The SNP Must Sell a Radical Vision, not just Managerial Competence 304

I have a confession to make. I kept my opinion of the SNP’s election campaign from you in order not to hurt the SNP during the campaign. I did however express it deep in James Kelly’s comments pages 12 days ago.

Yes, the SNP won the election in Scotland. 35 out of 59 seats is a clear majority. The Tories only have 13 Scottish seats. That is just 21% so there is no sense in which the Tories “won” Scotland. Do not believe the media lies.

But it remains the case that Theresa May is only able to cling on to No.10 because of the gains the Tories made from the SNP in Scotland. That is shameful and must be squarely faced.

There is a vital truth here. Support for Independence itself remains at almost exactly the same level as it was in 2015 when the SNP swept to 56 seats. Many opinion polls measured support for Independence during the campaign and their range was 42% to 54% for Independence.

So the SNP fall in MPs was not because of a drop in support for Independence. It was rather because the SNP failed the cause of Independence. Specifically they failed even to seek to present a radical and transformative view of what an Independent Scotland might look like.

In 2015 the SNP vote almost exactly equated to the level of support for Independence. Now the SNP vote underperforms Independence support by 10%.

This is not unfortunate. It is an entirely foreseeable consequence of a deliberate and wrong decision by the SNP leadership. They never once, at any time, made the case for Independence during the election campaign. Rather they fell straight into the trap laid by the unionists, of defending their government record in Holyrood.

Scotland’s lack of Independence leads to a constant drain on our resources in a massively London-centric economy. Our money is sucked down there and much of our best talent leaves to work in UK-HQ corporations and ministries based there. That is a different argument to the equally vital one that we are tied in to a neo-liberal austerity programme that prevents us from growing our economy, and to a number of completely inappropriate policies including on immigration.

Bound hand and foot by these constraints, the SNP has struggled at Holyrood – with very great skill – to manage matters as best they can to mitigate the Tory damage in Scotland, within the limited resources they are allowed. But this is utterly different to the situation if Scotland were an independent country and Holyrood a real parliament, and not what it actually is – a glorified regional council.

In this situation, where everything is stacked to ensure its failure, the SNP strategists boneheadedly accepted to fight on the enemy’s chosen ground. What the SNP offered in this election in no way stirred the blood, not even of their own supporters. The SNP did not mention the struggle for national freedom or the kind of country we will build if Independent. It rather attempts to win the support of the Scottish people by offering competent managerialism. “Don’t be scared, we are not nasty nationalists, we are harmless technocrats” is the line.

I hope the hard lesson of this election has been learned. You cannot manage Scotland with competence within the madhouse which is the Tory UK. You are on a hiding to nothing explaining that you can.

Yes it is indeed true that the media unfairly and deliberately, in every interview with Nicola Sturgeon, honed in on devolved matters irrelevant to a Westminster election. That was wrong of the media. But Sturgeon happily wandered around in their labyrinthine trap for long periods, providing lengthy and rational ripostes on educational attainment for 7 year olds. Above all, she emphasised it was not her who wanted to talk about a second referendum, it was that Ruth Davidson.

Sturgeon hotly denied she wanted to talk about Independence at all, saying only the Unionists kept bringing it up. It was a clever debating society point, but by refusing to make the case for Independence – and by appearing to concede it was a difficult area for her – Sturgeon was damaging the Independence cause and ultimately the SNP.

What Nicola Sturgeon should have done is the precise opposite of what she did do.

She should have taken every precious moment of TV time to outline the positive case for Independence, to declare her determination to achieve Independence, and to achieve it within the next Westminster parliament. She should have slammed Trident and slammed the British kowtowing to Saudi Arabia and to Donald Trump, and stated that Scotland should be an independent country with its own foreign and defence policy. She should have slammed austerity and Tory cuts and said that Scotland needs to be an independent country with its own economic policy that will look after its struggling, its disabled and its aged. She should have slammed Brexit and stated it is going to destroy the Scottish economy, and that Scotland needs to be an independent country within the EU.

Sturgeon did refer to all of these policy areas. But her entire dialogue was framed around how they should be tackled within a devolution settlement. Independence was almost entirely avoided as something that might scare the horses.

Much of The SNP campaign echoed the Tories in spin doctored meaninglessness. The pictures of activists holding up placards saying “Stronger for Scotland”, and repetition of the constant mantra about strengthening Nicola Sturgeon’s hand in talks, was just a mirror image of Theresa May. I find it worrying in principle and it was as electorally counterproductive as I knew it would be.

Nicola Sturgeon adopted a deliberate policy of being all things to all men. She ran a campaign designed to say the SNP can attract the votes of unionists and the votes of Brexiteers. She attempted a “mother of the whole country” routine. Putting out the message that anybody can vote SNP because it doesn’t believe in anything much, it is just competent. This was incredibly stupid. It did not work and it did not deserve to.

