The SNP’s version of independence is dead. That’s not to say indy is over, or the SNP, but the party’s core policy is passed.
What failed under Salmond is failing under Sturgeon. There is no coherent SNP indy policy. As this has been the case for more than 15 years of government, it is time we mourned and moved on.
Lots of voters want a better Scotland and assume that this requires more powers. That is the desire which drives our politics.
But the nation has to recognise that the SNP have no intention of completing their half-built vision for Scotland. It’s beyond them.
The brand known as SNP independence existed as an abstract for decades, then flickered into shape between 2011, say, and 2021. Ten years of almost being there, and then it wasn’t.
Which leaves the people with a vacuum. A space allocated for our national conversation in which nothing is happening. With no details to discuss or refine, we are just killing time to the next election.
For a nation with such profound social and economic problems, that cannot be right. It is as if we have been lured up a blind alley by peddlers selling every dream you ever had, only to find they are actually dealing in nothing.
Referendum reruns are a risky business
Putting the failed version to the test in another referendum, or even a campaign for a referendum on that vision, risks making Scotland look stupid. It could destroy the chances of any further powers, let alone independence, ever coming north.
Scotland will not stomach endless shots at the constitution game. A lazy case patronises its supporters. True believers are taken for granted. They can go to the Alba party if they want, but come any referendum, they’ll be voting on the SNP vision, come what may.
Converts brought in by a vision of social justice and green future are taken for fools. There’s no plan to honour the promises.
By demonstrating its lack of preparedness, the SNP is telling younger voters they can be taken for granted by establishment parties. Go hashtag woke, just don’t ask us for details.
SNP is thriving on devolution
The SNP is not dead. It has huge electoral support and latest polls show it dominating the political system. This stems from a combination of its middle of the road policies, the lack of opposition, the toxicity of Boris Johnson and the desire for more powers.
We have long known the SNP as the most successful devolution party. Only now is it obvious that they need devolution to survive.
It is beyond the SNP’s wit to solve the currency issue, and others, therefore they cling to devolution for as long as possible
The politics of “bad” UK, which sustains the SNP, can only function so long as the UK still matters.
The party leadership trade in the brand of independence, but depend on the market of devolution in the UK to sell their product. Further, the indy alternative to devolution is literally something the SNP can’t construct.
It is beyond their wit to solve the currency issue, and others, therefore they cling to devolution for as long as possible. “Wait and see what turns up” seems to be the strategy, while we enjoy the pomp of office.
Indy is not dead. It still commands very high support, with latest polling showing that around 55% of us want something called independence. Of those, many still assume the SNP have a plan, but at the same time suspect they don’t. It’s just a normal piece of contradictory thinking which underpins most of our hopes.
The SNP is a centrist social democratic force which uses the topic of independence to create a compelling contrast between Scotland and Westminster in order to retain power in Holyrood. And that’s it.
Helping poor children should be the focus
The latest focus of the party is child poverty. Nicola Sturgeon said in her conference speech last weekend that “eradicating child poverty is essential if we are to build the strongest foundation for Scotland’s future”.
Scotland has an awful record on alleviating, never mind eradicating, poverty. Every year, decade and generation, about 20% of Scots children are born into deprivation.
The first minister’s sentiment is correct – it is essential to tackle this.
In her speech, Sturgeon said she’d raise child payments to £20 per child. “Delivering it isn’t easy. It will involve hard choices elsewhere in our budget,” she warned.
💛 Eradicating child poverty is essential if we are to build the strongest foundation for Scotland’s future.
— The SNP (@theSNP) November 29, 2021
Which just leaves the obvious question. If child poverty is essential but budgets are tight, why would you put those children’s futures at further risk by gambling on an independent currency plan that you still can’t describe in detail? What is more essential: independence or ending child poverty?
Until the brand SNP indy can satisfactorily answer that in terms of financial detail, the product is finished. Until any indy vision can link major economic change to sustained social improvement, the whole topic may be dead.
A new national vision is needed, one which starts with helping poor children. That will build the strongest foundation for Scotland’s future.