to remain in the EU, which is so vital for this city in particular. That’s what residents are saying they want. And we need the SNP Government to focus on fixing our schools and hospitals, not trying to divide people. This week, the flagship international education study, Pisa, was published which found that Scotland has fallen to a record low in maths and science – and is behind England by all measurements. And yesterday it emerged that over 350,000 people have waited too long in A&E since Scotland’s national four-hour waiting target was last reached, while we have a new hospital for children and young people lying empty. We are fortunate to live in a great city and a wonderful country, but Edinburgh and Scotland can be even better. If re-elected next week, I will continue to be a proud champion of the city I love and call home.

Ian Murray is Labour’s general election candidate in Edinburgh South