Nicola Sturgeon has created the image of the SNP being outsiders into something of an art form. This is especially impressive given the current electoral ability of the SNP, a party which has been in government since 2007, currently holds 64 of the 127 available MSP seats, and achieved its dream of a referendum only losing by 10 points, and that was in the last few days of campaigning. The statistic of attaining over half of all MSP seats is even more remarkable given the fact that the Scottish Parliament was designed never to give any one party a majority. The SNP has been a party of government since 2007, forming a minority government first and then attaining a majority. This is not a party on the fringes, but making real decisions which have importance.
According to the BBC in 2012, the SNP started on the fringes. However, as modernity has come to pass, as devolution has inevitably followed, the SNP have gained more and more ground. Even in 1999 it won over 30 MSP’s, and kept this level of support until the mid noughties. It had representation in Europe and at Westminster. The SNP won the 2007 election by one seat and forming a minority government. The history of the SNP has been forged by Alex Salmond, without him either in the driver’s seat, or in the background, they would have struggled. He is a first class politician, and he was the one who created the SNP of today, a more pro-European party formed along social democracy. The history of the SNP is fraught with difficulty, but they are no longer on the outside looking in, they have decimated the former Labour stronghold. Not too long ago if someone had dared suggest this would be the situation in 2015 it would have been regarded as a fools quixotic ramblings…yet here we are.
They have created an identity which is misleading at best, at worst it’s an outright deceit. They claim to be socially democratic yet they have reduced spending on the NHS, they have frittered away money on a free tertiary education system when in England a higher proportion of people go to university. Their vision of an independent Scotland was bankrolled by plundering their natural resources, which is hardly a ‘green’ initiative. They are anti-nuclear weapons, but wanted to remain part of NATO to ensure they received the protection of them. Due to the Barnett formula they receive more money than many other part of the UK, yet poverty has gone up in Scotland. Their services such as free prescriptions sound good, but in reality have a minimal effect behind the headline. The paradox of bravado and self-deprecation that Sturgeon holds up cannot continue for long. Nor can the bold proclamations and sub standard actions.
Nicola Sturgeon has also argued that she wanted to break the old-boys club. This would be impressive if it were true. Of the 64 MSP’s the SNP has won, only 17 are women. This is only slightly better than the current rate of female MP’s in the House of Commons, which stands at 148 out of 650. In fact the SNP even lags behind Labour in this. Labour have 86 female members of parliament out of a total of 258. Yes the SNP has a female leader, but the claim to be a party on the outside, representing everything the establishment hate is a falsehood.
The yellow revolution has been a quiet one, and something which has only recently come to the attention of the country. Their claim to be outsider i.e. not involved in government is complete nonsense. Electorally, the SNP has chased Labour out of Scotland, and is entering its 8th year of government with no end in sight. Their stranglehold on Scottish politics will be confirmed in the General Elections at the expense of Labour. Their success in Westminster could amount to a role in a future government, more and more questions will rightly be asked of the SNP. Their status as outsiders and underdogs will be lost, and more people will expect the SNP to come up with the goods. It’s a miracle they have kept the mirage they constructed alive for so long, but time will eventually expose them.
By Sam Mace, Senior Writer for Daily Political View.