Anyone can see that there is a worldwide mood of insurgency against the neo-liberal establishment. The fantastic Yes street campaign was absolutely a part of that. Corbyn has grabbed that mood and ran an inspired insurgency campaign. A great many Independence supporters – including some of my family – voted Labour yesterday to support the Corbyn insurgency, after being active members of the Yes insurgency. They still support Independence.

But in an age of insurgency politics, for the SNP to choose to run its entire election campaign on the basis of being a safe managerial political establishment for Scotland, was such a crass decision that it beggars belief. Many radicals went to Labour, while many of those who do like a comfortable political establishment decided they would rather have the real Tory version.

I greatly fear that the SNP will now compound the error by backing away from the second referendum and pushing Independence even further to the back-burner. The SNP needs to do the opposite. It needs to rediscover the Spirit of Independence and reconnect to the Scottish people. And it needs to sack the great raft of highly paid, besuited, professional spin doctors and political advisers I see going in and out of SNP HQ every day (I live next door). They look indistinguishable from their New Labour and Tory cousins and are a class of people the Independence movement really does not need.

One little anecdote. I have a large balcony overlooking Dynamic Earth, in a very prominent position and busy area. I wandered in to SNP HQ to see if they could give me a really big banner or poster to put up. The place was absolutely crammed with besuited spin doctors talking earnestly to each other and very much looking down their noses at me, resenting my intrusion into their space. They had hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of spin doctors, but no poster bigger than a tiny A3. That says it all for me.

I voted for Tommy Sheppard. I did so with pride and I am delighted he is back in. After a period of semi-detachment from the SNP, I am going to be more active inside it to argue for a much more radical and definite attachment to Independence upfront and at all times. And to make sure that the SNP is a quick route to Independence, and not just a quick route to a political class career path. In practice, building any other vehicle than the SNP to carry forward the Yes movement would be almost impossible.

As an institution in itself, the SNP is a very successful institution. There is no denying it. But as a vehicle for actual Independence, it is stationary with the handbrake on, and as a vehicle for radicalism its battery is flat and it has become positively inert. But let’s not abandon it, let’s try a push start.

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304 thoughts on “The SNP Must Sell a Radical Vision, not just Managerial Competence

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  • K Crosby

    You’ve just anatomised the difference between the SNP that you want and the actually-existing SNP that you’ve got. Sturgeon and Co. know the same as you and chose to play the unionist game, because they care more about their snouts in the trough than the people who fill it. The SNP is as bourgeois as the other parteis that play the FPTP game and they’ve been found out.

    • Gordie

      The labour party through Gordon Brown and their friends in the press fuck=d us over during the referendum. They were entitled to argue against Independence but they were not entitled to rig up a BBC studio in Kirkaldy a few days before the vote and put an invisible ‘home rule’ option on the ballot paper. They then went into the Smith commission and shafted us there. Proposing the absolute minimum in terms of new powers devolved to Scotland that they could get away with whilst allowing the Daily Record, unionist politicians etc to proclaim that their vow was delivered. We are left with much the same as we had before. A parliament that can but mitigate some of the worst policies from Tory run Westminster (policies like the finance bill which included the worst aspects of the austerity all waved through by a weak Corbyn opposition). Now Corbyn comes out with a manifesto which neglects to offer much to the already dispossessed but which can offer the Scottish people policies that can’t be delivered via the Scottish parliament (rail nationalisation, large scale borrowing for capital spending etc). it is all a very neat trick.
      We simply sell ourselves out every time, every time. We vote for England. But we are nice people really so want to vote for nice England then rather than nasty England.

      Who knows genuinely decent might yet come of all this. Politics seems such a shambles down there that the great mass of English people might actually benefit from the ownership of their Scottish assets for once. That would at least be something.

      Oh and before we get carried away with the magical Labour manifesto It wasn’t much different from the SNP other than the powers available to the English politicians as opposed to the ones available to the Pro Indy ones up here. We are a country of sell outs and no amount of mythologising the way you vote will change that. Whether it is arseholes voting for tories in Stirling, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Moray or pro Indy voters voting for an English MP with a conscience will change that. Scraps off the table are all we deserve and scraps off the table are all we will get.

    • Gordie

      It is not the SNP but the Scottish people who are the sell outs. We will continue to sell ourselves out regardless of the offers or vision the SNP. The house of lords is full of our own people.

      Only the bourgeois describe others as bourgeois by the way.

  • JoeMac90

    As a McLean born in Manchester, I am all for Scottish Independence and if fact would support an Independent Scotland including the North from Manchester, rather than be ruled by London.

