Scottish independence: SNP picked the wrong fights in trying to save England from Brexit and Boris Johnson – Kenny MacAskill MP

I was listening to Irish band The Fureys playing their song Gallipoli. It’s often forgotten that 4,000 Irishmen fell in that military debacle, not just the Anzac troops normally associated with it.

The song contains the lines “you fought for the wrong country and you died for the wrong cause” as no sooner was that battle over than the Easter Rising took place, and a savage British military reaction followed.

Irish attitudes towards Britain and the war changed. The song’s written from the perspective of a father grieving for his son who died on those far distant shores.

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The sentiments of the wrong fight put me in mind of Ian Blackford and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP. Over a century on, Scotland has its own struggles and thankfully they’re peaceful and being addressed democratically. But whose battles are they fighting and for the interests of what country are they campaigning?

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Firstly, they struggled to keep England in the EU. Now I, and the majority of Scots, voted remain in the 2016 referendum but south of the Border they didn’t. I don’t think Scotland should have been dragged out of the EU against its will. But the battle waged by Blackford and Sturgeon’s New SNP wasn’t for independence to allow Scotland to choose its own destiny and avoid the Brexit debacle.

Instead, they decided to try and save England from itself. Efforts went into reversing Brexit in England, rather than mobilising Scotland to assert its democracy. Independence rallies north of the Border were shunned, whilst events south of it with arch-unionists were lapped up. Who cares where they stood in 2014 or what they thought of Indy, putting their shoulder to the British wheel was all.

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But England voted for Brexit in 2016 and come 2019 voted for Johnson to get it done. They’re not going back anytime soon. The SNP’s efforts were not only futile but a distraction from what they should have been doing.

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Boris Johnson is the worst Prime Minister since the early 19th century, but removing him isn’t Scotland’s major battle, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Now it’s in the cause of removing Johnson that SNP fire is being directed. For sure, he should go. He’s a total charlatan and the worst Prime Minister since the early 19th century. But removing him isn’t Scotland’s major battle even though I and most Scottish representatives – including the Tories – would vote for it.

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He wasn’t elected in Scotland, instead he was overwhelmingly rejected as has been every Tory premier for decades. He’ll go and soon, I reckon, but who replaces him will at best be equally unacceptable. It’s hardly a glittering array of talent that’ll be foisted upon Scotland when that happens.

But still the focus of the New SNP is on mitigating the iniquities of the British state rather than achieving a Scottish one. Now I’m a democrat. I don’t agree with England voting to leave the European Union or indeed the Tories and I sympathise with English friends.

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But England voted that way for them, that’s democracy and they’re entitled to it. But it needn’t be that way for Scotland.

The SNP leadership aren’t being asked to die for their country, just fight for the right cause.

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Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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