The SNP have many reasons to be cheerful this weekend

In her policies and style, Nicola Sturgeon is a social democrat in the true sense of the word.

In her policies and style, Nicola Sturgeon is a social democrat in the true sense of the word

To say that the SNP faithful, in Perth this weekend for the party’s annual conference, meet in buoyant mood would be an understatement.

The irony will not be lost on them that since losing the referendum on independence they are seeing increasing support, while Labour north of the border are in turmoil.

SNP membership has soared, so much so that it now outstrips the UK-wide Liberal Democrats, and has way more than the estimated number of Labour activists in Scotland.

Meanwhile, recent polls have pointed to a potential Labour meltdown next year in what was once thought of as its heartland area, which is likely to deny Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street.  And to add to the SNP’s mood of glee, some polls suggest that a majority of Scots would vote for independence should a referendum be held anytime soon.

Simply put, Nicola Sturgeon could not have hoped for a better climate in which to take forward the baton of independence. She will take the SNP leadership from Alex Salmond later today.

As Salmond makes his final speech to the conference, he will declare that the independence debate is not over. Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile has told Sky News that Scotland will, she believes, become an independent country sooner than we might think.

Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems will no doubt cry foul and attack the SNP for stoking the flames of independence after a resounding ‘no’ vote just a few months ago.

The reality however, is that for all the bluster, the sound of Westminster politicians telling Scotland what it can and cannot have only serves to boost support for the SNP. Furthermore, given the extraordinary surge in support for the nationalists, politicians in London would do well to stop interfering.

The last hope for Scotland remaining in the Union is for Scottish Labour to regain its sense of purpose, to change in the same way that the mood of Scotland has changed, and ultimately to return to Government at Holyrood.

This requires first of all a leader who can take on Nicola Sturgeon and win. Such a task will be enormous.

As Labour in Scotland continue a period of internal navel gazing which has seen the General Secretary of Unite, Len McLuskey, accuse Jim Murphy on Labour List of being “the candidate of the past and the candidate of division”, Ms Sturgeon has parked her tanks on Labour’s lawn.

In her policies and style, Sturgeon has the makings of a social democrat in the true sense of the word, fighting against the scourge of poverty and inequality, and her efforts are already paying off. Glasgow’s decision to support independence in the referendum was in no small part due to the efforts Sturgeon has made to woo Glasgow to the SNP cause.

The SNP are on a roll. The flame of independence burns brightly and only Scottish Labour can save the Union – but the omens are not good. The SNP have multiple reasons to be cheerful this weekend.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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16 Responses to “The SNP have many reasons to be cheerful this weekend”

  1. swat

    Its only when you lose something that you realise how good it was and wish for it back again desparately. So Scotland will get their Independence after all. And England, after leaving the EU and the roof falls in and jobless queues and welkare queues a mile long gather outside No 10, will there be a demand from the People for a 2nd Referendum, to get us back into the EU asap, on whatever terms the EU would impose on us.

  2. Hearthammer

    And it’s gonna get worse. The Scottish “leadership” elections will be coming along next month and the papers still think Jim Murphy will be the winner despite virtually no support on the ground and even less from the unions! The only people that seem to be backing him are the Westminster cabal;, where he’s seen as the candidate to pull those rebellious Jocks back into the fold! You can be sure that if Murphy wins, the shutters will come down on “Scottish” Labour!

  3. Norfolk29

    Independence carries with it a lot of expense, as Ireland found. It also carries with it the temptation to make easy money by making deals with foreign countries in exchange for jobs and investment. Lower corporation will starve England and Wales of tax revenues we currently get and have to fight for. Scotland and the SNP may find it hard to generate the revenues required to run even a country like Ireland. When I was growing up there, in the 1940’s and 50’s it was bleak place that offered little opportunity for work or career development. It exported 50,000 young people every year and did nothing about reducing its birth rate (being run by the Catholic Church, it had no incentive to do so). I would not wish that situation on an enemy. I would have voted Yes in the Referendum but for independence within the UK but we may be past that option now.

  4. Norfolk29

    He is still the best of the three candidates, no matter what is said. If he wins he may revive Scottish Labour. God knows, that would not be hard to do.

  5. Britlab

    Checked Hearthammer on twitter and appears to be nat supporter.Take comment with qualification. Note words :demand from the People!+ EU on any terms!Aman of reason.

