Coronavirus shows Scotland cannot waste time discussing independence, Douglas Ross warns
Coronavirus shows Scotland cannot waste time discussing the prospect of independence, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has warned.
Writing for Holyrood’s Annual Review, the Moray MP argued COVID-19 proved the need for the country to create plans to mitigate future shocks, and that “not a single, useful practical idea has emerged from that tired old debate on independence these last few years”.
It comes following a series of polls putting support for independence above 50 per cent, with Nicola Sturgeon pledging the SNP manifesto for the 2021 election would include plans for a second vote.
A recent a YouGov poll for The Times revealed that 53 per cent of Scots – excluding ‘don't knows’ – would vote in favour of Scottish independence, up two per cent from January and the highest level of support for independence ever recorded by YouGov.
But the Scottish Tory leader reiterated his opposition to a second independence referendum, arguing that the pandemic showed “we cannot afford to be diverted away again for another decade”.
He said: “Fundamentally, we have all had a reminder of the most important things in our lives: the health of ourselves, our family, the need for community, and a steady, secure job. And we’ve been reminded of the need to focus on how best we take the country forward, so we can protect ourselves the next time a shock emerges.
“Scotland deserves a vigorous, healthy debate over how we achieve this in the here and now, not more constitutional castles in the sky. Not a single, useful practical idea has emerged from that tired old debate on independence these last few years. Coronavirus has shown we cannot afford to be diverted away again for another decade.
“Instead, let’s use the lessons of the last year as a springboard for change now. There’s another thing coronavirus demonstrated – whether you agree or disagree with the SNP government, it showed that a devolved government has the powers to make its own decisions and act differently if it so wishes. So, since Scotland has the power to act, let’s channel that energy towards the things that matter: a better health and social care system; an education system we can be proud of; and an economy that provides dignity in work for all.”
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