SNP is in touch
The SNP still represents more Scottish views than any other party. It has done so for most of the 21st century. There is nothing “mere” about a party which leads the deep Scottish discontent with Westminster, a discontent previously led by the Liberals, and then Labour, for more than two centuries.
Martin Redfern’s Friends of the Scotsman article (25 August) seems to put the words “Independence transcends Brexit, oil and the economy” into Nicola Sturgeon’s mouth. He misleads. She never said “the economy”. She referred only to our assets today (e.g oil reserves, factories, and buildings). “The economy” has a very much wider meaning. He also allows it to suggest that she does not care about the future economy. That is contrary to anything she has said about the economy. Central to her views, as so often expressed, is that independence should provide a better and fairer economy for Scotland than does Westminster. Diminishingly few supporters of independence believe the economy to be secondary; for almost all it is central. Experience of Westminster government makes them ready to bet independence can bring a better, fairer one. Surely that centrality is plain to the most blinkered of opponents.
He also accuses the SNP as having been “focused on nationalism for nationalism’s sake”, whatever he means by that, and then of “questionable economics and massively inflated oil forecasts”. All economics are questionable.
The view behind Mr Redfern’s arguments is short and narrow, like that of many opponents of independence. He ignores the socio-economiccausesofthecenturiesofdiscontent underlying support of independence, continuing to this day. After the 18th century we had the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, and after the 1832 Reform Act introduced by the Whigs against strong Tory opposition, Scots gave overwhelming support to the Liberals until 1918, then to Keir Hardie and Labour – and now to the SNP, in despair. Liberals and Labour sought, and to an extent achieved, great radical change, before the Great War and after the Second World War: electoral reform, parliamentary reform, pensions, social insurance, employment law, a national health service, and more. Where are these parties now? The Scots still want a fairer society. And then where have the Tories/unionists/conservatives in Scotland ever been – in engaging in the broad brush of serious socioeconomic reform? Seeking to stop it, most of the time.
DUNCAN CLARK Western Harbour Place