THE coming General Election is not in the best interests of the people of Britain, let's get that straight from the get-go - it is only in the best interests of the Tory Party. From that point of understanding, all other opinions on the calling and timing of this vote must flow.

Let us begin by considering the hypocrisy of Theresa May denying the people of Scotland a vote on Brexit before any negotiations with the EU are concluded - for Brexit is what underlies any future independence referendum - whilst giving the people of the UK as a whole the right to vote on the same issue, as that is what this general election is: a vote on Brexit without knowledge of the outcome of future EU negotiations. What is good for the Westminster goose does not seem equally as good for the Scottish gander, in the eyes of the Prime Minister.

An independence referendum is clearly not in the interests of May's government, but this general election is - it will allow her to brutally quash a chaotic Labour Party, reducing any concept on a functioning opposition in Westminster to a distant dream. We note that the Tory party often returns to the theme of Labour's dysfunction by claiming it is not good for democracy, that a strong opposition is longed for even by May and her team. In the wake of the calling of the snap election that is clearly false. This is about consolidating power, not democracy or what is good for the people of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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Now let us come to the issue of leader debates. Frankly, May has shrank in cowardice from sharing a stage with other political leaders in order to put her case on the issues of the day to the people. Again, is this in the interest of democracy?

May calls an election after promising not to call one and then refuses to defend her position in a forum which has become a de facto part of British democracy. Not only does this smack of gross opportunism with the Prime Minister flip-flopping on the issue of calling an election, and then calling one when the time and polls suit her, but it also comes with a whiff of fear. If you are in politics and believe in your prospectus then be brave enough to take it to the people. Together with cowardice and opportunism though, comes imperiousness. May has already shown her high-handedness toward the EU and the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland over her position on Brexit, now she swats away a challenge with fake disdain. In reality though it is hard not to see behind the imperial disdain a woman who believes she just doesn't have the ability to think on her feet in a leaders debate.

Disdain, however, seems a trait which Prime Minister May finds hard to hide - the casual disregard for the Fixed Term Parliament Act, which we were told would prevent gross political opportunism, being a case in point.

However, despite the democratic failings and the unsettling sense that this is all about the Tories and not about the best interests of the British people, there is one clear thing that will emerge from the June vote: definitive mandates.

Sadly, as a strongly pro-European paper, the vote will surely give May the mandate she wants to press ahead with her destructful vision of Brexit. But Nicola Sturgeon will also undoubtedly get a clear mandate herself, and with it the democratic clout to demand from an intransigent Westminster an independence referendum on behalf of the Scottish people. What is good for the Westminster goose will, perhaps, in the final analysis, be shown to be good for the Scottish gander as well, once the ballots are counted and the shouting over.

Another salient point which needs addressed is - talk of 'peak Nat'. This is more than a little previous, and is, we feel, more motivated by hope than reality. If the SNP lose a few seats from their last electoral tsunami which all but wiped unionism from the face of the political map of Scotland, that will matter little. Of course, it will be leapt upon to say the Scottish public is turning away from the party and its constitutional position - but that won't hold any weight with Sturgeon and her party still dominating the nation electorally.

The people of Scotland are not stupid - they are among the most thoughtful, well-informed electorates in the world. None of the above hypocrisies, which we have listed, have been missed by the people of this nation, from the borders to the highlands. There is, in truth, a subtle irony in the fact that the haste with which Theresa May has thrust this democratically questionable ill-considered and selfish election upon us, stands in stark contrast to the considered and civic slow-build of popular opinion in Scotland for a 'move away' from the politics of May and her right-wing coterie. In the final analysis May could well stand in the pages of history as the woman who finally prompted Scotland to chose independence and truly 'move away' from the Brexit Britain she is forging - a right-wing mission she has taken upon herself whether the four great nations of these islands like it or not.