SNP will pay a heavy price for forsaking independence

SNP politicians appear to be paying little but lip-service to their main cause, says Kenny MacAskill

Independence has become to the SNP what clause four on nationalisation was to Labour. A slogan trumpeted to rally the troops and a phrase repeated ad infinitum in letters to the faithful seeking financial support. The old-time religion for the masses but something never to be implemented by a leadership who simply thole it. Some of the latter genuinely believe but with as much faith as many Christians have in the second coming, others are much more Blairite New Labour and awaiting a moment to reconfigure the party and Scotland within a New British State.

It’s a calamitous error, not least because the British state’s unstable and now’s the chance. But Starmer’s Labour are not going to reconfigure the UK. Instead, they’re relishing the opportunity to savour power and control.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Devolution only comes from nationalist pressure as the history books detail. Labour, whether in the 1920s, post-Second World War, or in the latter part of the last century, only moved on Scotland when they were afraid of independence. Not just attention but interest is elsewhere, and the Jocks can simply wait or who cares. Even committed devolutionists, such as some Red Clydesiders, were sidelined and ignored when they strived to deliver policy.

Disillusioned independence supporters are drifting away from the SNP (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Disillusioned independence supporters are drifting away from the SNP (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Disillusioned independence supporters are drifting away from the SNP (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Read More
Why Tony Blair says Scottish independence is ‘further away than ever'

Singing the Red Flag

Asking nicely gets you nothing as Scotland has found to her cost. What’s needed are demands and pressure. That comes from pushing for independence not pleading for devolution or increased powers. But that’s where the SNP have now sited themselves.

Of course, they’ll say it’s their raison d’etre just as Labour once lustily sang the Red Flag at the close of their conferences. But as with Labour then, the SNP have no intention of pushing for it, let alone demanding it. That’s why they’re seeking a “democratic event” if they win. But what’s that?

Starmer has already ruled out Indyref2 and will simply refer to the election that’s taken place. They’ll have no power in London and no plan as to what to do when they’re told just to go away. Many will simply breathe a sigh of relief and get on with enjoying the limited trappings of opposition there and continued power in Holyrood.

But it’s a tactical mistake with the British state and, similarly, with the Scottish electorate. Unionists look at them and see the old religion as many once feared socialism taking over in the UK. It’s stoked up as a bogeyman by opponents to mobilise against you. But if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t enthuse your own.

Independence matters

And it’s not just the actor Brian Cox who’s seeing the New SNP for what they are. It’s the reason behind the decline in their vote despite continued support for independence. In 2017, Sturgeon built up expectations of a referendum and then ran an election campaign distancing herself as far from it as possible. No wonder many just stayed at home.

What’s going to happen when change comes in political office, but there’s no change in policies? Labour austerity and war replacing Tory war and austerity. The shine’ll soon come off but what then?

Nothing makes the case for independence more than an energy-rich country and its folk in fuel poverty. It’s why independence matters, and the SNP will pay a heavy price forsaking it.

Kenny MacAskill is Alba MP for East Lothian



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.