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Liz Robertson column: Scotland was ignored in leaders debate on TV



Many of us will have received communications from candidates and their parties hoping that we will give, or at least lend them our votes.

We have had a couple of leaders debates on TV this week: one for the Scottish party leaders, and another with only the Conservative and Labour leaders at Westminster, which mentioned Scotland a total of zero times.

In terms of the campaign teams, I know that we have been been out leafletting on behalf of our candidate, Ronnie Cowan, and many colleagues will have the blisters to prove it!

Given this current reality, what I’m about to say – a repetition of a previous pre-election comment – should be no surprise to anyone.

People have political opinions that differ from each other.

Moreover, it is okay that people have and express a range of political views, and that a number of parties exist to broadly represent them. It is important that space exists to allow people to have and communicate different political opinions.

I was at the SNP campaign launch in Glasgow at the weekend, where our First Minister, John Swinney, expressed this very point – calling across the board for respectful disagreement when agreement is not possible. Given the subject of my own column two weeks ago, I wholeheartedly agree with him.

It is not necessary that we all think the same about all areas of policy. It is however vitally important that we listen to and understand where other people are coming from.

This means me seeking to understand from my Labour colleagues why their national party will not support calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, or why their previous support for WASPI women, which would have resulted in compensation of around £16,000 per affected person has now reduced to zero.

It also means me seeking to understand from my Conservative colleagues why they are happy to suggest that the government which has brought very real austerity, damaging Brexit, and heartbreaking cost of living calamities across this community and others across the UK should be given a mandate to continue this agenda.

And there are things that I hope others will listen to from my party also. I believe it is important for voters to know that the SNP seeking Scottish independence is not for the constitutional fun of it. Rather, pursuing independence is seeking the natural state of being that is self-determination, where we decide Scotland’s priorities here. The decision to place nuclear weapons on the Clyde was not Scotland’s decision back in the day, but it showed a distinct level of disregard for Scotland and her people.

Recent comments from the head of a labour think tank which suggested that smuggler gangs should be put on a barge and sent to the North of Scotland… who cares? shows that the level of disregard from the Westminster-focused parties sadly remains – with bells on!

The SNP wants Scotland to become a self-determining nation to see continuous positive regard for our economic, political, and social context, rather than regard or a mention now and then, only when it suits others. Caring about who calls the shots is entirely cogent with, and not at all a distraction from, caring about health, education, businesses operating well within a strong economy and care for our environment.

Scotland’s Values, Scotland’s Voice. Words that will be coming through your letterboxes via our fantastic group of campaign volunteers. We, the people of Scotland, know best the values we want to see realised. We, the people of Scotland are the voice of Scotland. On July 4, we need to send MPs to Westminster who will speak for Scotland, our values, and our future.

We deserve so much more than ever getting zero mention.

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