  6. Hearthammer

    What do you know of the other candidates? I personally think Sarah Bowyer would be a better bet!

  7. Norfolk29

    I have read their CV’s and I would put Sarah as a good second in command to Jim. The issue in the future is what can be afforded and all the world appears to know this except the hard left. The days of easy money are over and now is the time for making sure everyone, including the bankers, pay their way. Scottish Labour needs a story that relates to the desire of every part of the UK to look after its own interests where those interests do not conflict with the rest of the UK.

  8. Hearthammer

    Sorry Norfolk29, but the UK is the proverbial body that just needs a send off. I honestly believe that within ten years, there will be a prosperous Scotland within the EU and a bankrupt EWANIand outside. We will no longer support that rats nest at Westminster and until you in England do the same, you will be in deep, deep trouble.

  9. Britlab

    AgreeThink he would be better supported by Kezia and she would be a powerful voice in opposition to SNP.Doubt if Hearthammer is Lab member, def.nat fellow traveller and note, Jim is being much criticised by nats.Do they fear him?Anyway,watch out for our enemies getting involved in discussion.S.Bower not very well known and may not make a strong leader.Nat choice?Hearthammer?Warning!

  10. Britlab

    Evidence that we do not put value on his opinion on Lab leadership.I will discuss with and respect the views of fellow party members, but not the ramblings of our opponents.Or enemies?

  11. Chrisso

    I’m in England and English and a Labour supporter so not a ‘Nat’ but do have Nationalist relatives. Unless Labour supporters have some experience of Scotland and the mood there, especially in Glasgow and Dundee, Labour is at risk of a nosedive to poblivion.

    Kezia Dugdale has only 3 years experience as a MSP and no experience of the world of work. She – like Jim Murphy – has only worked in politics. No way could she lead Labour in Scotland to anything. The election of Murphy and/or Dugdale is a SNP dream.

    The only candidates supported by unions in Scotland are the left of centre ones: for a good reason, Scotland is more left than England. Neil Findlay is the best nomination for
    leader – a bricklayer, housing officer and teacher before becoming a long-serving MSP and shadow cabinet member. And for deputy it needs to be Katy Clark MP – a rights at work lawyer before she became a Westminster MP 9 years ago.

    To go with the ‘Westminster Head Office’ preferences and ignore the trade union views in Scotland and elect careerist politicos would be daft.

  12. Hearthammer

    I am an enemy of that cesspit in London and it’s denizens. I count not one person as an enemy. I do, however think the appointment of Murphy (which is look in real doubt) would be, to the SNP, all their Christmassess rolled together! Now, you can refuse to acknowledge that if you please, but watch your opinion doesn’t come back to bite you!

  13. billbradbury

    So the SNP has the answer to all Scotland’s and the working class problems? We will see. To me it is a Labour party with a new name and provided they support social democratic principles, what’s the problem? We could do with a caucus that will stiffen the backbone of the current Labour party in Westminster. As to her claim for Labour to remove the nuclear submarines on the Clyde so be it. We will have the facility and jobs in England and while they are being set up they will temporary move to the US bases.

  14. Julia

    You are quite correct. However the reason that I left Labour is because they will do the exact opposite and engineer the Blairite Murphy into the leadership position.
    Murphy will mouth intent for change in Scotland but follow London Labour further to the right.
    Murphy supported Iraq and is a Hawk.
    Murphy supports austerity cuts (look at his voting record)
    Murphy supports Israel with bias.
    Murphy supports £Billions being spent on a Trident replacement
    …as for Dugdale 😛
    Labour will lose at least 20 seats in Scotland at the next GE. With a Murphy/Dugdale ticket it could be double that!

  15. billbradbury

    It will be like Thatcher all over again. No one will admit they voted out of Europe (Thatcher). If Cameron came back with gold plated success (if he is still around) Ukip and the right wing will still want out of Europe. The Scots got more with a No vote than they would ever do with a yes and all its risks.

  16. Hearthammer

    Norfolk29, I agree with you about Ireland, but having just come back from the place after spending thirteen years there, I can assure you that it is a different place. Ireland is buzzing and has a better chance of paying off their debt than the UK! They’ve at last got rid of the church and the Galway Races politics and people see where they are going now. Even Ben Dunne has been made bankrupt after a bg investigation emanating from Harcourt Street! No more Ben there. Dunne that. Bought the Taoiseach!

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