Brian Monteith: Time for Nicola to wind in her brass neck

You have to hand it to Nicola Sturgeon '“ she has some brass neck. After ­berating the Prime Minister over recent months for not having a mandate because she was not elected to office, no sooner has Theresa May called a general election that can give her that ­mandate and she is accused by Nicola Sturgeon of putting her party interests before the country's.

Friday, 21st April 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:55 pm
Theresa May deserves a mandate to get her job done. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

I welcome the General Election, and hope it is decisive; we have been ­riding an electoral rollercoaster for years now with three referenda and countless elections and the lack of clarity about where our country is headed is damaging Scotland. It would help if those that lose accepted the verdict, instead of constantly ­trying to force a fresh vote.

After the EU referendum and David Cameron’s resignation, Theresa May did the right thing in trying to soldier on until the planned date of 2020. The country needed to hear there would be some attempt at maintaining stability and business confidence after the shock vote in favour of Brexit.

She did the right thing in recognising the British people had spoken and laid out a timeline of what she would do to deliver on the national vote, even though she herself had voted the other way. That is how democrats behave.

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Maggie Chapman is offering to reach a deal with the SNP in a bid to unseat Tory MP David Mundell. Picture: John Devlin

She then delivered on her promise to invoke Article 50 before the end of March and publish a White Paper to explain what would happen – despite judicial and political challenges from defeated politicians and campaigners at every opportunity.

Contrast that with our own First Minister who signed the Edinburgh Agreement to respect the independence referendum result and told everyone it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. No sooner had the Yes campaign lost than Alex Salmond resigned and Nicola Sturgeon became the “unelected First Minister” until she could face the electorate the next year.

Her brass neck meant she could ignore the Edinburgh Agreement, ­disrespect the decision of the Scottish people and work to undermine it. If that’s not putting party before country then I don’t know what is.

That brass neck also came in handy when, instead of doing her day job, such as ensuring Scotland’s economy kept up with the rest of the UK, or repairing the damage done by her government to Scottish education, our First Minister neglected her role. So busy has she been stirring up support for independence that there has not been a single new law passed in the Scottish Parliament in the last year.

Maggie Chapman is offering to reach a deal with the SNP in a bid to unseat Tory MP David Mundell. Picture: John Devlin

So yes, let’s have this General Election. Let the First Minister put her demand for a second independence referendum in her manifesto. Let her tell us what the SNP policy on Scotland joining the European Union is this week and let us all vote for the candidate of our choice.

Can our politicians then respect the vote and deal with the outcome rather than working to overturn it as soon as the ballot papers are counted?

I won’t agree with everything Theresa May says or does, but I believe she deserves her mandate to get her job done.

One-party state stance repellent

I’ve never understood the concept of political parties seeking to conspire to obliterate their opponents so that one party or another is not represented. It simply is not healthy for democracy.

No sooner had the General Election been called when the co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, Maggie Chapman, said they could reach a deal with the SNP to not stand a candidate so that David Mundell, the Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweedale, might be defeated. The aim? To create a Tory-free Scotland. Mundell’s majority is 798 and last time round the Green candidate received 839 votes.

But Scotland would not be Tory-free; at the 2015 election there were 434,000 Conservative voters in Scotland and more can be expected this time – do the Greens honestly believe they should have no voice?

This is the madness of the one-party state. We need MPs elected from all parties (including those I disagree with) so different views are heard; the idea of plotting to deny representation by withdrawing candidates is repulsive.

Don’t forget to vote in fortnight

It’s likely that the General Election campaign will now overshadow the local elections in a fortnight’s time – but they remain very important to a city like Edinburgh. If you care about the state of your local services, the transport system, the state of the roads and pavements and the planning controls that allow new developments, then you need to get out and vote.

Local elections are about what local candidates offer, there’s really no excuse for deciding who to vote for by what it means for national politics. That way has served our city badly for decades.

To get Lions, we need more cubs

Well done to Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour, the only two Scots who managed a place in the British and Irish Lions squad for the New Zealand test series this summer

I had hoped for better following the improved performances over the last year – especially after beating both Ireland and Wales and reaching the quarter-finals of the rugby World Cup – but there’s still a huge gulf between Scottish individual standards and those of the English (16), Welsh (12) and Irish (11) teams. The solution lies in getting more kids to play in state schools so there is a greater pool of talent and more competition to excel.

When I was at high school we had three teams, but by the time my sons were at the same school 30 years later they had to merge with three other schools to make up a single rugby team!