While the cause burns brightly is the party over for the SNP?

The resignation of Jean Urquhart MSP and John Finnie MSP from the SNP over last weekend’s NATO U-turn must have come like a thunderbolt out of the blue to Holyrood, to the political commentariat, and not least to their own party and to the people who elected them.

It may seem inexplicable in some places (aye, Westminster, I’m talking bout you) that elected politicians still exist who put cherished principles before career, ego, financial reward or even their party.  But it happens.  And it happened today in our own backyard.

Naturally the SNP will be unhappy to lose two talented and previously loyal members.  The party leadership will be unhappy as opponents use this as a stick to beat them over the head with. The party whips may grumble too since the SNP’s overall majority is now cut to just one.

But given that both MSPs are committed to supporting key SNP policies, and have indicated they will work alongside the SNP and Scottish government in Holyrood, the party leaders probably won’t envisage difficulties on key votes.

The short term effect on the SNP government and on the crucial Independence referendum campaign up to 2014 may be negligible.  The latter may even be enhanced as it’s possible both MSPs will be in demand over the coming two years as principled advocates for Independence. Freed from party and governmental responsibilities they’ll have more time to do active campaigning.

But the double resignation has also raised a question which many in the SNP are still very uncomfortable with. You can probably guess what’s coming up next but before I go any further I’ll lay my cards on the table.

I voted for and am broadly supportive of the SNP government.  Still.  Yes, it has done things which have pissed me off big style – chief among them trampling roughshod on local democracy over Donald Trump’s abomination in the Menie plus giving the tax dodging parasites at Amazon a £12m handout – but these are more than dwarfed by its continued commitment to universal healthcare and free education and many other progressive policies.  It is a reality that there are few, if any, governments in Europe who are more progressive than Scotland’s. I’m proud of many of the good things they have achieved.

As a party I have no ill-will towards the SNP.  Quite the opposite. I’ve got a lot of respect and affection for the SNP. Lest we forget, before us Johnny Come Latelys of the left got solidly behind the cause of Scottish Independence, it was the SNP who kept the torch burning through the dark years before the 1967 watershed.  It was the SNP in the 1970s who made it clear that North Sea oil was in Scottish waters and was being syphoned off by London.  It was the potential threat of the SNP that ensured the Scottish parliament was reconvened in 1999. And we should never forget that it’s the SNP who have made the 2014 referendum possible.  In power they have stick to their manifesto commitment and made sure our referendum takes place without outside interference from London. This is no small beer and it would be churlish to take any of it for granted.

This is why it is with gratitude rather than malice that I can cheerily state here and now that when we win the referendum in 2014 (as I believe we will) it is highly unlikely I’ll vote for the SNP again.  The SNP will have my eternal gratitude, definitely, for dragging, cajoling and inspiring us from A to B.  Job done and respect.  But my future vote?

When the first post-Indy Holyrood election comes around I’ll be looking for something a helluva lot more radical than the current SNP outlook has to offer; especially on such things as banking, inequality, progressive taxation, land reform, local democracy, defence, the head of state or constitutional rights. I’d like to see Scotland move towards a more direct participatory digital democracy exploring best practice in countries such as Norway, Iceland, India or Switzerland.  My hopes for an Independent Scotland also envisage a Scottish people empowered to do stuff for ourselves rather than rely on governments to wipe our arses.

This is hardly earth-shattering news to anyone who reads Bella Caledonia.  The normalisation of politics is, after all, what we’re all working towards.  But therein lies an unstated conundrum.  So, for a bit of fun, let’s bring it out into the open. What will happen to the SNP after 2014?  This is the question that dare not speak its name.

The resignation of Jean Urquhart and John Finnie on points of principle may be a good indicator of what the immediate future holds for the SNP.  After a Yes vote in 2014, I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of goodwill towards Alex Salmond and the SNP.  But  what unites the SNP as a party will be gone.  The sense of purpose that has sustained their very existence since the early 1930s is likely to fragment very quickly as party members embrace the values of left, right & centre and go their own way accordingly. It will be the career politicians, unable to shake off an addiction to high office, who will remain in the SNP after 2014 rather than the idealists and visionaries.

