Scotland faces a long-term, historic decline unless its politicians get real

Fantasy politics, whether by nationalists or populists, will not turn Scotland’s ailing fortunes around

According to a new poll, 58 per cent of people think Scotland is a worse country now than it was ten years ago, while 16

per cent think things have got better. It is hardly surprising, given this is a country where nearly a quarter of all children live in poverty, where the poorest scrape a living with the help of food banks, and where the NHS, like many public services, has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.

Our problems are by no means unique to Scotland. Covid and the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have rocked many economies around the world. But in these moments of crisis, our elected leaders must work hard to ensure the country is able to bounce back from such blows and not be laid low by them.

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Keir Starmer rules out negotiations with SNP over second independence referendum
Ten years on from the 2014 independence referendum, the debate continues even as life in Scotland gets worse (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Ten years on from the 2014 independence referendum, the debate continues even as life in Scotland gets worse (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Ten years on from the 2014 independence referendum, the debate continues even as life in Scotland gets worse (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Politicians need to wake up to what risks becoming a long-term, historic decline and realise that turning the economy around is the solution to almost all of our problems. With a strong economy, poverty rates will fall, and higher tax revenues can be used to pay off our debts, rebuild and reform the public services, and, just as importantly, strengthen our armed forces to guard against the threat posed by the tyrant in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin.

In such circumstances, other issues – chief among them in Scotland, the seemingly never-ending debate over independence – simply have to take a back seat. And we must pour scorn on the ramblings of populists like Nigel Farage and culture warriors of one side or the other.

These people are not going to lead Scotland or the UK back to prosperity or perform the complicated task of transforming our economy to net zero that is necessary both to play our part in the fight against climate change and to ensure our economy remains at the cutting edge of technology, rather than becoming an outdated backwater.

Only pragmatic, serious politicians, working hand in hand with businesses, big and small, can achieve that. If Scotland is to become a better place in ten years’ time, we need to stop dreaming and get real.

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