Douglas Ross’s speech to his party’s conference was one of his better ones.

He tore into the SNP’s 15 years of failure, lambasted its fixation with independence even as war rages in Europe and made a pitch for the Tories as the ‘real alternative’ to nationalist flag-waving and inertia.

Ross contended that 15 years ‘gripped by the dead hand of nationalism’ had left us ‘divided against ourselves’ and our nation was ‘becoming a smaller country every day that the SNP remain in power’. Westminster was the constant bogeyman and independence ‘the same fantasy panacea’.

These words stuck with me because they describe how I feel. I suspect many of you reading this feel the same. Scotland has become smaller, more bitter, more insular. Since the SNP came to power in 2007, and especially since David Cameron gave them their referendum, this country has grown apart. Families have been divided, friends have gone their separate ways.

The constitution has gone from one of the issues of Scottish politics to the only issue, boring its way into every area of public life like an infestation of political termites. The rot has long since set in. Anyone not troubled by that must have some special insight into houses divided against themselves that can nonetheless stand.

The journey to this point has been one of needless rancour, imaginary grievance, exaggerated difference and cold, cynical political calculation. Countries at ease with themselves tend not to vote for political and economic tumult and if turning Scot against Scot was the price to pay, it was stumped up willingly. A path cut right down the middle of the Scottish people has made our public square angrier and our discourse meaner but it has made a lot of politicians much more powerful.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Transport Matters

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