Firstly, I want to be absolutely clear about what today’s announcement means. The First Minister requested a Section 30 Order which, if it is granted, would allow the Scottish Parliament to vote on whether to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.
The First Minister also pointed out that the Scottish Government’s substantive proposals for Scotland to stay within the Single Market remain on the table.
There is nothing inevitable about this process. If the Prime Minister is prepared to listen to the 62 per cent of Scots who voted to remain in Europe and seek compromise to accommodate these serious and pragmatic proposals, she could end this process tomorrow.
It’s also important to emphasise that my party has a clear mandate to take this step: it is entirely consistent with the manifesto commitment that we stood on at last year’s Holyrood election
Yet the UK government have shown nothing but intransigence. I’ve seen this lack of engagement, clarity and planning as the SNP’s frontbench spokesperson on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at Westminster.
I have witnessed concern across the rural economy about the enormous impact that Brexit could have on our rural way of life.
That said, there’s no escaping the fact that voters in the Scottish Borders rejected independence by a considerable margin in 2014.
Some of you will have changed your view given this new situation we find ourselves in and some of you will remain committed to the position you held in 2014.
All of you remain my constituents regardless.
My utmost priority as your local MP is to represent the Scottish Borders: the part of the Scotland that I was born in and that I’m proud to call my home. My day to day work, campaigns and advocacy for the concerns of our region will always take precedence.
As Borderers we have a long history of showing resilience in the face of historic changes that are outwith our control. I believe that the First Minister’s announcement today is about providing us with the option to shape the future on our own terms.
Unlike in 2014, we know that change is coming either way. So the key question now is who we want to be in control of that change and what kind of country we want our children to grow up in.