THE SNP can’t win? According to opposition parties at Holyrood, the SNP have been so obsessed with independence that they have failed in all areas of devolved governance, yet according to a vocal number of supporters of self-determination the SNP have not pushed hard enough for independence.

Furthermore, through austerity arising from the global stock market crash, Brexit, a global pandemic, war in Ukraine and now a cost-of-living and mortgage crisis (courtesy of PM Liz Truss), the SNP in government have been compelled to manage huge challenges with very limited economic powers. A generally hostile UK mainstream media has not helped to enhance the SNP’s reputation and neither have problems that have arisen around internal management and finances of what was until recently a rapidly growing organisation.

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All that said, and in spite of many mistakes made (including placing too much faith in inexperienced government ministers appointed from the Green Party in order to build an independence mandate at Holyrood, as last time not enough people voted SNP), the SNP have still clearly governed with the best interests of the people of Scotland at heart, and anyone who thinks that Anas Sarwar and his Labour Party in Scotland will be more sincerely focused in this respect needs to be very wary of the next shady salesman knocking on their door.

The SNP certainly have their faults, but behind the faux furore of missing WhatsApp messages, during the Covid pandemic there was sincere compassion and a determined, professional approach – well documented in government records with appropriate context for those willing to look – that in spite of particular issues around demographics and deprivation led to significantly fewer deaths in Scotland. Recent attempts to diminish what the SNP Scottish Government achieved during that bleak period in keeping the public safe and quickly and frankly informed (helping many to cope on a day-to-day basis through the most difficult of circumstances) should be critically questioned, especially when slurs emanate from sources hostile to both the SNP and Scotland’s right to determine its own future.

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Those who genuinely support self-determination should reflect on the fact that without the SNP in government at Holyrood and without “third party” status at Westminster, independence would have been pushed even further down the UK media agenda and support would probably have ebbed back towards the pre-referendum level. Simplistically withdrawing all independence-supporting MPs from the next Westminster parliament will betray those who wish to have representation until independence is declared, and achieve little apart from a few early headlines. However, there is a strong argument for “walkouts” and selected resignations in support of speedily bringing about a Constitutional Convention (if most seats are won but insufficient votes to endorse an independence declaration) and in the interim more powers for the Scottish Parliament (including the power to hold a constitutional referendum).

The one thing that was clearly confirmed through the UK Covid inquiry sessions held in Scotland was that the combined forces of the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, supported by all the UK TV channels and nearly all the UK’s newspapers, are intent on bringing down the SNP in the hope this will end the move to independence, or at the very least considerably slow it down.

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If, in this adverse situation, those who support self-determination but still have personal misgivings over the SNP’s leadership cannot set aside such misgivings (at least temporarily given that new leadership at both Holyrood and Westminster has not long been in place) and seriously think twice about not voting for the SNP at the next General Election, then how can we honestly convince the “undecideds” that we are ready to run a country in the best interests of all of Scotland’s people? If the SNP, with the help of all who support independence, can turn the current political tide and have a resounding win at the next General Election, with not only the most seats but a majority of the votes, then it will be crystal clear that we are ready!

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian