On June 8 we go to the polls again in an election which was unnecessary and which Theresa May called for narrow political advantage, despite having repeatedly promised not to do so. Recent polls and public reaction to the prime minister’s cowardly and weak refusal to debate her policies suggest that the Tory campaign has seriously gone off the rails.
In Scotland the Tories have been very keen not to talk about the real issues of this campaign; their party’s record in Government and their un-costed plans for Brexit.
But they have been caught out with a manifesto which made it clear they aim to make pensioners, children, low-paid families and those on benefits pay for the cost of Brexit.
The Tories’ record on the economy is already one of dismal failure. Despite years of imposing austerity on those least able to bear it, including the disabled, they have missed all their targets on debt, the deficit and borrowing.
The independent Fraser of Allender Institute have said that leaving the EU single market could cost 80,000 jobs in Scotland.
Already universities like Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh South West have announced cuts and redundancies citing Brexit and the Tories disastrous immigration policies amongst their reasons.
Banks and other financial institutions in the City of London are relocating to other European cities and companies registered in the UK are moving their registered offices to Dublin.
Thousands of jobs in Edinburgh’s financial sector, which is the second biggest in the UK, are at risk as a result of the Tories’ plans to leave the single market. Yet despite repeated questioning by SNP MPs including myself, Tory ministers have been unable to give any indication of how they intend to protect those jobs.
The SNP Scottish Government published compromise proposals which would keep Scotland in the single market. These proposals were rejected by the UK Government but this election offers people the chance to back them and demand that they become part of the UK’s negotiating remit.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain a part of the EU and in Edinburgh South West 72 per cent of people voted to remain. The leave vote across the UK, was won on the back of lies including the big lie that if we left the EU there would be an extra £350 million a week for the NHS. Instead we found out earlier this week from the Nuffield Trust that the extra cost to the NHS of treating returning ex-pat pensioners after Brexit could run to £1 billion.
The lies that were told during the EU referendum were told by people including Boris Johnson who are now ministers in Theresa May’s government. This election is the chance to hold them accountable.
Only the SNP are strong enough in Scotland to keep the Tories in check. Vital decisions which will effect Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy will be taken at Westminster in the months and years to come. Now, more than ever, we need strong voices to stand up for Scotland.
A vote for the SNP will strengthen Scotland’s hand against further Tory cuts and ensure that progressive policies, like those pursued by the SNP in Scotland, are firmly on the agenda at Westminster. A vote for the SNP on June 8 is a vote for MPs who will always stand up for Scotland’s best interests. A vote for the Tories is for MPs who will simply rubber-stamp anything Theresa May wants to do.
Joanna Cherry is the SNP candidate in Edinburgh South West