Two first drafts of the SNP 2016 manifesto

People have begun to speculate about how the SNP will incorporate a second referendum into its 2016 Scottish Parliament manifesto. So, I’ve had a go at drafting two different versions.

The first one is easy to write but won’t happen.

The second, more realistic one, is harder to write. In particular, it will be hard to get the wording right when the SNP (in effect) promises a referendum in the next manifesto but not this one.

So, we might expect a lot of coverage of the opposition parties trying to pin down Nicola Sturgeon on the detail. Ordinarily this might be sensible, but not while the SNP remains almost immune to that kind of criticism. Maybe it would be better to focus on what the SNP will do, instead, in the next 5 years. Who knows?

The one that won’t be written:

Nicola Sturgeon stated in 2015 that: “Something material would have to change in terms of the circumstances or public opinion before I think it would be appropriate to have a proposal for a referendum.”

Since we gubbed Labour in the 2015 UK General Election and it looks like we’ll do the same in the Scottish Parliament, we believe that material circumstances have changed and we will have a referendum as soon as possible. Loads of Yes supporters joined the SNP straight after the referendum, and they think we were robbed and that loads of people regret voting No. There was also that poll which suggests that we’re hugely popular even though people don’t think we’re doing a brilliant job, so independence is all we want to talk about.

The more likely one that is longer and trickier to write, and doesn’t quite scan:

Nicola Sturgeon stated in 2015 that: “Something material would have to change in terms of the circumstances or public opinion before I think it would be appropriate to have a proposal for a referendum.”

In the period of the next Scottish Parliament, the biggest potential change of circumstances regards Scotland’s membership of the European Union. Nicola Sturgeon has called on David Cameron to ensure that the UK leaves the EU only if all four nations agree. He has rejected this call. If the UK prepares to leave the EU, despite a majority of voters in Scotland voting to remain, it will cause a constitutional crisis. Under those circumstances, we believe that we should hold a referendum on Scottish independence as soon as practicable (this paragraph seems relatively easy to write).

We are heartened by the surge of support in our membership, to over 100,000 members, and in electoral support for the SNP, which produced 56 of 59 SNP MPs. However, this alone does not represent a change of public opinion towards Scottish independence. It does not guarantee that the majority of voters in Scotland would vote Yes in a second referendum on Scottish independence (this one is tricky to get right, and would be used by opponents).

Instead, the electorate also supports us because we present a strong vision to deal with austerity and support essential public services. They do not support the austerity agenda of the Conservative party, and nor do they find Labour to be a credible alternative (bread and butter stuff).

We believe that, in time, support for our positive vision, and a growing belief that the UK parties’ austerity agenda is damaging Scotland’s economy and widening inequalities, will help produce a clear majority in favour of Scottish independence (also bread and butter).

If that change of public opinion becomes clear over the next five years, we will include a firm commitment to a second independence referendum in our manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election (no, I can’t get that one to work!).



Filed under Scottish independence, Scottish politics

2 responses to “Two first drafts of the SNP 2016 manifesto

  1. gavin

    Paul, I would think the SNP would raise the commitments made during the referendum, namely—–home rule, devo max, , and federalism, which are obviously not going to be met.
    There is also the notion, much promulgated, that the UK is
    A. A family.
    B. Composed of equals.
    C. That Scotland would play a leading role in that UK.
    Scotland will not be an equal in the Commons where EVEL will be the rule.
    Nor in the Lords, where Scotland’s largest and most popular political Party will not be represented as membership depends on patronage, not democracy.

  2. Pingback: Nicola Sturgeon And The SNP Are Trying To Blackmail Britain « Semi-Partisan Politics

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