How do we point out to SNP supporters that they should vote No next Thursday to save their party, without alarming No voters?
The survival of the SNP depends on a No vote. The party exists to campaign, lobby and bully for independence achieved through a Yes vote in the referendum. It has no other purpose. If it wins the referendum, even by a single vote, it will have achieved its purpose and have no further reason to exist.
The SNP is not a liberation movement like the ANC or SWAPO, whose victory founded democracy in states where the previous oppression and authoritarianism meant there were no alternative democratic political parties and the liberation movements have continued while politics develops.
Scotland is a vibrant democracy. Scottish Parliament elections change Scottish governments. The Liberal Democrats – and Labour and the Conservatives and the Greens – have purposes related to improving people’s lives and pursue policies related to doing that in changing circumstances.
The SNP too wants to improve people’s lives, but this is ancillary to its fundamental purpose of independence through a Yes vote and that purpose will be achieved if it (I know, someone will post a comment saying this isn’t about the SNP: it is) wins next Thursday. What will it do then? What will its dedicated followers do?
It might win the next Scottish Parliament elections on a cocktail of euphoria and anti-London feeling and continue to rule by rhetoric. But, being independent, who will there be to blame when things don’t go to plan? Endlessly blaming London and recalcitrant No voters in Scotland will not work for a full Scottish Parliamentary term. The recriminations and the singling out of groups to blame in the way nationalists have always done throughout history will go against the grain of the Scottish people.
The second election will be lost. The drift away of SNP members, supporters and voters, mainly to Labour and the Conservatives, will become a rush. The SNP will become a rump, meeting for reunions on Radio 4, when Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s North American lecture tours permit.
Ordinary SNP members, voters and supporters will be adrift, not quite at home in their new parties, even when they were in them before succumbing to the nationalist brew. What is to be done?
The SNP’s ordinary members, voters and supporters’ only hope is a massive No vote. It’s in their self-interest to vote No and get their family and friends to vote No too.
Then the SNP will continue moaning, misleading and mithering about independence indefinitely and SNP members, voters and supporters would have their party, somewhere to go and something to do.
The problem is: how to get this message across to the SNP before they do themselves a mischief, without giving No voters the idea that the way to get rid of the First Minister and his crew is to vote Yes?
This article by Ian MacFadyen first appeared on LibDemVoice.org on Friday 12 September 2014, © Ian MacFadyen andLibDemVoice.org 2014