    This could have been a completely different result if Labour and SNP could have worked together.
    This is not a Tory victory in Scotland, the majority of people in Scotland voted against the Tories in all the Conservative constituency gains but the opposition vote was split between SNP & Labour.
    Both Labour and SNP need to start working together, or history will keep repeating itself :

    • Clydebuilt

      JoeMac90. Scottish Labour leadership have a deep hatred of the SNP. In a recent Sunday Herald Kezia Dugdale had an article the strap line was “I wouldn’t go for a drink with Sturgeon” It’s Labour’s stance against independence and voting against the SNP at Holyrood that has done for them.
      Dugdale came out strongly against Corbyn, as did the only Scottish Labour MP Ian Martin.
      Maybe Corbyn will clean output the Blairites and we’ll get labour politicians in Scotland that could work with the SNP.

      • Gordie

        Corbyn will shaft the SNP at his first opportunity. He is an English MP looking to run the British State and the British state will want to hold on to its Scottish Assets. Undermining the SNP through coalition with the tories and the Unionist media in Scotland is simply part of the game to ensure Scotland stays an English colony. Corbyn’s anti nuclear principles didn’t last long do we really think he will miss an opportunity to shaft a country that he knows fall about and a cause that doesn’t register with him at all?

        Undermining the rights of Scots to run their own country is part of the reality of political life in Scotland, The main agent of the state in Scotland is the British labour party The 40% rule, the Vow, the Smith Commission all were designed to keep Scotland dependent on the British state rather than Independent and able to control our own assets. Coalition with tories, straw men candidates in tight SNP held seats, collaboration between unionist politicians and the BBC, we will see it all again and again here. A vote for Corbyn was a vote for the continuation of English rule in Scotland until we show some respect for this entity that we call Scotland and what it is capable of providing for the people who live here then we will remain a colony of England.

      • Jo


        The visceral hatred between Labour and the SNP works both ways. It isn’t good for either side. And it aids Davidson. Big time.

  • reel guid

    Saw a good joke over on another blog.

    Theresa May is lame duck a l’orange.

  • Scott Egner

    I remember someone saying that they had a bit of inside info on SNP manifesto and that it was a belter. I felt completely deflated when it came out.
    I think this has been a timely wake up call but to be fair the SNP’s rise has been incredible and perhaps hard to know how to handle. When the finish line is almost in sight, it’s always tempting not to want to do anything that would trip you up.

    The revelation of corbyn was his straight and principled talking (probably with the exception of trident) and it shone through. He had nothing to lose and just went for it and I’m really pleased for him. I hope the SNP membership is allowed have an impact here and I believe that Tommy is the man to promote that. I have put forward suggestions in the past with zero feedback.

    The message now needs to be simple. To have ADEQUATE control over education, health, etc, Scotland needs control of its money supply and that involves independence and a divorce from the pound. I know the SNP don’t want to get involved in talking currency but they will have to if they want to bring home their prize.

    They also let corbyn off the hook with his turbo charged austerity comment. I would have delved much deeper into that comment considering Scotland’s per capita energy by far surpasses the rest of the UK. As professor Steve keen talks about, Energy underpins the economy. You just need a currency to unlock the nation’s resource. Keen spoke positively of the SNP’s growth proposals but he was backing corbyn big time in GE17.

    All this is easy in hindsight I know and I’m no strategist but Nicola sturgeon has an opportunity now to go back to basics. The majority in England is neoliberal, the majority in Scotland is not.

    Ruth Davidson offered an alternative to independence and here it is. Bigoted Scottish councillors and the DUP.
    Time to stop fannying about.

    Great blog Craig

    • MJ

      “Scotland needs control of its money supply and that involves independence and a divorce from the pound. I know the SNP don’t want to get involved in talking currency but they will have to if they want to bring home their prize”

      Spot on. An independent currency is a prerequisite to political independence and the SNP just doesn’t want to know.

      • Salford Lad

        The level of Monetary and Economic understanding is abysmal in the SNP. Scotland cannot be a free Sovereign nation , within the EU if it adopts the Euro.
        It will be constrained by the shackles of the ECB , with its austerity policy of Stability and Growth Pact and its it 3% deficit limit..
        To grow an economy,one must invest and the Govt must have the freedom to issue its own Currency for this investment, This is restricted in the EU.
        I wish Scotland well in their bid for Independence, but I fear for their future if they cannot understand the Economics of their decision.
        Lessons need to be learned from the failed,captured Nations of Europe, Greece being particularly a lesson.
        Policy wise, the SNP need no look no further than the Labour Manifesto, a true alternative to the debilitating effect of neo-liberalism. As an aside ,much of this Manifesto is unable to be implemented under European rules.

          • MJ

            Some key Labour policies (like renationalisation of rail and utilities) would be illegal under EU law.

