Now is the time to be backing blue

Now is the time to be backing blue

by Ross Thomson
article from Tuesday 2, May, 2017

IN LESS THAN six weeks, the country will go to the polls in what is, without doubt, one of the most unique and multifaceted general elections in living memory. I am delighted to have been adopted as the Scottish Conservative & Unionist candidate for Aberdeen South. We have before us a real and unparalleled opportunity to return the most Scottish Conservative MPs for a generation, whilst, at the same time, strengthening the hand of the Prime Minister as she navigates the country through the challenges and changes to come.

Theresa May has called this election to secure the strong and stable leadership the country demands as we negotiate our withdrawal from the European Union. There is a straight choice in this regard between the safe and capable hands of Theresa May, and Jeremy Corbyn’s dangerous high tax and spend agenda, propped up by a “coalition of chaos” with the ironically-titled Liberal Democrats and the lethargic and divisive SNP.

As boundless optimism prevails throughout the Scottish Conservative movement ahead of the election, the SNP are in rapid tailspin.

First, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that this general election has nothing to do with independence, refusing to outline her next steps until after the election. The contradiction could not be more transparent: the same leader who mandated for the Scottish Parliament to spend two days debating a second referendum has now declared the ‘i’ word as taboo for the duration of the campaign. But our humble First Minister is still more than happy to seize a photo-opp on a Harley Davidson adorned with YES stickers. You really couldn’t make it up.

Then we have MP Tommy Sheppard pleading with the Greens not to stand in marginal seats and risk splitting the Nationalist vote. This is a shameful approach and, surely, any genuine Green voter will be disgusted with it. They cannot masquerade as a legitimate political party while sitting this election on the sidelines. This, nevertheless, proves that the SNP politicians are rattled and running scared, and its MPs across Scotland are terrified of losing their seats. Rightly so.

And let us not forget the shameful politicisation of the UK Government’s tax credit reforms. The SNP have hijacked this very important issue in order to launch political attacks on Ruth Davidson in the run up to the election. The empty rhetoric from the Nationalists is exposed by their refusal to use their devolved powers to make changes in Scotland. This is nothing more than a smoke-and-mirrors attempt to pour scorn on the UK Government whilst distracting from the failings of indolent SNP politicians at Holyrood and Westminster.

But what could have the SNP all at sixes and sevens? Could it be that the political tide in Scotland that has for so long bent to the will of the Nationalists has finally turned against them? Could it be that their tunnel vision obsession with independence has finally caught up with them?

For too long SNP politicians have sat idly by, nodding to the rhythm of the Nationalist drum as the real issues affecting Scotland are put firmly on the backburner. This has been apparent across Scotland, but particularly in Aberdeen South and across the North East.

While I organised a petition and Members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament to support North East firms affected by business rate increases, local SNP politicians offered little.

Likewise, while I, alongside my Scottish Conservative colleagues, argued passionately for a fairer funding settlement, local SNP politicians voted for Aberdeen to once again be the lowest funded local authority in Scotland.

The SNP have time and time again shown that they are out of touch with the  of of Scotland. It is therefore no surprise that the SNP Government have suffered a number of defeats in Holyrood on education, health and on the abolition of Highlands & Islands Enterprise. Their puppet MSPs and MPs have put party ahead people; conformity ahead of constituency; nationalist interests ahead of national interests. They have shown themselves, even in Government, to be nothing more than a party of protest and division. It’s time for change.

In the 2015 general election, the Scottish Conservatives suffered from a tactical squeeze as many believed only Labour could stop the SNP’s unwanted and unmandated drive for independence. Labour is now in freefall – void of direction, void of substance, and void of leadership. By contrast, the Conservatives have shown repeatedly that we can deliver the strong and stable leadership the country needs. Moreover, in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, we surged into second place as more and more people came to realise that only the Conservatives can stand up to the SNP. Under Theresa May and Ruth Davidson, we continue to go from strength-to-strength while other parties squabble and splinter.

We have a simple, positive and unifying message: let’s get the best possible Brexit deal for the whole of the United Kingdom.

The polls indicate that, this time around, the Scottish Conservatives could gain as many as 12 seats. But we must keep in mind that polls are just that: polls. Not results. There can be hope, certainly, but there can be no room for complacency. I will fight tooth and nail on the streets and doorsteps for every vote in Aberdeen South. The electoral stakes have never been higher. Let’s seize our opportunity…

Now is the time to mobilise our campaign.

Now is the time for strong and stable leadership for the whole of the United Kingdom.

Now is the time to send a clear, unambiguous message to the SNP: We said ‘No’ in 2014. We meant it.

Ross Thomson (pictured) is the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party candidate for Aberdeen South.

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