Things could get very interesting and pretty damn fast. There may not be much of a breathing space between a Yes vote and an overarching desire and sense of urgency to construct a new country that chimes with Scottish sensibilities.

Many commentators have sagely nodded their heads and whispered that should Yes triumph then the SNP will be re-elected in 2016 on the basis of their track record in government since 2007, or as a thank you for leading Scotland from the Union.  This is a possibility, of course. But its not the stick on that many people think.

Another possibility could see the parliamentary SNP group cut adrift from their former army of activists, losing many more Jean Urquharts and John Finnies in the process, whilst struggling to dampen the reinvigorated aspirations of what could be a highly politicised and demanding Scottish people.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.  Post-Yes, what will be interesting is trying to work out where an effective radical challenge to a rump SNP could emerge from between 2014 and 2016.  I have my thoughts on this but am happy enough to work for a Yes vote in the meantime and leave the speculation to anyone who dares.

Comments (46)

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  1. Embradon says:

    “When the first post-Indy Holyrood election comes around I’ll be looking for something a helluva lot more radical than the current SNP outlook has to offer” So will many in the SNP – but the task is to get to post-indy. Everything else is just daydreaming, princiled or otherwise.
    So will many in the SNP

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      The priority is to deliver a Yes definitely. But since the SNP are already debating policies post 2014 eg NATO the rest of us will too. Makes sense.

      KW

  2. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    No the party is not over for the SNP but it is for Finnie and Urquart who have just given the media the victory they were looking for against us and shafted me and the rest of us and all the activists in their self indulgence.
    I do not know what difference they though the vote the other way would have made to the operation of NATO and they fail to understand what the discipline of belonging to a party that takes democratic decisions means.
    Had the vote gone the other way would we have had resignations? I very much doubt it. As I said on another post political history is littered with cases of people whose unwise or untimely exercising of principles prevented them from achieving anything they set out to get.. How get out of NATO without being first independent is a mystery to me.
    I am really angry

  3. soosider says:

    After a Yes vote, everything changes and not just for the SNP, every political party will have to change, this I think will be an invigorating thing not just for politics but for the nation, yes it will be messy but then democracy is supposed to be messy. However to win the Yes we need to be wary of frightening people with too much uncertainty Monarchy, EU , NATO , written constitution and a whole raft of things will need to be looked at debated and agreed, but they will not all be done on day one. Lets keep our eye on first we have to win our independence then we decide what to do with it, because with out a Yes we will not get to address the other stuff.
    ps I am glad you have blogged this and hope you continue to do so.

  4. JPJ2 says:

    I am with Dave McEwan Hill on this. The twosome have damaged the cause of Scottish independence and have made the achievement of their own goal of a nuclear free Scotland outside NATO less-not more-likely.

  5. Well said; the impression I get from the SNP at the moment is that they see the governance of an independent Scotland very much in the mould of the current Scottish Parliament. Which, frankly, has me rather worried; not least because of their ongoing weakening of local government. Also, the cynic in me rather doubts that, having won independence for Scotland, the SNP as an organisation will be content to simply wither away.

  6. chicmac says:

    Bad enough counting eggs which haven’t hatched, but cracking them open in advance? C’mon guys, get a grip.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Your reply Chic could equally have been addressed – word for word – to those who brought forward a debate on NATO last weekend. As stated earlier, the SNP wont be left alone in preparing for a post-2014 political landscape. For everyone outside the SNP this means preliminary assessments of the political landscape post-2014 if Yes wins.

      KW

  7. DMyers says:

    I’m never sure what evidence there is for the assertion that the SNP will effectively disband post-independence. Are there comparative examples to draw on from other post-independence nationalist parties in other parts of the world? If so, name them instead of making non-evidenced points please. I’m sure the SNP will have enough ideas for Scotland’s way forward as an independent nation, so I see no need for the party’s extinction.
    As for my view on the two MSPs who chose to resign from the party, I don’t think it is a big deal. They are simply choosing not to be card-carrying SNP members, but will continue to vote with the government. Therefore they are in an effective coalition with the SNP and the majority remains unaffected. I’m sure Lamont and Davidson will try to stir up discontent tomorrow in parliament, but Salmond will have seen it coming and will deal with the issue.

