The moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Ian Greenshields has shared his thoughts on Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to make the next general election a “de facto referendum”.
Speaking to The Scotsman, Rev Dr Ian said the division caused by the 2014 referendum is still very much present in the country and is “not healthy for society”.
In November, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) said the next general elections, due to take place in 2024, should be seen as an opportunity for those who wish to leave the UK to express their discontent.
She suggested that if more than 50 per cent of the population voted for pro-independent parties, it should be by the then-Scottish Prime Minister as a mandate to start negotiations to leave Britain.
Sturgeon was reacting to the UK’s Supreme Court ruling which confirmed that Scotland is not able to hold a second referendum on independence.
When asked for his thoughts on Sturgeon’s plans, Rev Dr Ian said that he disagreed and that a general election is “about much more than the issue of independence”.
“Well, I can see why they would, that they’re wanting to do that. I wouldn’t, when I’m voting, see it as a referendum on independence. It’s a general election of the United Kingdom. It’s not been declared as a referendum on independence, so in that sense it isn’t.
“A referendum is a referendum, and I’m not sure it’s right to corner people into something that it isn’t. It’s a general election. It’s not a referendum.”
Rev Dr Ian Greenshields also called for a wealth tax to be introduced and nuclear weapons to be scrapped as an idea to fund the NHS and other public services.