Neil Oliver: Scots deserve not to be treated as Queen Nicola’s subjects, but as the British citizens we are

British citizens in Scotland deserve better, much better

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Are we a nation? Is Great Britain a United Kingdom or not? I ask these questions in all seriousness. I have said before and I will happily say again that I am British. My nationality is a state of mind and I have no intention of changing either. I was born in Britain, I am British and it is as a British citizen that I will live out my days.

For the two years of the Covid outbreak, Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, has taken every opportunity to ignore the very existence of this Great Britain, of this united kingdom. Despite having relied entirely on torrents of cash from Westminster, British cash to pay her way out of the disaster, she has sought always to pose as a little Scottish queen.

In the face of what was billed as the greatest threat to our wellbeing in generations, in perhaps a hundred years, she has indulged in blatant politicking, desperate to be seen as a leader on the world stage.

Always she has made it her number one priority, even in this most difficult of times for the British people, to drive wedges between Scotland and England and to behave as though Scotland is her own private fiefdom. In a time of national crisis, national emergency, when it ought surely to have been appropriate to pull tight the ties that bind us as inhabitants of these small islands, Sturgeon has endeavoured to pull Scotland away and keep it only for herself to rule.

Every time Boris Johnson has made an announcement about lockdown or other restrictions, Sturgeon has revelled in the opportunity always to take a slightly different path. He says tomato, she says tomato.

For Sturgeon, Covid has been a hammer with which to strike blows designed always and only to shatter Great Britain. Despite her grandstanding, Scotland has not, in any way, had a better war than anywhere else. In the end, it was all for nought but Sturgeon’s self-aggrandizement.

Most recently, Johnson has announced his attentions to end restrictions in England all together. We await the reality of whatever that actually means but on the face of it, England may lead the world towards the exit from the pandemic. British citizens in England are understandably excited by the prospect of nudging ever closer to something at least faintly resembling the normality we used to know.

What is easily overlooked however, is that Sturgeon has no such intentions for Scotland. Already the government in Holyrood has decreed that existing Covid powers are to be extended for another six months. Sturgeon and co will not let it go. And so I ask again, is Great Britain a nation or not?

In short, why must British citizens in Scotland continue to labour in the shadow of a government wielding emergency powers in the absence, any longer, of an emergency – while fellow British citizens south of the border begin moving towards the sunlit uplands?

Amongst much else these past two years have laid bare is the calibre, or rather the lack of it, of so many elected representatives – and also of leaders of nations. Justin Trudeau in Canada, Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, Mark Drakeford in Wales and Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland have emerged as nothing more than petty tyrants, woefully overwhelmed by events.

Suddenly handed hitherto undreamed-of powers over their citizens’ lives, they have grown drunk on that power. Now when the worst is behind us, and they ought to be surrendering that power, power they ought never to have assumed in the first place, and setting free the people, they cling, white knuckled, to the reins.

Scotland is, and has been for years, a severely divided place under Sturgeon and her SNP, a one party state devoid of meaningful political opposition and with much of its mainstream media pathetically and shamefully intent on giving her the easiest of rides.

Across the board the SNP government have failed – on health, on education, on business, on infrastructure and civil engineering, on anything and everything a person might name – and they continue to fail. The Covid years have enabled Sturgeon and her cohort to divert attention from their innumerable failings.

Now when the reckoning is at hand, the prospect of contemplating life without Covid powers is plainly unthinkable. For years there has been a sinister move against the fabric of the family in Scotland. A named person scheme – that would have slipped a state sponsored outsider between every child and his or her parents – was stymied only by the highest court in the land. More recently Sturgeon’s government has empowered children as young as four to choose their own genders, to answer to different names at school – all without parents even being informed.

Shh … no need to tell mum and dad. Also underway in Scottish high schools now is a so-called census that asks school children questions of the most intimate and intrusive sort about their sex lives.

For the longest time it has seemed to me that what Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP desire and require is not independence, but privacy. They want to draw the curtains across the border and conduct their business out of sight of questioning eyes. British citizens in Scotland have suffered enough, and long enough, on account of Nicola Sturgeon and her fixation with her own image, and her own power.

British citizens in Scotland deserve better, much better. We deserve to be treated not as Queen Nicola’s subjects, but as the British citizens we are.