  8. vronsky says:

    I don’t think the SNP will disband after independence but it will certainly split. It contains not just a right and a left, but a very definite right and a very definite left. It is impossible to imagine their continued co-existence absent the central unifying aim of ending the Union. I am of the left and find the attitudes of many within the party to be absolutely unbearable – I’m sure the feeling is mutual.

    I am firmly anti-NATO: it’s a criminal organisation, nukes or no nukes. Had I been a serving MSP the conference decision would sorely have tried me but I think I would have remained in place. There are many MSPs who will be as outraged and ashamed as Finnie and Urquart by the NATO volte-face, but they have stayed put. Tiocfaidh ár lá.

  9. Rob4i says:

    excellent article, I also have given consideration to a post independence Scotland and agree that the SNP may fragment but mostly my concerns are with the other parties.

    How can they possibly run for office in an independent Scotland when their political ideal was so fervently against indy. and did not want the Scottish people to even have a referendum!

    How can they possibly square all that with Scotland and its electorate when they had no vision for Scotland from the start and preferred their so called ‘own’ country be governed by another nation.
    Can anyone explain to me how that could possibly work!

    1. Tony Little says:

      Hi Rob, I think it is already beginning to formulate. In the next two years I expect to see “unofficial” Conservative and Labour parties develop. The likes of Murdo Fraser may lead a new “Scottish Conservative” party, the ‘Labour for Independence’ may coalesces into a new party, and the SDA have aspirations to form a party post-Independence to name just a few.
      My feeling is that as we approach the referendum, and particularly if a YES vote is a strong possibility, there will be a lot of politics going on! Interesting times indeed.

    2. Gary says:

      Don’t forget that Scottish Labour was against devolution until it was imposed on them by the London leadership (between the 74 elections). Nary a blush about this inconvenient fact; whatever-it-takes-to-keep-your-seat has been their political philosophy for a long time before Blairism.

  10. Tris says:

    I think the problem will be finding a more radical party after 2014.

    It depends on how the unionist parties behave in the aftermath. At the moment they haven’t advanced any policies at all for an independent Scotland, so we have no idea what they stand for.

    Will Labour become a genuinely Scottish organisation moving back to the centre left and supporting the benefits that they currently want to cut, or are they so London oriented that they will, at least for a while, continue to allow their policy direction to be controlled by the needs and aspirations of the voters of South East England.

    What will the Conservative and Unionist Party do?

    Will there even be a Liberal Party?

    Will the Liberals exist as any more than a rump

  11. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    Please delete my comment. Sentence missing. Does not make sense. Thanks.

  12. I voted for the resolution to join NATO, not because I approve of NATO, but to ease the path to Independence. That is my primary goal.

    This battle about NATO is for an Independent Scotland, it will be resolved by voting for the parties who will put their stalls out in 2016.

    I like Jean Urquhart and John Finnie but feel they have taken a very narrow view.

    supporting or

  13. chris15474 says:

    I was massively disappointed by the NATO decision but more disappointed in the resignations. I couldn’t understand the need for the debate in the first place 2 years out, but was impressed by the arguements and process.
    I have no doubt that any SNP will be much more radical after the YES vote but are taking a softer approach to get the vote. We must remember that huge numbers are frightened of indy for religious, security and economic reasons and while it is our job to try to allay those fears, if the SNP take a softer line to get the vote through we can all vote for the party which best represents ourselves in 2016. How any of the current bettertogether alliance could possibly even put theselves forward for an election in the new Scotland is beyond me but it will be interesting to see which ones do. I do accept that we will need ALL our talented people in the immediate aftermath but this must be a peoples parliament run by the Scottish people.

  14. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    Tthe SNP is the vehicle for independence. There is, currently, no other. The two quitters have acted irresponsibly,however highmindedly, and given the ravening wolves of a hostile media plenty to feed on. That, coupled with seeming conflicting notions about Scotland’s status vis-à-vis the EU and the surreal musings over the externals of a post-independence state, in Nato, with monarchy and UK pound inter alia, things are becoming messy. There is also a mood abroad which has given the impression that all is done and dusted and we just have to wait for autumn 2014. In fact, as our guts tell us, the hardcore intellectual and psychological case for independence has still to be made, let alone won. When. for example, people see independence only in terms of how well-off they’ll be the thing itself has failed to engage. Parties in office become complacent, smug and, as we have seen recently in the SNP’s global stage “grand designs”, rather otherworldly.A refocus on the Great Cause is needed for time is not on our side

    .

