The SNP released their manifesto in Perth yesterday, delayed due to the events in Manchester last week.
I have only had a chance to have a quick look and will endeavour to read it all as soon as I can but the things that stand out for me and that I agree with are:
Hold a second independence referendum “at the end of the Brexit process”
Reinforce the Scottish Parliament’s right to decide when an independence referendum should happen.
Protect Scotland’s place in the single market and demand for the Scottish government a place at the table in Brexit negotiations.
Secure a mandate for Scotland having a choice on its future when the terms of Brexit are clear.
A living wage, by the end of the next UK parliament, that will be slightly more than £10 per hour.
Support an increase across the UK in the Additional Rate of income tax – for those earning more than £150,000 – from 45p to 50p.
No increase in taxation on the low paid, in National Insurance or in VAT.
A call for Scotland to have control over immigration.
Removal of the 1% pay cap on public sector pay.
Oppose any attempt by the UK government to treat the fishing industry as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.
Powers repatriated from Brussels to the UK should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in devolved areas such as environmental protection.
Increase the Minimum Wage to the level of the Real Living Wage, taking the Minimum Wage to more than £10 per hour by the end of the parliament.
Demand the return of VAT taken from Scotland’s unitary emergency services.
Continue to fight for an end to premium-rate telephone charges faced by those seeking advice on or claiming benefits from the DWP.
Support restoration of housing support for 18 to 21 year olds across the UK.
Maintain and always protect free personal and nursing care.
Expand early years education and childcare to 30 hours a week for all 3 & 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds.
Build a cross-party coalition to scrap the Trident nuclear missile system as quickly and safely as possible.
Support the replacement of the first-past-the-post system with proportional representation for elections to the House of Commons.
Bring forward proposals to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds in all elections.
There are some things that I would like to have seen more detail on like:
If Scotland chooses to become independent, it should be a member state of the EU.
This should be only after a referendum is held on membership and that Scotland consents to applying to re-join the EU. While I voted leave in the referendum I would support an independent Scotland becoming a full member of the EU, no more Westminster not representing our interests in the EU, but the EU does need to change as discussed before.
I would like to see more on the environment, this was a smaller section, as it was in most of the other manifestos, but does not go far enough. I would like to have seen more investment in taking Scotland towards 100% renewable energy. I would like to have seen something on packaging, affordable transport, and investment in electric vehicle research, esp on batteries.
Overall, like the British Labour manifesto(not the Scottish Labour one), a lot to like but plenty of room for improvement.
The response from the yoons has been predictable with Willie Rennie being his usual obnoxious self when saying: “The SNP must think we are stupid. They barely mentioned independence today but we know independence will be their top priority once the election is over.” No Willie you think we are stupid, go away.
Ruth Davidson said: “Nicola Sturgeon tried her usual trick today of trying to ignore independence in her speech but making sure she’s pushing for it in her manifesto. Nobody is fooled any more. Strip away the bluster and it’s written down in black and white – she wants to drag Scotland back to another referendum by as early as next autumn. That would cost jobs, risk our economy, and distract us all from the real job in hand – improving our schools and public services. This was a tired manifesto launch by a First Minister who has failed in this campaign to give people a single, positive reason for voting for her party.” More bluster from Tank Girl, from a party with the un costed manifesto that so far when put under scrutiny most people just laugh at.
Kezia Dugdale said: “Nicola Sturgeon has once again confirmed that her number one priority in this election is her plan for another unwanted and divisive independence referendum. “It is clearer than ever that the majority of Scots who don’t want another divisive independence referendum need to send Nicola Sturgeon a message that she should focus on the day job.” Kezia just repeats the same words she has been saying for the last 4 years, nothing changes. She really needs a new script writer as she is trapped in a never ending loop.
Scottish Green Party MSP Mark Ruskell said: “There’s now a big question mark over the SNP’s ability to take on the Tories over climate change. Brexit threatens the progress the EU has made in creating cleaner air, beaches and rivers, protecting our seas, driving up animal welfare standards and ending the UK’s reliance on coal for electricity. And yet, there was no mention of the environment or climate change at the party’s manifesto launch.” I must admit it’s hard to disagree with this statement, the manifesto is weak on the environment and does not go near far enough on taxation issues.
I will be voting SNP in the election next week, independence is the most important issue and if the Tories win it becomes even more urgent and vital to Scotland’s interests. The SNP need to be braver though, sitting too close to the middle doesn’t paint a distinct picture of what Scotland can be, I made the same claim during the independence referendum and the same holds true today.
So what do I think will happen next week. I think the Tories will win, and will have a slim majority. They will gain seats in Scotland but nothing like they think they will. Scottish Labour I think, on the back of the British Labour Manifesto, gain a couple of seats and likewise the Liberals might get an extra one or two. All of this will be at the cost of the SNP, but they will win the election hands down, however this will be portrayed as a defeat and a rejection of independence in the discredited yoon media and you can bet Willie, Kez and Ruthie will say there is no appetite for another referendum, even though half of Scotland wants one.
In many ways, as far the yoons in the media are concerned, the SNP will not be allowed to win, even when they do actually win.