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The beginning of autumn marks UK party conference season, and the political headlines from the Tory gathering have been dominated by images of the Prime Minister’s dodgy dance moves. It was desperate stuff from the PM who’s kidding on if they think it’ll distract from the devastating impact Tory policies are having on our communities.

The arrogance and hypocrisy of the Tories towards Scotland was clear from the start of their party conference, when Ruth Davidson vowed that they would block a second independence referendum being held in Scotland until at least 2027. The Tories haven’t won a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland for over 60 years, so attempts to ignore the clear and unequivocal mandate that the SNP has from Scottish voters to hold an independence referendum truly beggars belief.

Their hypocrisy was taken to new levels though when, after vowing to block the democratic right of the people of Scotland from having a say on their future, the new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed the EU was acting like the Soviet Union by trying to “imprison” member states and prevent them from leaving. It was a diplomatic gaffe worthy of his predecessor – and only served to underline the duplicity of the Tories as they seek to silence Scotland’s voice.

Meanwhile, at the Labour party conference, Scottish Labour stayed true to form in their efforts to out Tory the Tories by pledging to also block a second independence referendum in their next election manifesto. It seems Labour have learned nothing from the mistakes of 2014 when they alienated many of their traditional supporters by teaming up with their ‘Better Together’ partners the Tories.

Scotland is a distinct, proud, historic nation – free and able to direct its governance and destiny. And for as long as Scottish Labour fails to understand and respect that, it’s clear they will continue to suffer at the ballot box.

While the SNP gets on with the job of delivering progressive and ambitious policies for Scotland, and standing up to the Tories at Westminster, the Labour party seems intent on demonstrating they aren’t even fit for opposition let alone government.

By contrast, the SNP continues to go from strength to strength. Our party membership now stands at over 125,000 – making the SNP the second largest political party in the UK. As I write this column we’re busy preparing for the SNP conference which takes place over three days at the SECC in Glasgow. I’m looking forward to catching up with friends old and new from Clydebank and across West Dunbartonshire as we continue working hard to build a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

This column appeared in the Clydebank Post on Wednesday 10 October 2018.

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