VISITORS to Haddington Farmers’ Market will be surprised to see a number of flag-waving splinter groups supporting the Scottish independence movement. Among them are the SNP, Yes East Lothian and ALBA. They represent a disgruntled range of activists who are ignoring Scotland’s real priorities as they obsess about breaking up the UK.

This is a microcosm of the hopelessly divided SNP Government at Holyrood, which continues to prioritise independence and internal party divisions over all other issues – while working people in East Lothian struggle with the cost of living and issues affecting the NHS.

Meanwhile, the SNP continues to lose MPs in their droves. In East Lothian, Kenny MacAskill jumped ship to Alex Salmond’s ALBA Party. In East Kilbride, Lisa Cameron has defected to the Scottish Conservatives, citing concerns about bullying within the SNP’s Westminster group. My new colleague has claimed she has since been prescribed anti-depressants by her GP. This should come as no surprise, as we have been warned about this culture of bullying and toxicity by veteran SNP politician Joanna Cherry and former SNP MP Angus MacNeil.

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More than a quarter of SNP MPs elected in 2019 are now either standing down or have switched parties ahead of next year’s General Election, the highest proportion since 2001. The party could be set for a wake-up call after years of taking Scotland for granted while presiding over record-high waiting times across the health service and worsening standards in Scottish schools.

This also spilled over into the SNP’s party conference, which was given short shrift by high-ranking SNP politicians like Kate Forbes and Fergus Ewing. Meanwhile, hapless and hopeless Humza Yousaf was overshadowed by the former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who received a standing ovation, despite having been arrested as the police probe the SNP’s murky finances.

It's clear that Scots are ready for change away from the SNP. But there is no room for complacency. The anti-growth SNP-Scottish Greens Government continues to be the biggest threat to Scotland’s economic prosperity and wellbeing, and continues to threaten to take Scotland out of the UK against the will of the majority.