I would like to make a plea to older voters: consider lending your vote – not to this party or that party – but to young people.

There is a generational divide and it has worsened in recent years. The old are being pitted against the young when we talk about Brexit and election outcomes. And we can see why: the polls show voting patterns vary significantly between the generations. It is a divide we need to heal but that simply is not going to happen if Brexit comes to pass. I fear a deep bitterness will infect Britain for decades.

This would be needless and avoidable, because I know on most issues young people are in line with their grandparents. I would like to say a sincere “thank you” to those who were of voting age in 1974. Your generation upheld our place in the European Community, which became the European Union.

That meant many young people benefitted from the life-changing enrichment of working or studying in other European countries and improving foreign language skills through the Erasmus programme. Your action has supported Scotland’s farmers and funded works across the UK from Kirkwall Theatre to Cornwall’s world-renowned Eden Project.  Yours were the generations which picked Britain up after devastating wars and joined in the greatest peace project Europe has known. The very eldest amongst you may have voted Labour immediately after the Second World War and founded our NHS. These are accomplishments for which younger people have you to thank, and my generation should remember that. 

The young people of today are in the process of inheriting the UK. As we do so, many of us are steadfast in our determination to maintain what generations before us have bestowed, from our place in the EU to an NHS free for all at the point of use. And, yes, a great many young Scots also wish for independence, considering it the best way to ensure these in the long term.  But herein lies the problem. Many older voters have some time since gone off the EU, while younger voters have never been so convinced of its value. And many older voters, if polls are to be believed, are considering voting Tory, maybe even for the first time, out of a desire to ward off a second independence referendum Your reverence for the NHS is no different to ours.

Yet Brexit will open the UK up to a trade deal with the United States in which its negotiators will strive to force us to accept the rip-off rates for medicines that Americans suffer, so that the pharmaceutical company bosses can line their pockets even further. They will demand that US companies, the ones which charge American mothers $40 to hold their own child after a caesarean, and $2,500 for an ambulance ride, be allowed to bid for contracts to deliver NHS services. A British Tory majority government, leading a country brought to its knees by having walked away from its closest allies, will have scant choice but to oblige.

In my passionate office discussions with Mark Smith, with whose stridently Unionist columns you will probably be acquainted, I have given up on trying to convince him to hold his nose and vote tactically for the SNP in his Tory-SNP Ayrshire marginal on Thursday. 

I will make the plea to you from across the generations which I have been making to him: do whatever you want on election day, just don’t vote Tory. It’s as simple as that. Let whatever will play out in SNP-Tory marginals play out. If your pro-Union view is strong enough to prevent you from putting your cross next to the SNP where it’s in the best position to keep the Tories out, vote for Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Lord Buckethead, spoil your ballot or stay at home in protest.

Just do not add to the Conservative vote tally which gives us Episode Two of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this time locked in for five years and without the restraint of an unsympathetic parliament. Please do not contribute to a vote tally which guarantees Britain will leave the EU at the end of January, with a blank cheque for Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dominic Cummings and Johnson to throw us off the cliff on WTO terms, losing every trade deal we have overnight, 11 months later.  Brexit will be decided for good in this election if the Tories – who wasted nine years fomenting a constitutional crisis – are given their fourth consecutive crack of the whip.

There will be no holding back the wing of the party which seeks to turn Britain into a low-tax, low workers’ rights and safety regulation, Trumpian dystopia.  Scotland has a proud, 70-year-old traditional of not endorsing Tory governments. Governments which in their most recent iterations have made food bank dependence commonplace, impoverished students south of the Border by taking away grants and slapping sky-high interest rates on mountains of debt.

Governments which chose to starve vulnerable people of lifeline cash through harsh benefit sanctions, declared our disabled fit to work, and which just last year was shamefully trying to deport elderly black people who have lived here for decades and have every right to stay.

The retention of a spattering of Tory seats in Scotland will not bring Ruth Davidson’s moderate brand of more open, outward-looking, thoroughly Scottish conservatism to these isles. The Scots Tory MPs will march through the voting lobbies at Johnson’s command with those who have made it their life mission, starting with Brexit, to sell the UK down the vulture-capitalist river and unravel the post-war consensus the older generations built.  Independence is naturally on many voters’ minds.

But where this coming Thursday could well seal our Brexit fate overnight, it categorically will not rule on independence. An SNP vote can be followed by a No vote in any subsequent referendum. But be in no doubt that the calls for independence will only grow stronger if this Tory Brexit happens. Johnson may well block a 2020 Indyref2, but when one does come around, a Yes outcome will be all the more likely. 

A few extra SNP seats here or there will not change the fact the First Minister will request the powers to hold Indyref2, nor Johnson or Corbyn’s general stances on whether to grant it. But as we witnessed earlier this year, when it comes to Brexit in the Commons, even a single MP’s vote in a hung parliament could make every difference.

So from my generation to yours, help us maintain the country you have built. You don’t have to be convinced by our priorities; I just ask you to trust us and lend us your support. Whatever you do on Thursday, don’t make it the day you vote for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s Brexit Tories.