  15. Effie Deans says:

    it is not entirely clear how the independent socialist utopia of Scotland could maintain a currency union with the rest of the UK.

    1. soosider says:

      because it would be in both countries interest to do so, worse case we either use sterling anyway or get our own currency

  16. Ronald Henderson. says:

    Those two tossers didn’t resign from the SNP over a matter of principle. They resigned because of fuzzy thinking, self-indulgence, and a petty minded attitude to Scotland’s battle for independence.

  17. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Had Finnie and urquart had the slightest consideration for the party that put them in Parliament and the slightest concern for the rest of us and had they felt the need to leave us (which is permissable) they would have done so quietly and not staged a self indulgent TV coverage of the event.

  18. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    A very intersesting and honest article.

    Which political party forms the first government of an Independent Scotland is something I am really not concerned with. A yes vote is all that matters at this stage. I strongly suspect that the SNP will form the first government. Which other parties will be prepared and commited? The current unionist parties will have to have a clear out, and will need a few years to sort themselves out. A bit like a football team with terrible players. As a Hibby I know all about that!

    With regard to the NATO issue. I think it’s hellava complicated with Trident. The fact is we will have to retain Trident after Independence until the bloody thing is decommissioned. We can’t say to the rUK, we are giving you 6 months notice to take it away. The rUK could refuse to build the appropriate bunkers. What would we do then?

    My beef with the SNP is the lack of disclosure of all the facts. Alex Salmond did say we would get rid of Trident when possible. He hasn’t lied, but I suspect he hasn’t been completely transparent either. Having said all that an Independent Scotland could leave Nato at a later date. If we reject Independence we’re not only in Nato for good, but we retain nuclear weapons and will have to pay for the obscene Trident replacement.

  19. norrie hunter says:

    I feel the independence debate is now really taking off and this non story will be remembered for the new low the Labour party has reached. Once Alex gets confirmation that Scotland will be welcomed into the EU the unionists will be silenced. For what it is worth I will join Alan Grogans Labour party only if the current incumbents are booted out after Independence.

  20. Nice article Kevin; very honest and true.
    I believe, like all the others that have commented, that Jean & John have did a huge dis-service to Scotland, their electorate, and their responsibilities to the Democratic process in Scotland; Jean & John are nothing but self-indulgent fantasists.

    As for the politics of Scotland after independence, the ‘game’ will change dramatically after the ‘Yes’ vote in 2014, thus will be morphing dramatically from 2014, to 2016. We will see SNP split in three, with a central core of the ‘original’ SNP members staying with the party, and the old Labour and Conservative Unionists party’s dissolve, (along with their Union premise), and they will ‘board’ their political ideological left or right parts of the SNP. Watch for the hypocrites from Labour try to ‘board’ the loony-left SNP bunch.

  21. lenathehyena says:

    This is almost exactly what I would have written had I got around to doing it. One difference is the SNP already lost my vote, in the last local election, because of the disgraceful antics of its Aberdeen city councillors over cuts to the most vulnerable, destruction of the city’s heritage and cosying up to big business at the expense of sheer good taste. Then Alex Salmond, whom I have spent more time defending in the past than has been good for me, waded in to back – big business talking self-interested bollocks. His teflon coat was well and truly shattered then.

    The nauseating claptrap spouted by Kenny MacAskill at the Party conference and the grim-faced leadership incapable of acknowledging any argument from the other side of the NATO debate was a chilling reminder that whatever else they have done so far for Scotland, and here there is stronger emphasis on social responsibility than is evident in the rest of the UK, these people are politicians and as such will put expediency before all else.

    That the debate took place does indicate something very positive about the SNP. It was like going back to the old days of interesting Party conferences before the Labour Party, Tories and LibDems gagged their members to prevent internal criticisms of their increasingly right-wing policies.