          • Salford Lad

            Davie, I was considering SNP in Europe attempting to implement anti-neo-liberal socialist policies.

        • scottieDog

          I think the penny has dropped over floating currency but they know it will open another can of worms. Worms and all however it has to be discussed.
          Uk isn’t currently shackled by SGP.

        • craig Post author

          Salford Lad,

          It is simply untrue. For example, many EU members – I suspect most – have nationally owned railways. Yet people like yourself constantly repeat the lie this is illegal under EU rules. Quit the Boris style lies.

          • MJ

            It was me. Existing state-owned services can be retained but if they’re privatised they can’t be renationalised. Free market, tender process and all that.

          • Salford Lad

            I am not Boris and there are Eu rules which prevent re-nationalisation of State utilities. I am sure a little research would uncover this. But the schlerotic EU Bureaucracy would certainly put up many obstacles to please their Corporate masters.

          • Phil the ex-frog


            But “nationally owned railways” is not the same as a nationalisation.

            EU competition directives have forced member states to open up their railways. The state carrier becomes just one more competing company. This is very different to an integrated state monopoly railway system, which is what most of us understand as nationalised.

            Even France has multiple train operators. Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, too. And the rest. Ireland is the only surviving EU state monopoly railway system and this is in the process of being ‘liberalised’ (ie broken up) to conform to EU directives.

            A nationalised* railway system is not possible within the EU.

            * meaning a state monopoly (not meaning that the state is allowed to compete).

  • David Venables

    I support Scottish indepedence provided the majority of Scots do. I would also support an independent Yorkshire, the scrapping of Westminster and the establishment of an English parliament in North Lincolnshire. Admittedly my visions are much less likely but I wondered if my dreams are of a normal person or a rabid racist nationalist.

  • DAve - T

    YES! Absolutely Craig! I have been saying this for what seems like years now. I hope the SNP learns something from J.C.s success and stops sitting on the fence shilly shallying, trying to please everyone. Start leading with principles and forward thinking policy. Lead, convince, persuade. Get rid of the corporate appeasers and stop pandering to the center right.

  • reel guid

    I don’t think Sturgeon is backing off from indyref2. The SNP leadership are just letting the dust settle. Once the brexit negotiations start to provide the unpleasant reality of what being out the EU actually entails, the mood in Scotland will be strongly in favour of that second indyref.

  • Pam Spearwood

    I have only recently followed your blog, which I enjoy very much. I came across it via JC4PM sites. When the referendum was on, I was horrified at the thought of losing Scotland, dear to my heart. But now, i am beginning to feel differently about it, and think Scottish independence would be better for Scotland, and hey, maybe the north of England as well, also dear to my heart.
    How do you think a JC government would look on independence for Scotland?

    • Alistair Granham

      “How do you think a JC government would look on independence for Scotland?”
      Yes – I’m very interested in that question too. And the question of how Scots themselves would vote in an independence referendum if JC were Prime Minister.

    • Anne

      “Loosing Scotland” why do people keep saying this. We’re not going anywhere. I actually feel – sorry:) agrieved when I hear it.

    • Gordie

      Scotland is a colony of England and Corbyn would reinforce his commitment to Scotland’s continuing colonial status in exactly the same way as any other British Prime Minister while throwing us a few scraps of welfare and public spending and we would vote for that. Scotland’s assets are a possession and the Scottish parliament will never be allowed access to them though what passes for the democratic process in Scotland. We have to go cap in hand to English/British politicians regardless of our mandate and ask permission. Even the referendum route is a sham. There are horrendous differences in power between YES and NO and a media far more hostile to Scottish Independence than anything jeremy Corbyn has faced in England. English politicians have the power to make making new offers through their Scottish/British proxies. England controls Scotland’s Assets, most of our revenue, our military and our media. This makes it near impossible to achieve as things stand. That’s not to say anyone is giving up. I personally won’t settle for living in a colony of either England’s nice version under a Corbyn or a Corbyn mark2 or 3 or the nasty version and believe that tone of what Craig Murray has written here is about correct.

  • scrandoonyeah

    Never a truer word spoken.

    It is as if we were shamed into being ashamed of what we stand for and what we believe in when we should be shouting it from the rooftops…….

    • Megan

      Totally,! next all under one banner peaceful march is in September for indyref2. Hope to see you there. Checkout the 3.6.17 indyref march on YouTube, with 20,000 taking part! ?

      • scrandoonyeah

        I was there and will be there in sept again…..and again…..and again until we are independent.

  • Clydebuilt

    Nail On Head……. Nicola her Husband and the rest of the management team need to read this , and then tested on it , to make sure they get it!

