Shotgun marriages rarely last
In the period 1930-1936 the SNP and the NPS (National Party for Scotland) campaigned separately each fighting, in vain to gain a political foothold in Scotland.
But in 1938 there was an acceptance in both Party’s that they would only achieve independence by joining forces. This they did under the banner of the SNP.
But merging is not achieved easily
The NPS “Gradualists” political preference was for “Home Rule” within the Westminster system which would bring with it a devolved range of policies for Scottish politicians to enact.
Over time, with the agreement of Westminster, it was expected controls would be expanded as the competence of Scottish politicians improved.
The Party established a dialogue with the Labour Party in Scotland, forming a “Scottish Convention” and in 1938 the Labour Party in Scotland, presented its pre-war Scottish manifesto, claiming that their support for “Home Rule” to be second only behind supporting the war effort against Japan, but in the 1938 British manifesto for Labour, (which took precedence over the Labour Party in Scotland there was no reference to Scottish “Home Rule.“
SNP “Radicals” were not slow in broadcasting to Scots that the labour Party would never commit to Scottish “Home Rule” if there was any risk of it losing electoral support in England, through an article published in the “Scots Independent”:
“Labour Party in Scotland voters your pledges have been cast aside; the Government formed by your Party in Westminster refused facilities for the introduction of a Scots “Home Rule” Bill.”
The “Radicals” of the SNP continued to challenge Unionist Party’s in Scotland, keeping the SNP firmly in the public eye. But the continuous campaigning for independence irked the Westminster government who controlled the media and through it they labelled the SNP as unpatriotic communists.
The “Gradualist” dominated leadership of the SNP persuaded the “Radicals” to moderate their attacks on Unionist Party’s so that progressive Nationalist policies could be adopted and taken to the Scottish Electorate improving the prospects of SNP candidates at elections. The policy achieved a measure of success and although there was no political breakthrough the SNP began to attract a solid base of voter support.
But, in 1955, after ten years without any major success the SNP was in danger of breaking apart and “Radicals” called for major policy changes including the adoption of more confrontational policies against the Westminster Government.
The “Gradualist” Party leadership refused, expelled 55 “radicals”. and retained the policy of a slow build to legitimacy and acceptance by the Scottish Electorate as an alternative system of governance.
Skip forward a few generations of slow build
1997 -2007 : Forty years of slow build achieved nothing. But the European Council (EC) forced change and instructed the Labour Government that it had to devolve power to the regions of the UK in accordance with EC policy.
The Westminster response was to gift Scots a hopelessly inadequate form of limited self government.
But the Labour Party in Scotland and the media hyped the changes to the electorate through a constant barrage of misinformation, the content of which Himmler would have been proud to call his own.
After nearly a decade of abuse, incompetence, sleaze and graft, Scots finally brought about the end of governance by the Labour Party in Scotland. Fifty five years of “pinning a red flag on a donkey” and getting it voted into Westminster or Holyrood were at an end.
2007: Alex Salmond asked Scots to give the SNP a chance to prove the Party in government would introduce progressive policies for the common good. Voters accepted him at his word and the SNP took office for the first time ever.
But difficulties arose very early on in the new parliament when Unionist Party MSP’s refused to support the minority government. Another Scottish General Election loomed.
But the deadlock was broken by Annabel Goldie who desperately wished to avoid an election and the assured elimination of the Tory Party in Scotland. A rule by consent was agreed between the SNP and the Tory Party. And the SNP delivered its manifesto to the electorate almost without change.
2011: Alex Salmond and the SNP were returned to office in a landslide election which resulted the party gaining an overall majority turning the entire system on its head. Alex Salmond’s finest hour!!
Equipped with a mandate to take independence forward Alex Salmond wasted little time in making it clear to Westminster of his intent to do just that. After many false dawns Scots would decide their future.
The SNP, in the years that followed proved time and again to Westminster and other nations in the world that its governance was competent and able. Scotland more than deserved its place in the World as a free and independent nation.
September 2014: A campaign marked by skulduggery, misinformation, bullying and downright lying by Westminster and unionist politicians in Scotland, the civil service, business moguls, and the media forced the browbeaten Scottish electorate into voting against independence. But there was a glimmer of hope for the future.
A “Vow” signed off by the three political leaders at Westminster was published illegally in the Daily Record 2 days before the referendum vote committing Westminster to devolving further significant powers (self government according to Gordon Brown), to Scotland within 6 months of the Referendum.
In December 2014 Alex Salmond, believing he had carried the SNP standard to the brink of independence only to fall just short, gave over control of the SNP to Nicola Sturgeon believing an injection of new blood at the top would energise the Party in anticipation of the imminent establishment of self government in Scotland, promised in the “Vow” before May 2015.
The Smith Commission
In the period leading up to the 2015 General Election the Westminster government formed a commission headed by Lord Smith of Kelvin with the role of overseeing the implementation of the commitments spelt out by the Westminster parliamentary leaders in the “Vow”.
Membership of the Commission was decided following consultation with political leaders in Scotland but the panel chosen reflected the campaigning groups of the independence referendum. The SNP team were heavily outnumbered by the Unionist’s.
John Swinney and his team were inept and came away from the Commission having achieved little change over the existing devolution arrangement. He had been outflanked and destroyed at every juncture. Westminster reneged on the promises in the “vow”
2015: The General Election
The Scottish electorate was enraged by the Westminster unionists who had promised so much and delivered so little and just about wiped them from the political map of Scotland. 56, SNP, MP’s were sent to Westminster with a mandate to gain independence.
But Nicola Sturgeon was “feart” and balked at the thought of confronting the Unionists with a demand for immediate independence and instead instructed the large contingent of SNP, MP’s to join fully in all aspects Westminster politics. An opportunity to meet the wishes of the Scottish electorate had been disgracefully passed up and Scots would pay dearly for Sturgeons lack of political backbone.
The Labour Party in Scotland failed to recover from the collapse of its membership and electoral support in the 2015 General Election when many of the former transferred their allegiance to the SNP.
But the “yellow” banner of the SNP changed to a pale “red” by result and Sturgeon seized the day, embracing the “new way” which required the rapid clear out from positions of power in the party of any ardent nationalists.
Implementation of the strategy required the adjusting of control mechanisms within the Party and this was initially achieved through natural regeneration which over time provided a new “Sturgeonista” cohort at the heart of the Party.
The cross fertilisation of SNP/Labour Party activists is on-going and Gordon Brown is advancing plans for Scottish “self rule” in anticipation that Boris Johnson’s government will collapse under the weight of sleaze its politicians seem determined to inflict on the Party.
Sturgeon has led Scots on a merry dance taking them to the political floor to the tune of the “Grand old Duke of York” marching supporters of independence up the hill and back down again with regularity achieving nothing of any note. But her tactical manoeuvring has revealed her intent which is, working with the Labour Party to implement the agenda of the National Party of Scotland (NPS) namely “Home Rule” within the Westminster system.