'Old SNP' bit their tongues as 'New SNP' played down their dreams but they have finally had enough – Kenny MacAskill MP

There’s turbulence in the air for independence but that support has stayed so robust should be a warning to unionists.

Some 'Old SNP' members have stayed quiet as the 'New SNP' dominated the party, while others like Joanna Cherry, above, bravely fought back. But their mood has recently changed, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
Some 'Old SNP' members have stayed quiet as the 'New SNP' dominated the party, while others like Joanna Cherry, above, bravely fought back. But their mood has recently changed, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Independence remaining the most important issue was revealing. Poll leads whilst no campaigning also show the underlying hostility to what’s happening in the UK.

So there’s life in the movement yet with the Salmond-Sturgeon slug-fest leaving many more bemused than disillusioned. But parts of the Yes campaign have been re-energised and other parts are set to grow, whatever happens within the SNP.

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For as SNP membership has shrunk and their leadership of the independence campaign lessened, others in the Yes movement have grown and picked up the mantle.

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The ‘New SNP’ has seen the party play down the old-time religion, with only mantra chants at conference or lip service paid. That the party has spent more on legal fees than independence campaigning testifies to it.

Whatever the fallout within the SNP, the genie’s out of the bottle and it is a wider campaign that’s in the air.

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Work that should have been done by the party has either been done by stalwarts within it or the wider movement outwith it. That ceding of power won’t be reversed even when internal SNP issues are resolved.

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The dynamic within the party will also be interesting. Those who might be termed ‘Old SNP’ in attitudes rather than chronological age have been revived.

Many were longstanding members, joining prior to the SNP surge or even 2014, though others were not. But all share a desire for independence and a radical agenda based on a vision of a better and fairer Scotland.

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Many had taken a back seat over recent years, allowing newer members to take the lead. They have also been muted as gender and sexual identity politics were pursued.

Whilst some like Joanna Cherry bravely fought back, many – though sympathetic – have remained quiet on the sidelines.

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But no more. They’ve bided their time long enough but are no more prepared to bite their lip and are speaking out. Who knows what the future holds, but the Old SNP’s back and the Yes movement remains strong.

Kenny MacAskill is the SNP MP for East Lothian

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