The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has damaged the Union, not saved it

A letter from Alan Day:

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 8:06 am
Letter to the editor

I am frankly flabbergasted at the so called Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party claims that only a vote for them on the second ballot of the Scottish election can prevent an SNP majority and save the Union.

The complex twin ballot system used in the Scottish Parliament elections has seen a unionist minority returned again and again at Holyrood.

Only by using tactical voting across pro Union parties in both the constituency vote and the regional vote can a unionist majority be returned.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

This ultimately requires a deal and cooperation.

Compounding this is the fact that the Conservatives have already split the United Kingdom and put an internal trade border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

We currently have a situation where Northern Ireland farmers can’t bring home sheep they bought in Scotland last September due to EU rules.

Where Scottish farmers can no longer sell seed potatoes to Northern Ireland. And where the likes of Alba Trees recently turned down an order of 70,000 oaks trees because they can’t ship them to Northern Ireland due to an EU ban.

Boris Johnson previously said “We would be damaging the fabric of the Union with regulatory checks and even customs controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.... Now I have to tell you no British Conservative government could or should sign up to any such arrangement.”

Ruth Davidson and David Mundell threatened to resign over the issue.

Their letter to the prime minister in October 2018 said the integrity of the UK was a blood red line. This letter was welcomed by Scottish Conservative MP Ross Thompson writing in the Belfast News Letter at the time (‘Scottish unionists cannot accept an Irish Sea border or let Brexit divide our nation, says Tory MP,’ November 9 2018, see link below).

The letter to the prime minister read: “Having fought just four years ago to keep our country together, the integrity of our United Kingdom remains the single most important issue for us in these negotiations...

“Any deal that delivers a differentiated settlement for Northern Ireland beyond the differences that already exist on all Ireland basis (eg Agriculture), or can be brought under the provisions of the Belfast Agreement, would undermine the integrity of our UK internal market and this United Kingdom.”

The letter added: “We could not support any deal that creates a border of any kind in the Irish Sea and undermines the Union or leads to Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK, beyond what currently exists.”

Yet now we have the Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross meekly welcoming an internal UK trade border that breaks the Act of Union and contravenes the cross community mechanisms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Alan Day, Coagh

——— ———

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe

Editor