Shona Haslam’s View – A hard border would be catastrophic

Thursday April 29th 2021


Midlothian View Holyrood Challenge: This View has been written by Shona Haslam, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party's candidate in the Midlothian South, Tweeddale & Lauderdale constituency for the Scottish Elections on Thursday May 6th 2021

Whether we like it or not, the deciding factor in this election will once again be independence. I wish it were otherwise, and instead we talking about Scotland’s recovery, about improving our NHS or addressing the attainment gap but once again Nicola Sturgeon is determined to re-open the divisions of the past and railroad her plans for independence through the next parliament.

This worries me for several reasons. Firstly, as leader of Scottish Borders Council, I know how important the border is to daily life and just how catastrophic it would be if a hard border was erected along the Tweed. That’s why I was astonished to see Emma Harper, an SNP MSP on the news claiming that a hard border with England would “create jobs”. The fact that our elected representatives believe this nonsense is worrying enough – that they want to implement their plans knowing this is even more troubling.

Of course, this was swiftly derided by her own first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who flip flopped from saying there would be no border to finally admitting that there would be one, and not just any border, but one with “practical difficulties.” That means higher tariffs, border controls and a devastating impact on the Scottish economy, particularly given that cross border trade with the rest of the UK accounts for 60% of Scottish exports.

It’s just the border that causes confusion amongst the SNP. Even the most basic questions, like the currency we would use, our membership of the EU or economic consequences of independence cannot be answered by the SNP because they do not want to answer them. They know the answers would be enough to make any Scots toes curl.

After 14 years, you would think the SNP would have done a little more work on their sole reason for existing as a political party – independence. They are asking you to gamble your future, your savings and the prospects of your children on a plan that they haven’t even bothered to write. That’s why I continue to oppose a second referendum and will fight against any plans to bring one in the next parliament. We should be focussing on recovery, not a referendum and that’s why I’m asking you to lend me your vote next week and use your peach ballot paper to send the SNP a message they will never forget.

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