The SNP, a revival?


Après la défaite lors du référendum en septembre dernier, le Parti National Ecossais (SNP) s’est refait une santé pour les élections générales du 7 mai avec Nicola Sturgeon à sa tête. Le SNP est-il à même de s’imposer dans l’échiquier politique ? La différence entre un référendum et une élection nous invite à réfléchir à l’impact que pourrait avoir le SNP sur ses électeurs. Quelles sont ses lignes directrices pour convaincre l’électorat écossais ?


Is the SNP still alive?

After the resignation of Alex Salmond who headed the SNP for more than seven years, Nicola Surgeon looks even more formidable and determined to reinvigorate the party. She still insists on the necessity to make Scotland independent. Furthermore the Scottish Party has seen its memberships rise at a high of 77,000 which is a historical record (it was about 25,000 before the referendum). The SNP is all the stronger as many specialists argue that Scottish voters still are essential for the general election. And paradoxically enough, if the referendum was held today, “Yes Scotland” would win.

Can the SNP gain more momentum before the general election?

Many polls show that the most popular outcome in Scotland in the general election is a Labour government which depends on SNP support. With one poll last week suggesting the SNP could be on course to win as many as 55 of the country’s 59 seats reserved to Scots (and 15 in Westminster, according to the Guardian). And one must admit that the two largest parties are less and less attractive. Syriza‘s recent success in Greece highlights the fact that traditional parties are becoming ever more criticised. Neither the Tories nor Labour are strong enough not to take into account the interests of the “small parties”. Indeed the outlook is bleak for Labour, Scottish votes will nudge the election because the Scots will vote with a view to what matters for Scotland.


What are the guideline when it comes to policies?

Sturgeon said her party would be urging Labour to abandon its support for nuclear weapons, the SNP’s main idea is to invest money in health and education instead.

The leader of the SNP confirmed that although the SNP would not vote on “purely English matters” at Westminster, they would vote on English health laws, because health spending decisions would have a direct knock-on effect on Scotland’s budget; the party still acts for Scottish interests, even in Westminster. 

Moreover the SNP ideology is more left-wing than Labour, especially with Nicola Surgeon at its head. It might be positive for the SNP to have not only Scottish voters but also English voters who may be lured in by a left-wing platform. But on the other hand, while the SNP is gathering votes in the UK, English voters believe a Labour-SNP coalition would destabilise Britain. The SNP is also criticised for its plan to raise taxes. Indeed, according to the latest polls whose results were published in The Telegraph, wealthy Scots are considering fleeing the high SNP taxes (one Scottish Government spokesman said the tax rates were “driven by the principle that taxes should be proportionate to the ability to pay”). The economic projects designed by the SNP obviously polarise the British electorate… but it could pay off electorally. To be continued…

Vincent DE VIVIE & Samuel MATA


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