    I was surprised and delighted by the resignation of the two principled SNP MSPs. It doesn’t happen often. It’s a shame the delegates voted with the leadership over NATO as the moral arguments were all with the anti-NATO speakers but the majority of uncritical followers did as they were instructed.

    For so long the SNP has kept its members in line, willingly. But this huge change in its constitution fundamentally alters so much of what the SNP has long stood for. I don’t like it and added to its over-eagerness to grovel to the dictates of big business, and yes I know why they do it, has alienated me from them.

    I will vote yes in 2014. I don’t understand anyone who would reason that independence would be anything but hugely positive for us in Scotland. We have been marginalised and our resources, including our people, have been exploited to our disadvantage for far too long but that doesn’t mean I support the SNP.

    1. paco mcsheepie says:

      I think it’s up to all pro Independence, believers or activists, to bypass the main stream media and have people understand that 2016 does not mean a must case SNP government.

      Currently all we hear is what the SNP say an Independent Scotland will be like but what about what Scottish Labour say an Independent Scotland will be like? Do the Lib Dems in Scotland not see what we all can in that they have a last chance of regaining credibility once detached from WM. They are having those conversations in private by now – they have to be. Even Murdo Fraser is simply biding his time to push his separatist Tory party as he sees how it must develop. It’s up to the Pro Indy supporters to show the No’s and the waverers what it might mean and only then might more people to start asking properly what a NO vote will mean. In an Independent Scotland the Tory and LibDem representation will grow again, no doubt in my mind.

    2. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Really?
      I don’t suppose the fact that youare about to get a chance to vote YES is anything to do with the SNP and its leadership then. Nothing to do with them then?

  22. paco mcsheepie says:

    Good article, the vast majority of I agree with.

    I don’t particularly relish the referendum campaign as it will be malicious and full of scaremongering lies. The individuals of higher prominance in the debates will be singled out for considerable scrutiny of subject matter not relative to the Independence question and as we sadly live in a society where Heat outsells The Economist much of the public will only raise an eyebrow to the slanderous side.

    I do, however, the actually look forward greatly to the period of campaigning for the election in 2016 (and possibly 2015 as the change of policy and positioning then will be hugely interesting to compare to the WM elections under the traditional ConDemLab partnership).

    I hope that the white paper includes such ideas as developing community involvement and the options to construct a new constitution, moving to a modern day progressive and inclusive society. We are a nation of under 6m people, it is most definitely achievable. If that argument is convincingly put out there and explained to all then I think it will garner the involvement and interest of the nation. If it is left to smear campaigns and false accusations the people will turn off from now all the way up to the final 8-10weeks and by then it’s a lot to get over.

  23. Galen10 says:

    If the two who resigned are so principled, can we expect them to resign at the earliest opportunity?

    No? I somehow doubt they will! Their move is massively self indulgent. If the NATO vote was such a huge issue for them, then they should have the confidence of their convictions and step down. They were elected as SNP representatives; if they can as a matter of principle no longer be part of the SNP then they should stand aside.

  24. muttley79 says:

    The SNP would likely split in the event of a Yes vote. However, it would be a gradual process. The people most pissed off at the NATO decision, perhaps also suspicious of the Trump/ big business policies, are likely to be the first ones who would leave. They will be privately angry, but will not like to give the media anymore ammunition after the resignation of Finnie and Urquart. I reckon people who are obviously on the SNP left, such as Sandra White, might think about leaving for a new Scottish Labour type party, which forms after independence. I suspect senior politicians, such as Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Neil, were not too enthusiastic about the new NATO policy, but they probably will stay within the party for at least a few terms. I definitely think there is room for a party between the SSP, Greens and the SNP. I would think a new Scottish Labour Party would be well placed to fill this space. They could push for more radical land reform, trade union rights, less inequality etc. You would obviously have a Conservative type party on the right, led by Murdo Fraser, and it would probably be joined by politicians from the SNP right wing after a few terms, people like Angus Robertson, John Swinney and perhaps the more right-wing members of Labour MSPs (there is a fair number at present). The SNP after independence would likely continue to go in a pro-big business direction. This might lead to further departures, of those more connected to social issues, such as Nicola Sturgeon, who might think about leaving after the first term if this occurs. If there is a Yes vote I would not be surprised if the present younger Westminster Labour politicians, such as Douglas Alexander, Murphy, sit out the first term, but think about standing for a second term. Whether Alexander, Murphy etc would be welcomed by voters, or want to even stand, is very debatable. The more inoffensive and recognisable left-wingers, such as Cathy Jamieson, might well stand for the first term, for a new Scottish Labour Party. Overall, I reckon the SNP would be disbanded after 3 terms (no more), in the event of a Yes vote.

