Ruth Davidson would have refused to accept Nicola Sturgeon had a mandate to call an independence referendum even if the SNP had won a clear majority in the Holyrood election. She had no intention of recognising any mandate regardless of the result..
Suggestions from the Scottish Conservatives that the party would recognise such a majority as a mandate for a second referendum are bogus … unless their leader has changed her mind.
How do I know this? Because the Scottish Tory leader said as much during the 2016 Scottish election campaign.
“She [Nicola Sturgeon] will not have a mandate on the manifesto she’s published, even if she gets a majority.”
“Even if she gets a majority”. Ruth Davidson made the defiant comment during an interview on STV in the run-up to last year’s Holyrood election. She added that she would advise then Prime Minister David Cameron to tell the First Minister to “take a hike” should Scotland be dragged out of the EU against our will and a second independence referendum be requested.
This is uber-Unionism in all its ugly glory. It’s a hard-line Unionism that our media has to soften in order to make it palatable.
Davidson’s comments were echoed later by her mini-me clone Kezia Dugdale who, when asked if she would respect a mandate for a second referendum, replied “No”.
Today [Tuesday] there’s a debate in the Scottish Parliament over whether to allow the Scottish Government to request a Section 30 order from the UK Government. The Greens will back Nicola Sturgeon’s motion which will pass, not because the SNP needs Green support but because there aren’t enough Unionist MSPs to defeat the SNP even without Green support.
The media of course is portraying the objections from Unionists like Davidson and Dugdale as one based on the failure of Nicola Sturgeon’s party to gain a majority in last year’s Holyrood election. The narrative being pushed by the BBC and others is that without the Greens, there is no mandate to call Indyref2.
The whole debate over their refusal to accept the SNP administration’s mandate is dishonest, as the clips above prove. Davidson and Dugdale were fighting for the Scottish Unionist vote. They were never going to accept any mandate under any condition. Nicola Sturgeon’s party could have won every single seat in Scotland last year and these two would still have argued there was no mandate.
But that reality has been hidden by a media intent on portraying Davidson and Dugdale as ‘defenders’ of democracy. The narrative is that these two would of course have respected a mandate from a majority SNP led administration. But Nicola fell short … and … well.
By the time you read this you may have already watched a debate on Reporting Scotland between SNP MSP Fiona Hyslop and Tory MSP Adam Tomkins. The latter may try to portray his party as objecting to a second referendum only on the basis that the SNP did not win a majority.
Such a stance will seem reasonable to a large number of viewers. What though will these same viewers think of Tomkins and his ilk if the clip of Ruth Davidson is played and it becomes evident that the Scottish Tories were never going to accept a mandate under any circumstances – majority or not?
I’d hazard a great many of them will re-evaluate their views on Ruth Davidson and her band of uber-Unionists. I’d hazard more than a few will resent having been played by these people. I’ll also predict that this uncomfortable reality will not find its way onto the debate, unless prompted by Fiona Hyslop.
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