Scotland’s people are ready to end the Union. Scotland is ready to restore its independence. But is the SNP ready to play its crucial role in all of this? Today we learn that the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSAS) indicates a ‘fundamental shift’ in support for independence. It may be of concern, at least to more thoughtful individuals, that none of this shift in attitudes is attributed to the efforts of independence campaigners. But the shift is real, nonetheless. And fundamental. People in Scotland are thinking differently about the constitutional issue. Many are only now coming to recognise that there is a constitutional issue.
The fight to restore Scotland’s independence is often described as a journey. A journey which for almost a century was led by the SNP. Now, it seems that the party has been overtaken by the populace. The people of Scotland now stand on the verge of a tipping point at which they make the dramatic shift from having to be persuaded of the need to end the Union with England-as-Britain to demanding that independence be restored forthwith. But where stands the SNP? Does the party stand ready to play its crucial role in implementing the democratic will of Scotland’s people? Or do the leaders and managers of the party have other preoccupations?
Is it really necessary to yet again explain why the SNP is crucial to the enterprise? Must we once more point out that the mood of the people and the demands they make for change amount to nothing unless there is a Scottish Government which stands ready to respect that mood and comply with those demands? How often do those who mindlessly squawk the mantra that ‘it’s not all about the SNP’ need to be told be told that it is all about the Scottish Government and that since only the SNP is in a position to form a government with a mandate to act on the constitutional issue then it bloody well IS all about the SNP!
Not that we don’t have sympathy for those who have given up on the SNP as the ‘party of independence’. Over the past five or six years the party has given them ample cause. But giving up on the SNP because it is not a very good lifeboat is a bit daft when it is the only lifeboat. Either the SNP is ready to do what the people of Scotland are ready to demand of their government or the people of Scotland must make it ready. Those are the only choices. The only other possibility being that the fight to restore Scotland’s independence be lost. Probably forever.
Just as that fight is totally dependent on the SNP because it is totally dependent on the Scottish Government, so what happens at this month’s SNP conference is crucial because the 2021 Scottish Parliament election is crucial. What happens at the conference will determine whether the party stands once again in the vanguard of Scotland’s march to independence or whether it falls even farther behind the people, becoming a drag on Scotland’s cause. At the coming conference the party must decide whether it is to be the source of effective political power that the final stage of the journey requires, or if it is to be the reason our journey falters within sight of its destination.
Scotland stands ready. Where stands the SNP?