    1. Good article and I agree with muttley79 that the party landscape will probably only restructure itself over the 2-3 elections after 2016. I think the odds would be strongly in favour of the SNP winning the 2016 election on the back of a Yes vote. The challenge for them will be to avoid becoming a populist, nationalist Fianna Fail type party. They will no doubt lose some activists. But the real question will be what happens to Labour because if it survives largely unreformed it will be a barrier to a realignment on the left.

  25. Lachie Macquarie says:

    I wish that the Highland two did not leave over NATO. Stay in the party and fight like the very Devil after 2014, Voltaire, take a hike.
    I wish that Donald Trump, who could play football for Scotland, was not allowed to swan around Balmedie, building golf courses like Marie Antoinette.
    I wish I could understand why the EU legal advice, yea or nay, has been turned into a debate whether or no, AS, is a mendacious dissembling toerag.
    He played a good game with, “Call me Dave”, William Donald Bent Nose, who could also play for Scotland, however, it now looks a wee bit like Craig Levein has been giving Eck advice about tactics.
    I also wish that we had won our first three games against Macedonia, Serbia and Wales, can Salmond be blamed for that too?
    I am continually thinking of the phrase, “don’t scare the horses”. Everybody should be saying that when they wake up. Too cynical?
    Oh and the SNP must think of Winston Spencer Churchill in 1945, the Tories were ejected and very radical Labour party were given a huge mandate.
    However, plebs, we must win the plebiscite. and then I can return to being a good, old fashion, Highland Liberal

    1. Nice one, Lachie; very poetic, and, made me smile.

  26. FWIW, disaffected SNP supporters are already joining the SSP. We had a street-stall in Irvine today (gathering signatures for a petition protesting the atrocious £2.65 paid to ‘modern apprentices’) – people on the ground are hacked-off at the NATO u-turn, and many cannot stomach the SNP’s stance on the monarchy. Of course, KW, many of us are grateful to the SNP for delivering this chance, but you’re right to raise this issue – the sooner it’s addressed the better, so we can all prepare for the post-referendum landscape, whatever the result may be.

  27. Macart says:

    After a successful YES vote and once we have a workable written constitution on the table, I’ll be hanging up my political spurs. Leave it up to the kids to make a better fist of a shiny new Scotland. Maybe they’ll form better parties and bring to office better politicians than we did for the past forty years.

    As for John Finnie and Jean Urquart? I admire their stance, but damn their timing really, reeeeallly could have been better.

  28. Let’s looks at the current politcal landscape – left of centre from moderate to more radical you have – SNP, Greens, SSP.
    There is no ‘moderate right’ there are only the neo-liberal Westminster clones who are reactionary, authoritarians seeking to destroy the social cohesion Scots consider important to their country.

    The question is just how – after opposing independence – can any of the current London run parties shift ground? How will Scottish New Labour throw off its emperor’s Tory clothes and have any credence politically? How will Scottish Tories shift ground to a more moderate right wing consensus? The current Liberal Democrats look electoral toast, polling less than the Greens in Scotland.

    Where will ‘Scottish Labour for independence’ find its home? Will it squeeze the Greens or the SSP?

    The Scots are very conservative in their voting habits and tend to go for ‘the safest pair of hands’ and apart from the SNPs Jean Urqhart’s on the left and Gordon Wilson’s on the right there will not be that many SNP supporters doing a runner post 2014, if the vote is a ‘Yes’. the ‘new’ independence parties of the right will have a lot to do to convince Scots of their ‘new found allegiance’.

