By Alan Shields.
Ruth Davidson has been going coast to coast on a whistle-stop tour of Scotland in a final push for a stronger opposition at Holyrood.
The Scottish Conservative leader spared no expense on flying visits to Oban, Keith and Peterhead to meet voters who will be going to the polls on Thursday.
Bounding out a helicopter at a former RAF base just outside the “blue toon” on the Buchan coast, Ms Davidson urged the two million people who voted against independence to make their voices heard at ballot boxes up and down the country.
And she claimed that the only way to hold the SNP to account – and avoid a second referendum on Scotland leaving the UK – was with her party providing the main opposition at Holyrood.
She said: “I’m going coast to coast today to speak to people who haven’t voted Conservative before to encourage them to do so.”This is to reassure people that you don’t have to be a dyed in the wool Tory to support me in this election.
“We need a strong opposition in this country to hold the SNP to account, say No to a second referendum, and make them focus on the things that matter.
“And that’s the job I think I can do for the people of Scotland if I become the main opposition party leader.”
Ms Davidson added: “No matter who you support, it’s so important that you go out and vote. “You’ve got to make sure that your voice is heard and that your views are taken into account.
“We’ve seen a really high level of turnout in recent years, in both the referendum and last year’s General Election. We want to keep people engaged. “That’s why I’ve been going all over the country talking to as many people as I can.
“Hollywood is one of the most accessible parliaments in the world. You can get hold of your MSP and you can tell them what you think of them – so make sure you do that at the ballot box too. ”
The Scottish Tory leader claimed that Thursday’s count could deliver the party’s “best-ever” result in a Scottish election.
And she said that this would be the only way to ensure that there is an effective check and balance against the SNP’s power hold over Scottish politics.
Ms Davidson said: “I will put forward our case that the Scottish Conservatives are ready to put the SNP under the kind of pressure that Labour has simply been unable to do over the past nine years.
“Good government requires an effective opposition – the SNP needs to be challenged on education, on health, on the economy and on issues including the deeply unpopular Named Person legislation.
“Most importantly, the next government needs to focus on the task at hand – improving our country – not dragging us back to the uncertainty of another referendum.”