Following the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Scottish Government’s bid for another Independence Referendum without the UK Government’s consent, the SNP have gone away to think about their strategy going forward. You may recall First Minister Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum on 19 October 2023. Currently the SNP and the Scottish Greens hold a majority in the Scottish Parliament, forming a pro-independence majority.
The UK Government argued in court that it was “perfectly obvious” the fate of the Union was a matter for Westminster and Holyrood does not have the power to hold a referendum on its continued existence, even an ‘advisory’ one. UK ministers were confident this would be the outcome and no one was surprised at the ruling of the Supreme Court.
Sturgeon has said the next general election was now a single-issue vote on independence. She has announced there is to be a SNP special conference in the New Year answering the concerns of the other political parties on what exactly constitutes a de facto referendum. The debate over Scottish independence has now moved decidedly from the legal realm of the Supreme Court back into the political realm of Holyrood and Westminster.
The big issue for the SNP is what do they do now
This is where I want to offer the SNP some advice from an independent voter who’s free of any party-political affiliation.
Nicola Sturgeon is popular in Scotland and in many parts of England. She has conducted herself with great skill, and projected the voice of the Scottish people eloquently throughout the Brexit campaign and the pandemic. Moveover, Sturgeon is one of two of the most admired women in UK politics today; the other being the only sitting member of the Green Party of England and Wales, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavillion.
Sturgeon could do worse than to take the debate to the reactionary Brexiteer forces of the Conservative Party, and the over-cautious approach of the pro-union Labour Party. Taking them on would involve standing SNP candidates in all constituencies in Scotland and, yes, England.
This is not as farfetched as it may appear
A UK national SNP party could do well in a UK general election, standing on a platform of,
- Re-joining the EU
- Rapidly developing the renewable energy sector
- Establishing an immigration system that issues work visas to people we need
- Introduces a progressive tax system to provide enough money to properly fund the public services
- Delivers proportional representation so desperately need
A UK wide SNP could truly challenge the developing view that the Labour Party is a shoo-in in 2024.
Now, you may ask, where would the candidates come from?
Look only to the broad political spectrum of the UK-wide Remain campaigners to realise the UK is crying out for radical change to break the cycle of 12 years of stagnation, low growth and declining living standards. Rejoining the EU with the single market is an immediate starting point, and would change the signals the UK is emitting.
The SNP could be instrumental in delivering a new future for Scotland and the other nations in our current “United” Kingdom. All it takes is a big enough ambition,which is apparently what the opposition parties lack at the moment. There is a vacuum at the heart of progressive politics and the SNP could step up to the mark and fill it.