Last night I attended the BBC Radio Scotland hustings in Dingwall and came out absolutely sure how to vote.
The decision who to vote for this time was actually quite simple in the end. Though I know some of my friends will be shocked!
Firstly I will vote only for people with a strong connection to the constituency, preferably living here.
Secondly I’m a remainer so I’m not going to be voting for someone supporting Brexit.
This leaves only two candidates.
John Erskine. Young but experienced having worked for Kesia Dugdale & Ian Grey in the Scottish Parliament. To vote for the next generation of politicians is tempting! He is a remainer but against a second referendum re Scottish independence.
Ian Blackford. Leader of the SNP at Westminster, Remainer, Nationalist and demanding a second referendum re Scottish independence.
For me the three issues at this election are Brexit, Climate Change & WASPI compensation.
Both are remainers. Both have credible climate policies. Both support WASPI compensation.
Unfortunately Scottish Labour are against a second referendum and that is the difference for me.
I parted company with my previous Party (Lib Dems) for a number of reasons but one was their position on a second independence referendum.
There has been a significant change since 2014. Much was promised to Scotland which has not yet been delivered and Scotland is being ripped out of Europe despite a significant majority voting to stay.
The only way to stop Brexit is to ensure a majority in Parliament other than a Tory majority. Whilst Scottish Labour have set their faces against a new referendum, I believe UK Labour will negotiate if the seats needed for Government require it.
So to John. Sorry not this time but you have great potential as a politician and I may well vote for you in the future.
To Ian, I am lending you my vote on this occasion. It may be a one off but you are the best option to stop Brexit. Despite your manifesto it does not mean I support independence but I do think we need to have a further debate & referendum on independence especially if we do end up leaving the EU. To my ex party – you really need to remember your radical roots. It’s all a bit status quo at the moment! & why you chose an outsider when you had a good candidate resident in the constituency and a traditional Highland Liberal to boot I am at a loss to understand! RSL’s loss is INBS’s gain though sadly he is unlikely to be successful there.
I am a Federalist not a Unionist or Nationalist but for now stopping Brexit is most important and we can debate other issues later. I have to say though that the risk assessment re independence has changed given the possible exit from the EU & my support may be won. At least Scottish residents should be allowed the debate.
This process has caused me to question my nationality. I’m a Scot (& Highlander) by choice, a Northerner & Scouser by birth and upbringing (but I don’t really feel I have an English identity as such) and a European.
My European identity is important to me so in the hope that I can retain it, on this occasion (& despite a nagging worry that not all Nationalists are pro EU membership) I have lent my vote to Ian Blackford. I hope he will use it wisely!