Taking Stock 2: The SNP and YES

I am still trying to come up with some idea of why I feel that we have lost some focus, some direction. The conclusion I keep coming back to is the relationship between the SNP and the YES movement.

But first I want to reflect back a little to the general election. I read all of the manifestos apart from UKIP, I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. But anyway, the manifesto that I had the most in common with, and found the most radical,  was the Green Manifesto, followed by Labour and thirdly the SNP. The Scottish Lib Dem one was a confused mess and the Tory one a leaflet designed to hide both their hate and their shame.

But the SNP manifesto and campaign were centrist in nature, trying to be everything to everyone, as I have said in my previous blog, and blogs before that. Craig Murray rightly points out that the SNP campaign was poor, a bit of a mess really. On reflection it was. It was a managerial campaign that was allowed to be dictated by the yoons in some ways as they drove the agenda, difficult to counter given our media, but a trap the SNP fell into so again on reflection Craig is on to something there.

I am, and always will be, 100 % committed to Scottish Independence, that will never change and my vote will always reflect that singular point. Independence itself remains the main goal for at least 45% of the Scottish electorate but we are no closer today than we were in 2014, in some ways we are further back.

I have always argued that the slow creep to independence could ensure we never get there, many have disagreed and I have accepted that I am impatient for it to happen. I have also argued that we have got to be more radical, anything less will also result in our ultimate failure to achieve what we want. I am more convinced of that today than I have ever been. I have no time anymore for the committed NO voters, I can’t be bothered trying to win them round and I’m afraid it’s a big f them from me these days, likewise most Tory voters.

I do believe that we also need to sit back a little now until after Brexit and its impending disaster but I am convinced that YES and the SNP have to be seen to be separate. The SNP won’t win independence, they are the mechanism that will manage the process and provide the political ideas by which policy will be based, it will be the YES movement that will win the next referendum, if we get it right.

I really believe the narrative has to change from SNP competence to a radical socially liberal and environmentally independent argument. One that captures the decency of our civic nationalism with a radical vision of what Scotland can be. A country whose aspiration is based on what is best for all, a voting system based on PR, and agenda of nationalised industries that are vital to the national interest like transport. An aspiration to become 100% renewable for energy with less reliance on fossil fuels. A country free from nuclear weapons and with an ethical foreign policy.

Most of that has to be campaigned on, if people agree, by the YES movement, the SNP are the ones who make it happen in government. There was a feeling at the last referendum that the SNP in many ways were in charge of YES, it was and was not true, but the next time I am convinced that YES has to be in charge, the SNP to a large extent need to follow no matter how difficult that will be for many politicians. Independence will be won by the people, not by any political party.

We need radical, the SNP aren’t or can’t be radical, I would have threatened UDI but the SNP never would. I would have walked out on mass frequently from Westminster, the SNP never would, I would never have agreed to the Smith Commission, the SNP would never have voted against. Many will argue that every power, no matter how small, is a step closer to independence and they are correct but it’s not enough.

The radicalism that will deliver independence will come from the YES movement in my opinion. That will need to be separate from the SNP in my opinion. The yoons can talk all the they want about independence being dead, it’s not they just wish it was, but it is at a crossroads.

Just some thoughts on what I believe can be a way ahead. Open to any alternatives or better ideas.



  1. Kerly

    We still have to change the minds of people we can,t be bothered with ,we will never do that , their minds will only be changed by themselves all we can do is to create an all inclusive group with an upbeat message people will cross over

    • grumpyscottishman

      I don’t disagree with that. I have friends who are no voters, I have thrown everything at them patiently where we got to the point where they just said they were British, end of, it didn’t matter if there was a 100 years of Tory Government they will never ever support Scottish Independence, very sad. They just don’t see Scotland as a country at all and some even believe the act of union ended Scotland and we became England. They would like to see the end of four nation sports teams etc, UK only. So I don’t bother anymore, they will either change their minds or not and nothing any of us can do but as you say create a movement for all who want ot be a part of it.

      Thanks for commenting.


  2. bjsalba

    Is it surprising that their message has been overshadowed?

    What did the Unionist parties and the MSM spend all the whole campaign doing? They were screaming that there should be No Second Independence Referendum. discussion was quashed.

    What other outcome would you expect?

    • grumpyscottishman

      I’m not a member of the SNP so I can’t influence anything but I have a few friends who are and on discussing the election we actually agreed that the SNP message was all over the place. They allowed the agenda to be set for them, esp with the yoon media constantly going on about domestic policy that is reserved but all the candidates fell into the trap of engaging in that debate when they should have just said no, it’s a reserved matter this election is about this and that. I actually think that the SNP should have talked about independence more, you know my feeling on it. I would have taken a far harder line, if we win a majority of seats that’s the mandate, if that mandate is denied to us as at a time of our choosing then you are saying that Scotland is no longer apart of the UK and we walk. A lot of high profile members like Craig Murray are saying similar things, I have been banging on since 2014 that the SNP can’t sit in the centre and expect to win in the longer term, it won’t work as it’s the UK’s game. If the SNP are the party of independence, which of course they are, then it’s time to just bang on about it all the time while showing competent government, they can use the YES movement to do it, they are very smart people I am sure there is a way. The yoons have done nothing but go on about indy2 since the first one, the SNP have tried to play the sensible party, I understand that but we won’t win either way so maybe it’s time to just say f it, go for it. I’m no expert though but I know the current path won’t work it is taking too long, we have to make a stand in my opinion.

