The SNP has a strong track record over the last two years, writes Angus Robertson
Now more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland.
At this election, Scotland faces an important choice — and it is only the SNP that can stand up for Scotland’s interests. Only by electing strong SNP voices can we protect Scotland from the dangers of an unopposed Tory government at Westminster.
Only by electing strong SNP voices can we protect Scotland’s schools, hospitals and pensions from unnecessary Tory cuts. And only by electing strong SNP voices can we protect Scotland from the Tories who are seeking to negotiate away Scotland’s jobs and industries as part of their reckless, extreme Brexit.
The SNP has a strong and positive track record over the last two years at Westminster, standing up to the damaging and hard-right Tories at every opportunity, opposing their disastrous welfare cuts and failed austerity agenda.
We have stood up against the horrific two child cap and rape clause, campaigned to end state pension inequality for women born in the 1950s, and we are doing all we can to protect the triple lock on pensions, which the Tories are desperate to scrap.
And our MPs have also led opposition to Trident renewal, we have passed groundbreaking legislation on ending violence against women, have fought against the Tories cruel sanctions regime and demanded reforms to make the UK’s disgraceful immigration policy fairer and to treat people with the respect they deserve.
Not only this, but our track record in Government at Holyrood proves that our policies can transform people’s lives for the better.
From mitigating Tory welfare cuts and ending the hated bedroom tax in Scotland to delivering free prescriptions, tuition fee-free university, meeting our world-leading climate change targets six years early, improving Scotland’s infrastructure with massive investment across the country, and having the best performing NHS of anywhere in the UK — the SNP has always delivered for Scotland.
However, the damage that can be done by an unopposed Tory government at Westminster risks rolling back all the progress we have made on vital issues including education, health, social security and the environment.
Tory plans for a damaging hard Brexit will only speed up their efforts to damage Scottish society — and we all know just how much damage an unfettered Tory government can cause to Scotland.
Without the strict regulations that the EU brings us, on issues including worker’s rights, women’s rights and environmental standards, many in the Tories sense an opportunity to roll back many of the protections that we now take for granted – from paid maternity leave to minimum annual paid holiday.
There have already been hints that they intend to turn the UK into a low-wage tax haven, preparing to scrap the gains we’ve made on worker’s rights and turn their back on our environmental commitments.
Scottish Labour are simply too weak and divided to stop the Tories from putting these protections on the bonfire — and every vote for Labour in Scotland risks letting Tory MPs in by the back door. Only the SNP has provided any form of scrutiny to the Tories since 2015, and only a strong team of SNP MPs being elected to Westminster in 2017 will allow us to continue to do this.
Our manifesto outlines a number of key pledges which our team of MPs will work to achieve to make our country better.
- We will work to bring an end to the Tories’ failed austerity agenda, releasing £118 billion of investment in the process, improving public services across the UK.
- We will call for a fairer taxation system, so that those with the greatest ability to pay do so, to protect our public services.
- We will always stand in the way of Tory attempts to privatise our NHS — as well as demanding increased health spending across the UK.
- We will call for the end of the abhorrent rape clause and two child cap, and vote to ensure that benefits rise with inflation.
- We will protect the triple lock and support the WASPI campaigners as they seek pension equality.
- We will tackle low pay by ensuring that the National Living Wage becomes a real Living Wage, and we’ll bring an end to exploitative zero-hours contracts.
- We will call for more powers for the Scottish Parliament, and continue to make the case, backed by the Scotland’s Parliament, that Scotland should have a choice on its future at the end of the Brexit process.
- We will do all we can to protect Scotland’s place in the single market, which so many jobs and industries depend on but which the Tories care so little about.
Only by electing strong SNP voices to Westminster can voters across Scotland be sure that a toxic Tory government will be opposed tooth and nail, and that Scotland’s voice will be heard loud and clear.
Angus Robertson is depute leader of the SNP and the party’s candidate for MorayLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.