  29. James Coleman says:

    The article is asking … “While the cause burns brightly is the party over for the SNP?” My answer is, of course not. Only the SNP can deliver a YES vote and Independence via the coming Referendum. And it would almost certainly continue as the main, even maybe the only pragmatic option for Government for many years after Independence. New parties would not form and coalesce to become viable in Government for a number of years.
    The Scottish Labour Party could be a real alternative but only if it gave up the fight for NO (or at the very least radically toned down its support for that) and joined the YES camp. Because if they don’t and Independence becomes a reality, the Scottish Labour Party would be so discredited as to be non-electable for years, to say nothing of the trials and tribulations that would be caused to it by the ‘homecoming’ of the displaced troughers at Westminster.
    Finally, who ever heard of successful politicians giving up power? And that applies as much to the SNP as any other Party.

  30. James Coleman says:

    John Finnie and Jean Urquart? Gesture politics of the worst kind unless they now resign from Parliament so that their place could be taken by another two SNP supporters. They have done nothing except cause uneccessary hassle for the SNP at a difficult time and have only given the hounds of the anti-Media another hare to chase.
    The SNP has to stick together through thick and thin regardless of principles if it/we want to win this Referendum, and members should bite their tongues until it is all over.

  31. thom Cross says:

    Scottish Political Education -Theatre style.
    Scene 1

    The scene is a private lounge in Gleneagles Hotel. The characters are the US Ambassador and his head of CIA (London) with Alex Trout leader of the Scottish Patriots Party.
    AMB: The par three at the 16th was a bit much for 400 yards!
    AT: With a wind behind me I’m glad for a 7.
    CIA: You’re intervention on Donald’s project was well received.
    AT: Well it’s up my way and I’m getting a deal on green fees. (A joke but no laughter from the CIA.)
    AMB: You’re drink’s OK?
    AT: Scottish water…fine.
    CIA: Mr Trout…
    AT: Call me Alex
    CIA: Mr Trout, you are aware of our concerns.
    AMB: Alex, excuse these young Turks. They‘re Texas aggressive… too much time fighting the Taliban.
    CIA: Faslane is vital to the effective defence of the Unites States…
    AMB: … and Europe and the UK….
    CIA: …they are vital strategic defence facilities for NATO and our nuclear strike capability-North sea based, secure and essential to the deployment of our IBMs and NWS security.
    AMB: Intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads storage, sorry Alex.
    AT: I have been briefed.
    AMB: You don’t want a Scotch in that water?
    AT: It’s Scottish enough… bottled just across there.
    CIA: (Annoyed at the interruptions) We must retain access to Faslane for our nuclear fleet. We are here to make a deal. What do you want?
    AT: I’ve had subtler approaches.
    AMB: Sorry Alex, we’ve lots goin on.
    CIA: (Goes to his briefcase and brings out a document)
    This is our position. We will support your case for Independence diplomatically. Washington still has some clout. We will support you economically and advise some of our companies on the joys of investing in Scotland.
    AT: Thanks but our political position is no nuclear weapons in Scotland.
    AMB: Then we will lease the entire base. We have experience. 18 American military bases around the world. Scotland would make it 19.
    AT: …and if we say no again.
    CIA: Don’t fornicate with us Mr Trout. Your economy will collapse within two years. If you are not with us you are against us. We will be happy to let the 125 American corporations currently in Scotland that we no longer want them here. They will listen to us I assure you. We will use all our media assets to so denigrate this fine country of yours that not a single American tourist will even stopover in transit. Your whisky will attract a series of new additional taxes . We will not recognise your tartan fking passport at our borders. Am I making myself clear?
    AMB: We will meet with you again next week Alex. Give you time to talk it over with your boys. Thanks for the game.

    What will/should AT’s response be?

    1. Lachie Macquarie says:

      Oh goody can we have the Americans back in Dunoon, it has been affy quiet for the last 20 years?

    2. Lachie Macquarie says:

      BTW Thom, good post, when are we getting Act II?

      1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

        Thom. And Lockerbie?

  32. Craig P says:

    Post independence there will be a lot of churn and Scotland’s future direction will be up for grabs. The SNP will be seen as the ‘steady as she goes’ party but it may well be that people don’t want steady as she goes (I don’t). I would expect, at a minimum, the socialists, greens, and right wingers would experience a surge in support. My shopping list would have localism, land reform, infrastructure expenditure high on the list, with votes on the EU, Euro, monarchy less important.

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