  • Bob Costello

    Been saying exactly this for a long time craig and been vilified for it. I have actually had one of the less able to think acolytes from Dundee west office commenting on one of my blogs that I was partly responsible for the results. They will now be sitting in wee huddled convincing themselves that it was every body’s fault but theirs. You are also right about them taking independence off the agenda for the foreseeable future I believe

  • Grafter

    Well said Craig. SNP played a bad hand. No fire or enthusiasm for independence shown. Trapped in a unionist set agenda and playing by their rules. A complete overhaul of strategy is required and much wider appeal to younger voters is a must.

  • Jo

    I disagree on many levels here Craig and do so as a YES and as someone who has voted SNP for a long time. I didn’t vote for them on Thursday.

    It was the issue of independence that gave Davidson all those seats. It gave her her whole campaign! She should have been getting pelters from all the other Parties up here about Tory policy. Instead Nicola caved in and agreed to throw indyref2 into the mix. That was the big mistake.

    Post the EU vote she gave a very powerful response at Holyrood and brought both Labour and the Lib Dems on board along with the Greens to fight Scotland’s corner. The Tories sat isolated. I actually applauded here at home.

    Nicola had previously said no to a second independence referendum on the grounds that it was too soon and the risk of losing. She said she’d want to see 60% support before considering it. She should not have caved in to those who thought otherwise. I’d like to know who they were because they presented Davidson with a gift that kept giving throughout the campaign and, ultimately, with all those seats. They also ensured the collapse of the consensus found with Labour and the Lib Dems. They enabled Davidson to topple Salmond and Robertson and to act like some exceptional politician when in fact she’s nothing of the sort. One thing brought all these plaudits for Davidson: Indyref2.

    It was madness. It said to 62% who voted Remain that Nicola was using them to suggest there was support for indyref2. As a YES myself in 2014 I know many NOs who were livid about that. I was unhappy myself.

    The SNP won on Thursday but they were warned too Craig. I hope Nicola and those who pushed her down the indyref2 path will heed the warning. You cannot say, “Once in a generation/lifetime.” or “We need 60% support first.” and then cast those conditions aside. People heard them! The impact of Brexit was bad enough without throwing in another referendum as well! It was a huge mistake.

    Nicola needs to regroup and learn from this, fast. Devolved they may be but education and health have thrown up worrying issues lately. She needs to do something about both, now! The SNP must rebuild and win votes back, as I said, heed the warning. They should remember what Scotland did to Labour in 2015. It will do the same to any Party who takes votes for granted.

    I remain stunned that Tory votes up here saved May entirely! Her manifesto should never have found favour here and Davidson should have been getting hammered on it, hourly, throughout that campaign. Instead she got to run the whole show and there was only one show in town for Davidson – indyref2!

    So be glad you still have 35 seats Nicola. Start over, refocus and win those seats back by concentrating on what is important right now. Because even for some of us who remain YES it was the wrong and worst time to throw another independence referendum into what was already a bubbling mix of awful things. Learn from it, for all our sakes.

    • Az

      I think Craig’s analysis is rather better; yours appears to come from a certain absorption of media spin.

      • Jo

        I can assure you that I am no fan of the media and your arrogant dismissal of my own views based on what I personally saw and heard is just typical of many in this debate. I do NOT allow media spin to form my views, ever. Indeed on this very blog I have condemned the media regularly for being the sewer it has become.

        • David Venables

          As someone without a dog in this fight and having been simlarly shocked at the results in Scotland I find your analysis nearer the mark Jo. Just one proviso – in many years running change across and within national boundaries Craigs suggestions of a compelling Vision of the future state is imperative. You can never push people into change as the harder you push the more their resitance increases to maintain the status quo. You must create the pull.

          • Jo

            You’re entitled to a view as we all are. What Az is not entitled to do is insult me by stating I use media spin to form my own views thereby further suggesting I’m not capable of forming my own views. Disagreement is fine, insults are just not necessary.

          • David Venables

            Yourself Az and Craig are probably on the extreme right of the bell curve Jo obviously isn’t and her views represent a large proportion of voters as evidenced by the statistics presented by Papko on page 2 of these comments.

    • Cynicus

      Brilliant analysis, Jo, by far the sanest post on here. I would add only two small points: a ballot-box fatigue by a Scottish electorate summoned to the polling places far too often already since 2010, horrified at the prospect of another unnecessary clai on thir patience. “Strong and Stable” called an unnecessary vote after promising to stay the course. “On the table” threateed the same with an even worse result in terms of lost seats.

      Elsewhere, Craig brilliantly attacks the Blairites for listening only to their own kind. He should have a re-think and ask himself if he is not doing the same on Indyref2. Not only did the SNP lose more than 20 seats. All but a few retained must now be considered marginal. If they take Craig’s advice then, possibly before the year is out and there is another GE, it could be 1979 revisited as the FPTP system reduces their numbers to single figures.

