Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Ex SNP Deputy leader Jim Sillars says Devo-max is a dodgy back-up plan to save SNP, party struggle with lack of ideas in their intellectual desert
The SNP has been in existence for over 75 years, during that time you might have thought that they would have produced a rolling blue print for how an independent Scotland would look.
But to produce a rolling blue print requires work, and work and work.
So, we don’t have a rolling blue print for independence of how an independent Scotland would look and operate, post independence.
Defence which is a key issue has been ‘photocopied’, someone else done the work and the SNP Government like a kid with its eyes firmly fixed on a can of juice was transfixed.
Juice, Juice Juice!!!!!!!!!
So, we get someone who looks at an English defence review for Scotland and then states we will have that.
Juice, Juice Juice!!!!!!!!!
Taking part of someone’s work and trying to use it creates limited understanding.
The SNP policy on defence was shown to be ‘wanting’ not just on application but in design.
This represents a problem for the SNP, slogans and gimmicks replacing real indepth policy.
Recently, the leader of the Glasgow SNP Council Group, Allison Hunter boldly stated on policy:
“Actually, I’m not an out-there leader. I’m a team leader. So we haven’t actually thought about that yet.”
People call the SNP a one man band, it isn’t but it isn’t much more than that.
Why is the independence referendum in 2014?
It is quite simple and I blogged on the date as mid 2014 before the SNP made their official announcement.
It has to do with WORK!!!!!!!!!
So, why so far away, it is to do with logistics of SNP Branches and their abilities. At present the SNP has set branches the task of creating a database of the 500 most important people in each branch area who could be open to the idea of independence. A database starting from scratch isn’t easy by any means because from my experience of branches SNP members don’t have much contact with their communities.
In Pollok were I am a member during my time, the branch never campaigned on local issues, never campaigned for local organisations and never campaigned for local people, in trouble, as a branch activity.
I was never in my entire time involved in a local campaign.
That is why if you knocked on someone’s door and say could you tell me the name of the last local candidate, chances are they wouldn’t know. The SNP Candidate for Pollok Chris Stephens came very close in the Holyrood 2011 election but he never won, and he has never won in any of the three times he has stood in the Pollok area.
Another task set by the SNP for branches is to double their membership; again, the amount of work to achieve this is substantial because few have the capability to do sales. And if you are going to sell an SNP membership, generally people want something for parting with their cash.
And the SNP doesn’t offer a lot for the price of their membership rather people offer more than the SNP offers them.
There is as well, activism, where SNP members get the opportunity to provide the party with free labour as unpaid postmen to deliver their leaflets in the election cycle, however if you turn up regularly then you are just seen as a menial and used as such, my SNP experience.
So, the SNP needs a fallback position in the independence referendum, that is why the “devo-max” question is still being promoted.
It is the SNP’s each way bet, win win; if they lose the referendum then they can claim a victory of sorts to their membership.
Jim Sillars, one of the party’s former deputy leaders says a “devo-max” question in the independence referendum is a “fraudulent claim.” I wouldn’t say that it is fraudulent but shouldn’t be on the ballot paper because it wasn’t in the manifesto and as such there is no mandate for it.
Devo-max is as Sillars says designed to keep the Nationalist movement intact and in power if it loses the vote on the future of the UK.
The SNP maybe the largest party in Scotland, but very few people are willing to work for it as activists, I would suggest because of the way it is run.
It isn’t run as a political party but rather as a protest movement with a clique at its centre.
In trying to have its cake and eat it, the SNP does send out a dual message, lack of confidence and confidence regarding the case for independence. This is because the work needed to be done for independence hasn’t been done, the campaign may have been planned but beyond that there is little to suggest that substance backs up the case. It is all about hope and aspiration rather than about nuts and bolts coupled with reality.
Devo max is all about the SNP having something to take to the voters in the 2016 Holyrood election so they can claim they are moving ‘forward’ the current SNP slogan which if things don’t work out will go the same way as ‘elect a people’s champion’.
That theme died a death at the Westminster 2010 election.
The reason was simple the public didn’t believe the people put forward by the SNP were people’s champions.
Not a single seat was gained.
Take a candidate’s name type him or her in google and generally you get nothing, champions that don’t fight or stand up and be counted, aren’t champions Mr. Salmond.
An SNP spokesman said Mr Sillars was “entitled to his view”, but insisted it would leave open the option of a second question.
“Time… for the SNP to put aside what would be a fraudulent claim to implement devo-max, and produce policies on the detailed issues that will determine the result when the historic day arrives. Lack of preparation is allowing the Unionists to set the agenda.”
The lack of work as Sillars points out is a serious problem for the SNP.
Currency is also flagged up as another SNP elephant in the room which is glossed over as a ‘done deal’ when no deal exists.
Sillars says the SNP have been neglect over the detail of independence which has been manifest on defence and currency in recent weeks.
On the latter, Mr Sillars remarks:
“As for the Bank of England being lender of last resort, it is absurd.”
He goes on:
“If Whitehall agrees to the Salmond proposal, there will have to be a treaty to determine the rules of the new sterling currency union; and an independent Scotland will not be the stronger side of the negotiations because, as [Chancellor George] Osborne would point out, the alternative to agreeing the treaty terms dictated by Westminster would be the euro.”
Which brings me finally to Plan McP, the realisation that a Scottish pound is needed which I previously blogged on as a solution. It may mean that in the short term Sterling and currency union is advisable as a stepping stone.
But a new State bank for Scotland is needed, something else I previously blogged on ahead of time, as part of work needed for my City Sovereign Fund idea to address local government reform.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University