How do we resolve tensions between SNP and the wider Yes movement?

Primary Author or Creator:
Gerry Hassan
Additional Author(s) / Creators
The National
Business for Scotland
Date Published:
Type of Resource:
News Media
Fast Facts

 The politics of party and movement have differences, particularly when the former is a ruling party holding office.

More details

Seven years on from 2014 has further shown the differences between party and movement. For example, the SNP in 2014 championed the twin-track politics of being the party of incumbency while encouraging insurgency politics – and the blossoming of a thousand flowers that exploded in the various currents of the movement.

Subsequently that balance between insider and outsider politics has become more difficult to navigate as the SNP have continued in office for 14 years, won four devolved elections in a row, and hence presided over a record with inevitable limitations that is open to criticism. Negotiating this relationship between party and movement is critical to the future fortunes of independence.

First, a politics that unconditionally defends everything the SNP have ever done in office will not speak to unconvinced Scotland (and also not aid the SNP in governing). Any independence movement has to have an independent mindset and a capacity to be different and differentiated from the politics of the governing party.

Secondly, independence cannot blankly defend the domestic status quo of society. This complete and utter cul-de-sac reduces independence to something without a radical edge, dynamism and momentum. Independence has to be impatient with the state of Scotland that goes beyond constitutional change and instead addresses blighted lives, drug deaths and the fragile state of local democracy and says loudly this is not good enough.

Thirdly, the different values of the SNP and independence need to be acknowledged. The SNP are a party of Scottish nationalism and moderate social democracy; the wider independence movement has many currents but not all of them are Scottish nationalist.