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From SNP Enthusiast to Reform UK Scotland Candidate

I gave my first speech in favour of independence for Scotland in 1975, in a school debating club. I joined the party in 1976, as soon as I could. In 1979 I voted SNP in the general election, and continued to do so at every possible opportunity until 2019, when I spoiled my ballot paper as there was no party I could vote for.

In 2014 I voted Yes in the independence referendum. In 2016 I voted to leave the EU. In 2020 I became a prospective candidate for the Reform UK Scotland party.

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. 9 March 2021. Pictured: David Kirkwood. Candidate photos and photoshoot for Reform UK Scotland Party for the up and coming Holyrood Scottish Parliamentary Elections in May 2021. Michelle Ballantyne MSP is Leader of the Party. Credit: Colin Fisher

RUS is a unionist party and is against the separation of the states of the United Kingdom. How does a confirmed Scottish nationalist come to be part of a unionist party?

I voted for independence in 2014 because I was convinced that the Westminster government thought in a different way from most Scots and would not be amenable to change. Also, I wanted to leave the EU and never imagined that the UK would itself leave.

I voted to leave the EU in 2016 because I had seen through the common market image to the political project it really is. I had been a great enthusiast for the EC/EEC/EU but my mind had been changed partly by a few years’ living in Luxembourg, the heart of many EU institutions. I had many friends amongst the fonctionnaires there and they were full of stories of colossal waste and inefficiency and unwarranted competing national political interference in their work. And that was with only 15 member states at the time.

The shenanigans surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are a potential pointer to problems that the larger partner in Scotland’s secession from the UK would bring. The SNP’s determination to simultaneously re-enter the EU is highly problematic for me, for many political and practical reasons. A Scotland within the EU (even if qualification was possible and re-entry permitted) would in no way be an independent country.

I still do not think that Westminster thinks in the same way as most Scots – the past year particularly has confirmed that opinion. Unfortunately, I now feel the same way about Holyrood. The SNP have allowed the hubris that followed their rise in popularity caused by the reflected attention from the independence referendum to go to their collective head. This hubris has morphed into the arrogance that has culminated in the egregious Hate Crime Bill, now part of the Law in Scotland.

Given that every other party except Reform UK Scotland and the Conservatives voted in favour of that bill, those would be only two parties that I could possibly consider supporting. However, the Conservatives have just forced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill through the Westminster parliament that disqualifies them for me.

And that is one of the many reasons that I am standing for election to the Scottish Parliament on behalf of Reform UK Scotland.

David Kirkwood