      Thanks for commenting as always, you always put across excellent points.


  3. 100%YES

    The SNP have to make it plain and clear, that The Scottish National Party is a party for Independence and that is their first and foremost position and that they will always seek to achieve Independence and that once in a life time doesn’t come into it. Its time to be honest that’s how we will win support for Independence. The unionist party are now making it loud and clear that they are parties for Scotland to remain in the UK, there should not be in the back of anyone mind will there be another referendum, if you vote SNP that’s what to expect and it also quashes the Idea of anyone posing the question of another referendum its clear that’s what voting the SNP means.

    • grumpyscottishman

      I think you’re correct. The yoons have made it clear, we are the parties of no 2nd indy ref ever, so it’s time to just be 100% honest and say the SNP are the party of independence, no once in a generation nonsense, you vote for us you are voting for independence, end of. They might lose votes to start but I think I would rather the clear choice with no centre rubbish, clear as this is what it is and if Scotland doesn’t want that then vote yoon and hell mend all of us for your selfish shitty decision.

      Thanks for commenting.


  4. Lanark

    If we are a democracy, then the people who believe that Scotland should be a sovereign nation have a right to campaign for that aim and to have a party to represent them. If that is not allowed, then we are not in a democracy. The SNP need to get this message out there and forget all about the once in a generation bollocks. Stop letting Ruth the Mooth set the agenda. The Yoons have three tory parties to choose from, what are they afraid of?

    Saw a comment on Derek Bateman that went along the lines of : a lying turd like Carmichael gets back in but Alex Salmond who is by no means perfect but has fought hard for a belief gets voted out. Some people in this region need to think about who they want representing us.

    • Anonymous

      Something has to change, the more I reflect the more it feels like we have lost some of the way ahead even though the SNP won the election. It will never be easy as we are up against it with the media etc, I understand that, but the direction of travel has to change. I don’t have the answers and my recent blogs are really about throwing ideas out there for debate. I do think we need to look at how we do things, is there a bigger role for YES, is it fair to put it all on the SNP, I don’t know but we need the discussion to take place.

      Thanks for commenting.


  5. greig12

    You’ve provided food for thought but your suggestions have management implications. The SNP already has a management structure in place and to introduce another, given the differing agendas already competing in the yes movement would be, in my opinion, problematic. We need To be united and not instead being members of different factions fighting with one another to gain control of a new organisation.

    Folk involved may not like the way things are being managed and the powers that be in the SNP need to take that on board, but rather than create different entities we need to improve what we’ve got. It has after all done pretty well for us to date.

    There is I agree a staleness creeping in, a battle weariness almost and this is understandable given the media pressure and scrutiny that Nicola et al have been subject to.

    There’s always going to be pressure not only from yourself but others as well to jump the gun, to declare this and that and force the issue. There’s a time and place for that but I don’t think it’s now, cooler heads must prevail, the Scottish people are not yet ready no matter how much you would like them to be.

    The SNP needs to take the lead, it needs as you say to be radical, to provide a vision of what we can be. It also needs to be tactical though and play the long game as required.

    The SNP needs to be about independence, it is the day job, we can run the country at the same time. We’re doing a pretty good job so far I think and sod what the Yoons say, they’re arseholes. We need to tackle their challenges head on, I just don’t get the reluctance to take on the media etc… that needs to change and strategy, briefings to provide consistency must become the norm for our MP/MSPs

    We need to attack, let’s go on the offensive, they won’t, to use one of their favourite cliches, like it up em Captin. It’s time to stick it to them, they’re vulnerable so let’s do it but let’s not start picking ourselves apart like some rotten carcass, because after all we are still winning.

    • Anonymous


      A lot of excellent points and the weariness one I hadn’t considered. I think a review will take place, I am not a member so won’t influence the debate in any way and the SNP in the main have done a good job. I would much rather live here than any other part is this island.

      My recent blogs have been about getting a discussion going, I would have the hard line option there always but I also accept that the majority don’t support independence right now. I am also aware, from people who were active in YES, that egos were huge in many ways and that is very very sad. So I see where you are coming from but I do think that the SNP can’t do it all and will always be portrayed as poison in the yoon media, maybe the YES movement is a way to neutralise that part of the debate.

      I agree with yourself, and many others, the SNP have got to be clear that they are the YES party and that has to shape all of their debate. They can’t afford to be dragged into the centralist thing, I really don’t think we have the time and it waters down the YES message. Either way time will tell.

      Thanks for commenting.


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