      • Jo

        Thanks for your response Cynicus.

        I too feel concerned at the prospect of yet another GE soon. You are right that many of those well-won seats in 2015 are certainly now marginals.

        I’m also alarmed that some consider “competent management” unimportant. Had Salmond taken that approach in 2007 I doubt his administration would have survived a first term!

        Like you I agree with Craig’s assessment of those Blairites.

  • Crabbit Geezer

    A painfully accurate assessment of the SNP election strategy and general policy. It has been my view since before the indyref vote that the SNP had to “take the gloves off” in the fight for an independent Scotland and take the Unionists head on. Instead, as Craig points out, they tried to influence voters on “local” Scottish issues, which in real terms aren’t really what’s been top of the political agenda and certainly not one that the Media establishment have missed. Why they ever rejected the services of Craig Murray beats me and maybe there lies the rub. Let’s face it, it’s people like Craig that they need in their corner; who would give them that edge and push them that bit further, not reject them like they did. Ever since the Scottish Parliament was formed I have voted SNP in those elections and have voted SNP in Westminster elections since 2015 and I will continue to do so because my main objective is independence. After that the landscape changes, but not until then. I believe it’s passed the time for the SNP to get more aggressive and assertive and I think that a very good place to start would be by taking Craig’s advice.

    • Robert Crawford

      “Why they rejected the services of Craig Murray’s beats me”

      They appointed a “barber” instead.

      That is why I will not vote for the barber.

      A lost vote for the SNP. However, he did not need my vote.

      • reel guid

        I agree it was incredibly stupid of the SNP to stop Craig becoming a candidate. But steady on Robert. Why shouldn’t a barber be an SNP MP? That does sound a wee bit snobbish.

        • Robert Crawford

          Snobbish eh.

          We need to bring 6 oil wells back into our Maritime Boundary that the Labour Government stole the night before the Scottish Parliament opened.
          That used to be Craig’s job to negotiate these things.
          Now, what expertise has the barber got? Other than a head to count. Tell me.

          We need people with savvy, with specialist skills to be able to counter Westminster. They have the experts. We don’t.

          Yes I am snobbish, in that sense.

        • james Coleman

          Would you people identify who you are talking about. Your comments are otherwise gibberish. Who is the “barber”?

  • Catherine McRorie

    Well said & agree sole purpose of my becoming a member of SNP & voting for them is for Scotland to become an Independent Country. I appreciate all they have done in Gov but your right they need to be on message & stick to it. There is an appetite for taking it to People & WM Gov not appease them or the bias media.
    When SNP got 59 MP’s they should not have dent them to WM to be marginalised. Should have announced UDI
    Thanks Craig, please get more involved

      • Habbabkuk

        I agree it is always there as a last resort. Ian Smith did it in the 1960s.

    • Lisa Smith

      Agree Catherine, with what has happened now, SNP could have taken that 56 seat Landslide, called a National Convention and declared UDI…..Why not?…hindsight is a great thing eh?… horse in the mouth perhaps….time has come to stop the meek shilly-shallying ,” don’t spook the horses”approach, trying to please all the people all the time – and making the mistake of playing by the Unionist’s rules – SNP needs to be radical, brave, and NOT passive, or nothing of consequence will be achieved.

  • reel guid

    There is a good deal to what Craig says about the SNP. Nevertheless it should all be kept in perspective. The SNP is trying to govern Scotland as well as doing the difficult job of protecting the country from Westminster austerity on a reduced budget, while at the same time advancing the cause of independence. And to try and keep their political primacy in Scotland in election after election against an almost totally hostile mainstream media.

    It would have been better for the SNP not to have won almost all the seats in 2015. After that you can only lose ground in the next one.

    In 2015 there was a groundswell of support for the SNP after indyref1. This time they had to contend with a Labour Party with a genuine anti-austerity leader, a Scottish Tory Party puffed up shamelessly by the media and collusion between the unionist parties and the BBC to make the election about Holyrood issues. And the BBC did their best to vilify and caricature the SNP’s record in government. Despite all that the SNP managed to win a majority of Scottish seats.

    The tasks the SNP have to perform are complex and varied. It’s always tempting after a disappointing election for the Scottish indy movement to call for a spirited claymore charge to build momentum for independence. Indyref2 is still on the cards and there almost certainly is a ready majority in favour of a progressive independent Scotland in the EU.

  • fred

    “So the SNP fall in MPs was not because of a drop in support for Independence”

    In 2015 the SNP rise in MPs was a sure sign of a rise in support for independence, so sure a sign you were advising people to get down the bookies and put their mother’s house on it, you considered it grounds for declaring UDI.

    But when Unionist parties take 63% of the vote you say there is no correlation whatsoever between those votes and support for independence.

