BY my counting (fingers and toes) we have had had five Tory PMs, seven chancellors, eight foreign secretaries and a whopping 16 housing ministers imposed on us, none of whom we voted for in Scotland.

The Tory record of government is failure writ large for all to see, whether inherited or created. I don’t list them all, but some are more familiar than others, some maybe yet to hit the headlines. We’ve seen Hillsborough, WASPI, Grenfell, the Post Office, contaminated blood, cryptosporidium-riddled tap water and more. There are still nuclear test victims and their families seeking recognition and redress!

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But consider their home-grown government record: a decade plus of austerity: a straightforward Tory ideological choice that they translated into various party policies with far-reaching consequences. I’ve never had loose change of around £10,000 knocking about but that’s one estimate that is knocking about: Tory-induced austerity and Truss economics have made us on average £10,000 less well-off. There’s what we know, see and feel every day: ruined lives, depleted local services and slightly in excess of 2.5 million folks using food banks. Is it any wonder that the facile Labour Party are banking on change for change’s sake as they peddle policy lite along with a feeling of “things can only get better”.

When you have lacklustre politicians who seem to want to manage rather than lead, who want not to rock the boat, but play it safe, it’s only natural that many voters will vote for “change”. But what change? We see Labour matching the Tories in defence, in Nato, maintaining nuclear weapons, and trying to outspend them by committing to raise defence spending to 2.5% of national income.

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So sure are Labour of success that here in Scotland they’re rumoured to be lining up Douglas Alexander, former international development secretary in the last Labour government, whom they expect to return to the Commons as MP for East Lothian, for a big Cabinet post, one of the major offices of state. Whose state? Not mine!

So where is the hard-hitting electioneering we need to not merely oppose, but outvote Labour? The majority of voters here don’t want nuclear weapons, but how have we failed to demonstrate the benefits of the limited agency we have to the majority voters? Don’t voters realise the successes we have, the likes of frozen, capped council tax, bus passes for the under-22s, capped train fares and much more don’t come from the Union? Labour wouldn’t provide baby boxes nor lift the two-child cap!

Governments should seek to establish effective social contracts with those they serve, but the successes here seem no longer recognised. Or has the Scottish Government lost meaningful contact with those who sent them to Westminster and Holyrood?

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Labour will make changes if they outnumber SNP post-July. By claiming independence is off the agenda, it will be easier to strip us of our limited powers in Holyrood. Without tax increases, they’ll cut back on public services, affecting the Barnett formula as they attempt to “manage” a wrecked economy.

Is it now time for a political contract, between the two if not three main pro-indy parties, to ensure that one party, the SNP, wins through in July. No splitting of the votes, to maintain a pro-indy majority set of MPs. Is it beyond political acumen for the same two or three indy parties to create a voting strategy for the next Holyrood elections? Each party will have sufficient time to strategise for those elections, proving their appeal (or not) to the electorate and articulating to us what actually will happen with that pro-indy majority.

The change we need isn’t Labour, it’s independence.

Selma Rahman