19 Nov 2009

The SNP and a Second Term - What I am trying to say

I think in 2007 the SNP was right to take power, show there is an alternative to Labour and it that could run things competently. But it has done this and circumstances are now changing. So it might be time to consider tactical changes.

Getting a referendum , with the SNP as a party and a movement well placed to fight it, is I think where the focus must be. And whilst this is never going to be easy, having the Tories in Westminster with a small lead ( maybe a minority), Labour desperately looking for a way back to some sort of influence in Scotland , plus the lib dems keen on any slice of the action, might just see the SNP well placed to get a referendum - but neither as an incumbant government nor an irrelevance. But, unusually, and as a party on the front foot, Scotland's largest, one prepared to forgo office in order to win its principal objective. And this would not per se be independence, but rather a direct say in their future for the people of Scotland.

I would not condemn the SNP for what it did in 2007, but increasingly it looks like what it may have done - unwittingly but objectively - is traded power for forgoing a referendum: By this I don't mean a referendum was on offer (cause it was not), but rather that the Unionist parties have only let the SNP run a minority administration because they can block any referendum.

All I am suggesting is maybe - and only maybe - in 2011/12 there might be the opportunity to reverse the deal.

But power is seductive - for both the SNP who have it at Holyrood, and others who want it in London and Edinburgh. A potential trap, but a potential opportunity also.


Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers Thursday, November 19, 2009  

Too convuluted and ultimately defeatist. An option the SNP simply cannot afford.

Another option would be for the SNP to announce they regard Westminster as an irrelevance and decline to participate. But for that to have any resonance their supporters would have to register a 'none of the above' on their ballet paper for the effect to gain any credence.

The down side of each of these ideas is it could leave Labour with
the core legitimacy of being Scotland' representative in Westminster.

It has to be remembered devolution is in the gift of Westminster and can be revoked at any time.

It's my opinion, if that was put to a free vote in the Commons revocation would win hands down unless one or the other Westminster duopoly's held the power in Holyrood.

For now it seems the dirty tricks brigade is the only game in town and the SNP will have to be trickier, dirtier, cleverer and a darn sight more enthusiastic.

Either that or distribute around a couple of million copies of Braveheart around election time.

Alan Smart Thursday, November 19, 2009  

Crinkly & amp ...

I dont think this is convoluted or defeatist.

I just am suggesting there is more than one way to win.

There is a danger that retaining office in 2011 becomes such an over-riding objective the SNP, the mark of "success" that it loses sight of it principal objective.

Frankly, running devolution and, as is near certain having to implement real cuts of 10% or more , plus a unionist veto over a referendum, id say would not only be pointless, but downright dangerous. Labour, in opposition in London and holyrood could just wait and pose as "scotland's saviour".

It is the "well what else are we supposed to aim for" outlook I question. I dont have any worked out answer. But too many SNP folks just think once labour loses power at Westmister it will self combust, wither away. But the comrades will potentially be more dangerous than ever - we got a small taste of it in GNE where they pretended to be the opposition. But soon they really will be.

Administrator Thursday, November 19, 2009  

Is it in Cameron's interest to have a tranche of Labour MP's in Scotland?

MekQuarrie Thursday, November 19, 2009  

I think you've laid out the issues well enough AwC. Probably just disagree with your conclusions.

Even when we had solitary Members of Parliament in the bad old early days and a mere two thru'out the eighties, the SNP set the agenda. Any strategy that does not present an opportunity for our support to show itself is a missed opportunity.

Alan Smart Thursday, November 19, 2009  

MekQuarrie - i have not reached any conclusion, just trying to work out the potential implications of Glenrothes and GNE when fast forwarded to Labour in opposition coupled with block grant cuts by a Tory government.

if forced to chose now, id probably still go for the SNP in Government rather than out of it. But we should be aware of the dangers and keep the option of voluntary opposion under consideration.

And I also appreciate its easier for me to pontificate on a blog than for the SNP to openly debate this. But as an ex Labour party member, I think i know how Scottish Labour thinks - and some are thinking exactly this, how vulerable the SNP will be once they are out of office at Westminster.

Administrator Friday, November 20, 2009  

Interestingly enough at a recent meeting of SNP councillors, I discovered three out of seven were all former Labour Party members. I wonder how many leave the SNP for Labour...

Alan Smart Saturday, November 21, 2009  

probably your most fertile recruiting grounds. But refugees brink baggage and sometimes bitterness, so look out monty!

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers Saturday, November 21, 2009  

In essence the system is loaded against the SNP. Even the voting system, which by itself may have more legitimacy within an independent Scotland, is designed to prevent that very thing happening.

As much as it sticks in the craw, it's patently obvious the financial meltdown has taken some of the wind out of the sails of independence. And it's doubly annoying that the incompetence of those responsible at the time should benefit from it.

These are the facts the SNP have not only to live with but to overcome. And to that end I think the message from Jim Sillars is worthy of some attention.

Not so much on the specific issues he raised re: Trident, NATO and the EU - they can be debated later; but the fact of the UK spiralling down in the world rankings and the costs its willing to commit to maintaining its vanity to the detriment of its citizens wellbeing is a very real concern ready for exploitation.

Similarly his point about the SNP beginning to formulate, promote and publicise Scotland's statehood is equally valid.

However given the elephants that crashed through the roof in their first and minority term. They have earned the kudos of having handled their pocket money in a prudent and competent fashion. Lets hope they get (and use) a second term to form the foundations for Scotland's independent future.

And to that end, while I can see the advantages 20 MP's at Westminster would give, they will never win Scotland's freedom from the Westminster chamber.

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