Analysis: A ‘bonkers’ policy that damages the party’s credibility

NEWS that Nato has dropped off the agenda for the SNP’s meeting on 16 June raises a few eyebrows. The party’s long-standing policy to quit the most successful military alliance in history has damaged its electoral credibility, internationally if not domestically.

Indeed, the SNP hierarchy has privately acknowledged for years that the policy is “bonkers” and would have to change.

We all thought this particular thistle would have been grasped next month. Hot on the heels of the recent strategic defeat in the local authorities elections, and coupled with prevarication, change of tack and/or lack of detail on issues such as the monarchy, currency and foreign policy, this may be but the latest sign of internal dissonance.

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But perhaps the well-trailed proposal to change the party’s stance on Nato has proved to be a bridge too far for the burgeoning masses at grassroots level. After all, Nato is still a “nuclear-led alliance” which espouses the legitimacy of first strike, and it has a point.

Paradoxically, the SNP can be painfully democratic when it comes to policy, and the wider membership may have held sway. If so they have done the party no favours, because the SNP’s current policy on Nato is a self-made rod for its back.

Pragmatism should never overrule principles, but principles can be applied pragmatically. An independent Scotland would be better off inside Nato than out.

l Stuart Crawford is a former SNP candidate and lieutenant colonel.