We will under no circumstances put the Tories into government

The SNP can make Westminster rethink the disastrous commitment to austerity, writes Angus Robertson MP.

The SNP can make Westminster rethink the disastrous commitment to austerity

The upcoming General Election is arguably one of the most important Westminster elections Scotland has faced for many years. With austerity cuts impoverishing hard working families and children, and Westminster breaking its promise of ‘extensive’ new powers, it has never been so important that Scotland’s voice is heard loudly and clearly in the House of Commons.

Following the referendum, Scotland is informed and engaged like never before – with record voter registration, booming membership of the SNP and a new spirit of democratic engagement being felt in communities across the country.

This election offers a chance to make Scotland’s voice heard like never before – to unite as a country and ensure Westminster can’t ignore the growing calls for change in Scotland.

An empowered and assertive Scotland threatens the vested interests of the Westminster parties – who, as part of the establishment, have been used to being able to take Scotland for granted. The election in May is our opportunity to ensure there is no going back to business as usual.

Labour have taken the people of Scotland for granted for generations – and with their campaign rhetoric so far it’s clear they are trying to do so again.

They will trot out the same tired old mantra about voting Labour to keep the Tories out – but that argument is nothing less than an insult to the intelligence of the Scottish people.

Scotland voted Labour in huge numbers at the last General Election and we still ended up with the Tories – just as happened for four elections in a row in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

And instead of standing up to the Tories, Labour went into partnership with them in the referendum campaign – and after walking through the lobbies with them to vote for austerity cuts just this week, it’s clear that this toxic alliance is alive and well.

Left to their own devices, Labour have made it clear that they will continue with Tory cuts that hit hard working and vulnerable people hardest.

It is crystal clear that Scotland will need a strong team of SNPs MPs to ensure Scotland’s voice cannot be ignored – instead of the Labour MPs who meekly went along with George Osborne’s austerity plans.

Of course, there is a real chance that this time Scotland’s votes will count. A hung parliament is a real possibility – and it can be Scotland which holds the balance of power.

In that situation we have been absolutely clear – we will under no circumstances put the Tories into government.  And a strong team of SNP MPs will mean that Labour can’t take Scotland for granted any more.

Holding the balance of power, the SNP can make Westminster rethink the disastrous commitment to austerity which is hurting people in communities across the country– and pushing 100,000 more children in Scotland into poverty.

We can make them think again about putting a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons on the River Clyde – putting an end to the moral and economic disgrace of spending £100bn on weapons of mass destruction while more and more people in Scotland are forced to rely on foodbanks.

And we can hold Westminster to account on delivering the powers Scotland’s parliament needs to grow our economy and to tackle poverty and inequality – ensuring we finally have a package of new powers which meets the promises set out in the Vow.

Whatever the outcome of the General Election we know one thing for certain – Scotland only wins when the SNP wins.

The stronger we are at Westminster, the louder Scotland’s voice will be and the greater influence this nation will have – which the Westminster establishment simply won’t be able to ignore.

Angus Robertson MP is SNP Westminster leader and general election campaign director

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