Tele column – 6th July 2018

In the days immediately after the European Union referendum I was approached by a few folk that I knew had voted no in the Scottish independence referendum. They were still pals, we had agreed to disagree, and there was no ripping apart of friends and families, however without my prompting they told me that the next time they would vote yes to independence. For those people, Scotland being torn out the European Union despite 64% voting to remain and every council area securing a Remain vote, had been the straw that broke the camel’s back. More recently Murray Foote who was at the time, the editor of the Daily Record and Fidelma Cook who was a BBC reporter at Westminster have both said given the opportunity they would vote yes. Murray was very outspoken against independence and Fidelma toed the BBC line but was appalled at what she heard behind the scenes. 

Those two high profile journalists identified their final straw. Maybe it was the bedroom tax or the rape clause or maybe it was the lack of democratic scrutiny that was allowed at Westminster for the E.U. (Withdrawal) Bill. Maybe they saw the attempts to gag the critical voices and it went against their journalistic instincts. Whatever it was it made the difference.  

The point being that once you have loaded the camel up to breaking point and you continue to behave in the same way, there will always be a last straw. Until the U.K. Government starts respecting and engaging with the Scottish Parliament on a wide range of issues the burden can only increase. It is time the U.K. Government understood that Scotland is a distinctly different country and our hopes, dreams and aspirations may not align with Westminster. While they fail to support the autonomy that we have been promised then individuals, companies and organisations will eventually be confronted by their final straw. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of time.