Ex­pert Nats are fac­ing an indy dilemma

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - Qvortrup, top, and Sal­mond

The SNP are suf­fer­ing from “po­lit­i­cal lethargy” and fac­ing an “ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis”, ac­cord­ing to a lead­ing con­sti­tu­tional ex­pert.

Writ­ing in the Sun­day Mail ahead of the start of the party’s an­nual con­fer­ence to­day, Matt Qvortrup said the SNP’s goal re­mains Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence – and with a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum off the ta­ble un­til at least 2021, the party have lost di­rec­tion.

The po­lit­i­cal science pro­fes­sor, who cor­rectly pre­dicted the pub­lic would vote by a four-point mar­gin in favour of Brexit dur­ing last year’s EU poll, said: “Hav­ing lost the 2014 ref­er­en­dum, and with no prospect of an­other on the hori­zon, the SNP are fac­ing an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis with no im­me­di­ate so­lu­tions.”

He added: “The SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion are suf­fer­ing from po­lit­i­cal lethargy to a de­gree al­most iden­ti­cal to Theresa May’s Tories.”

Qvortrup, once de­scribed by Alex Sal­mond as “the world’s fore­most ex­pert on con­sti­tu­tional ref­er­en­dums”, re­vealed how he met the then first min­is­ter in 2012 to dis­cuss a vote on Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence.

He said he asked Sal­mond why he was hold­ing a ref­er­en­dum when there was likely to be a No vote.

Ac­cord­ing to Qvortrup, Sal­mond replied: “Be­cause we are the Scot­tish Na­tional Party. In­de­pen­dence is what we are about.”

Qvortrup wrote: “And so it is for the SNP. The party are above all a party who as­pire to cre­ate an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land. All else is sec­ondary.

“In this re­gard, the SNP are like all other na­tional par­ties all over the world. They may es­pouse a wel­fare state and other poli­cies nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with so­cial demo­cratic par­ties in Scan­di­navia.

“But peo­ple do not join the SNP out of a burn­ing sense of so­cial in­dig­na­tion but be­cause they feel Scot­land ought to be an in­de­pen­dent coun­try.”

He said the party could learn lessons from the Parti Que­be­cois, who lost two in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dums, adding: “Scot­land is not Que­bec but there are clear par­al­lels.

“If the SNP are not care­ful, they may fal­ter like their com­rades in Canada.”

MEET­ING

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