    • reel guid

      It doesn’t mean that everyone who voted for a unionist party is a unionist. Not by a long way.

        • Az

          It’s simply what polling shows, Fred. In 2015, the level of support for independence and the SNP vote share were almost identical; today independence support is at the same level but the SNP lost circa ten percent.

          • fred

            A poll on the 1st of May 2015 had independence on 49%, a poll on 6th of May 2017 had it on 41%.

          • reel guid

            There was also a poll from Ipsos Mori that had independence at 54%. The details of brexit are not going to make support for independence go anywhere except up.

          • fred

            So the election results are a good indication of how things have changed since then.

        • james Coleman

          C’mon Fred! Stop spinning. We can all pick a poll that helps our argument.

          • fred

            So saying that results should be treated the same in 2017 as in 2015 is spinning?

            What is claiming a rise in SNP votes in 2015 indicates a rise in support for independence but a fall in 2017 doesn’t indicate a fall in support then?

            Has the OED revised their definition of “spin”?

  • Ronald Henderson

    I agree with around 90% of what Craig says. The piece about ‘spin doctors’ particularly. This is a trap that the SNP has fallen into on several occasions. They did it in the 1970s and ended up losing 9 out of 11 seats. It wasn’t the SNP that won in 2015, it was the people and that is something they appear to have forgotten. I have seen Companies collapse because they relied far too much on spin doctors. Slick smart suited toom tabards that don’t have the common touch. They would never go into a pub to find out what the ‘people’ are thinking. They just like the sound of their own voices and have about as much imagination as a midge. Your point about the crappy posters and snooty attitude well exemplifies that sort of dull minded thinking.
    This is exactly what was wrong with the referendum campaign. The official leaflets and posters were at best anodyne and at worst a complete turn off for people. It was only when the people themselves decided to take control that the numbers started to change in our favour.
    One other thing: why didn’t the SNP support that huge rally and march in support of independence last Saturday? Are they embarrassed by the common folk?

  • Michael Warren

    SNP need to be far better prepared for the next UK election – and it could be very soon! As things stand, many of the seats we hold are vulnerable to even a modest amount of tactical voting. Lose another 21 and it would be game over for independence for a very long time.

  • Roman

    “much of our best talent leaves to work in UK-HQ corporations and ministries based there.”

    How are you going to prevent that after gaining independence? Confiscate their passports?

    • james Coleman

      There will be plenty of top jobs in Scotland after Indy, as companies and Government re-locate head offices and important offices. The Norsemen don’t re-locate to Germany for that reason.

    • reel guid

      If that’s the case why can’t there just be a class war in an independent Scotland? Don’t dodge the question please.

    • Derick Tulloch

      People ‘coming home to Labour’ handed the Tories seats in Scotland on Thursday

      slow handclap

  • Republicofscotland

    Good points Craig, the SNP as you say didn’t shout loudly enough over independence. The SNP needs to get in touch with the AUOB, a group that has the indy spirit, that had around 17,000 followers last week march through Glasgow last week.

    Those people came from near and far, and showed positive commitment to independence, they didn’t faulter on the need for it, nor fail to claim it, the SNP were cowed into denying that very fact by the unionist parties, whose loyalties lie at Westminster.

    I’d very much like to see Scottish MP’s or at the very least SNP MP’s NOT take their seats at Westminster, in a similar fashion too Sinn Fein, by taking those seats, it adds a legitimacy to Westminster’s political will over Scotland.

    We have another great opportunity to push for independence near the end of the great tragedy known as Brexit. For it will surely leave Scotland and Britain for that matter in a far worse of position, in all fields, than we’re in just now.

    The big question is are the SNP up to and aware of the challenge? Are they pro-active enough? And are they trying hard enough to connect with the AUOB.

    The SNP could look abroad (seek advice if need be) to other countries who’ve faced the same dilemma and won through.

    • Megan

      AUOB all under one banner did a great job organising the indyref march on 3.6.17
      20,000 people took part, Nicola Sturgeon needs to see it and act on it, not listen to her opposition!

      • Republicofscotland

        Yes well said Megan, Sturgeon needs to focus and push harder for independence. She must try and ignore the London branch offices of the unionist parties snipes.

        Dugdale Davidson and Rennie are afraid of independence, they know fine well in a independent Scotland they’d be found out, and sent packing, as new parties with bright forward thinking policies, would come to the fore. Parties we would vote for, not because they’re controlled from Westminster, but because they put forward progressive ideas to help Scots.

  • fred

    One thing which has emerged is the accuracy of Yougov polling. Back at the start of May they were predicting 40% of the vote would go to SNP, out by just 3%.

  • Michael McNulty

    Your problem Craig is you deny we should have Brexit independence from Europe then bleat about losing Scottish independence from rUK. Those who voted Brexit and if we’d been Scottish or all of Britain got a vote and would have voted for Scottish independence too, at least we’re consistent. We called heads or tails but you’re calling both.

    • craig Post author

      There is a massive difference between the extremely limited subjects governed by joint decision making within the EU – where member states each have a veto on many matters and are protected by qualified majority voting on others – and the massive amount of Scottish public life dictated by Westminster, where Scotland does not have a veto. It is a stupid and facile comparison.

      • Michael McNulty

        I don’t see why Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can’t have independence from Britain (a united Ireland is more complicated I know), but at the moment they’re British colonies. And to then hand that independence over to Europe is to just change whose colony you become. I’m not saying Scotland cannot then become Europe’s colony – that becomes Scotland’s business – but I am saying the majority of Brits, including those whose votes were massaged away, don’t want to stay a European colony.

      • Kininvie

        It may be a stupid and facile comparison, but it’s nevertheless one which drove many Yes but Brexit-favouring voters to take their votes away from the SNP. I spoke to many of them.

      • Habbabkuk

        “There is a massive difference between the extremely limited subjects governed by joint decision making within the EU – where member states each have a veto on many matters and are protected by qualified majority voting on others”

        You really need to brush up on what’s been happening in the EU over the last 20 years or so, Craig.

        And/or stop spinning.

        1. The number of issues requiring unanimity has decreased substantially (ant that is accompanied by a constant increase in areas of EU competence (ie, areas where the EU can pass hard of soft law).

        2/. Qualified majority voting does the exact opposite from “protecting” anyone. The whole point of it is that it prevents just one or two (or even more, if they are small enough) Member States opting out from a majority decision.

  • reel guid

    There should be a Rally For Europe held in Scotland. In fact in several cities and towns on the same day. Don’t confine ourselves to Saltires but carry all the flags of the 27 as well. That would shut Ruth Davidson up.

  • Xavi

    Disgusted that Scottish people would eject an all-round good guy and fine statesman like Alex Salmond in favour of anybody, let alone a Tory. Very bad blow for Scots’ representation of themselves as being more social democratic in outlook than the English.

    On the broader ramifications, if independence has now receded into the far distance might Scots now rally en masse to Corbyn at the next election?

    • reel guid

      I’m not going to rally behind a Londoner who not only opposes Scottish independence but thinks we have enough powers already. Who leads a party that is 70 seats short of a majority and has most of his parliamentary party continually plotting against him. Don’t get me wrong I think he has stood up magnificently to his enemies in his own party and the media. He has helped to deliver a big dent to the neo-liberal paradigm. But he is not going to be able to sort out Scotland’s problems or even properly understand them even if he was able.

      • Xavi

        Interesting and very valid take. The problem is, the Tories seem to have succeeded in smearing any pact between Labour and the SNP at Westminster as being beyond the pale, now or in the future (despite their own outlandish friends). It will make it very hard to achieve a pro-human UK government if these two parties can’t join forces at Westminster, esp in light of upcoming Tory boundary changes / gerrymandering.

  • Ron

    Robert Peston‏Verified account
    Senior Tory MP: “We all f***ing hate her. But there is nothing we can do. She has totally f***ed us”.

  • Rob Royston

    It was wrong to promote the next referendum onto the Brexit mix. I voted YES and have voted for Independence all my life, but I voted for Brexit as I want an Independent Scotland to start with a clean slate. The choice of whether we were in or out of Europe is one that we can only make after Independence. We should never beg for them to let us in. I give the SNP my postal vote as usual but I felt that it was wasted, and it was, in my constituency.
    Nicola also lost all the respect she had gained from the English masses when she muddied the waters of their decision to leave the EU. I work with a lot of English people and it was obvious that she had committed an unforgivable act in their eyes. We need Independence but we need to respect our neighbour’s wishes as well.
    The SNP have lost their way, as Craig says they have become a career ladder like Labour was.
    Like Jo said above, they will suffer the same fate.
    “They should remember what Scotland did to Labour in 2015. It will do the same to any Party who takes votes for granted.”

    • Brian Murray

      Absolutely agree. Remember the people saying that they never left Labour but that Labour left them. Not there yet, but SNP are heading there by ignoring their membership.

  • DAve - T

    I am concerned that the SNP’s reaction to this result is going to be the opposite of what you suggest, to analyze the reasons people voted Tory, and then try and appeal to those voters, broaden the message to bring in more support.

  • Andrew burnside

    That’s part of the mistake

    One significant mistake, however, was the refrain of “Keep the Tories Out”. This makes the SNP little more than “Tartan Labour”, This exposes it to: Labour and a more authentic Labour voice in Corbyn; and Conservatives – driving off NE Scotland and the South of Scotland.

    The SNP needs to be radical, yes, but critically it has to be a broad coalition

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