No matter how much information we put out there, some questions will always remain. The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions we get asked and in the interest of fairness we have included them all.
The ISP is growing, and we are being asked more and more questions as we move toward the Scottish Elections in May 2021. Most of these questions come from genuine voters who justifiably want to know about a new party on the Scottish political landscape, as well as the Scottish voting system.
The ISP has also recently become the target of a lot of misinformation online. Of course, this is politics, and we expected this to come from Unionist sources who do not want to see Scotland gain its rightful independence. Sadly, some of this misinformation seems to come also from Independence supporters who, for various reasons, do not think the ISP should stand “against” the SNP, even though that is not what we are doing.
Since we cannot get out to canvas for the ISP, we have created this set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) in the hope it will give the basic information you need. If there is anything you still need to know, contact us at [email protected] and we will be happy to give the best answer we can.
The organisers and members of the ISP did not want to be needed. Many of our members were members of the SNP, some for a very long time. We all hoped that the SNP would do its job and get Scotland its independence, but here has been no sign of preparation, of building the case for independence, for years, even when handed a clear opportunity in the form of Brexit. Now we definitely are needed to help support the SNP do the things needed to get Scotland out of the Union.
Sadly, the SNP, both at Westminster and Holyrood, seem to have forgotten Winnie Ewing’s words. They seem to have ‘settled down’ rather than ‘settled up’. The ISP is concerned that Scottish politics has become gridlocked with virtue-signalling and posturing rather than with furthering independence and tackling the big problems which have continued to blight Scotland for decades: poverty; stunted lives; and lack of opportunity. We know we can help bring Scotland to the prosperous, egalitarian country we all deserve.
All parties were new at some point. That should not be a reason not to vote for the ISP or any of the new independence-supporting parties. For the first time in Scottish political history, you have a choice of people and parties supporting independence. This is something to celebrate!
The ISP are a new party formed in May 2020, made up of Independence-supporting volunteers who have taken on an extreme amount of work to set up a party in a few months and run for election. We have been organising since that date in order to participate in the May 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections.
There is no such thing as a “pop-up party”. To set up a party from scratch takes several months, and a lot of work; it requires you to have a constitution, a financial scheme, named officers and an approved symbol. You have to be registered by the Electoral Commission and it also costs a lot of money to run candidates. No one embarks on this without serious intent. Again, remember that the ISP has been formed by volunteers from Day One.
The ISP is funded by members, donations and money provided through crowdfunders. The ISP has no corporate or “Big Money” donors. All money has been provided through grassroots independence supporters. This means that we are free from the type of influence that bedevils larger parties.
This is a damaging meme that is being aimed at all independence parties in one form or another. The only people who gain are those who want to see Scotland mired in a dysfunctional union forever. As we said in Point 1, the ISP is made up of long-standing independence supporters, many of whom were long-standing members of the SNP.
The ISP is fully committed to independence, and has no connection at all to Unionist or Westminster supporting parties or organisations.
They are listed on https://www.isp.scot/executive_committee/ and Videos and Profiles about individuals will soon be available on the website.
As we are a new party, our policies are still be fleshed out in the Policy Committee so that they can be included in the Manifesto for the upcoming election. When they are ready, they will be posted in full here https://www.isp.scot/policies/ replacing the stated aspirations.
We are currently nearing the conclusion of Candidate Vetting and once completed Candidates will be announced to the public.
Once the policy committee has signed off and candidates are announced, the Manifesto will be published. No other party has published a manifesto and will not until closer to the May 2021 election date.
On the contrary, we understand it very well and have put a lot of work into explaining it to people - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoPfiieineY9mXIouQzBBXw/videos
In Scotland voters get 2 votes (a constituency vote and a regional vote):
Vote 1 (Constituency Vote) is a familiar, ‘First Past The Post’ election for 73 constituencies;
Vote 2 (Regional Vote) is quite different, a regional list election using the D’Hondt (or Additional Member System) method. Please see link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoPfiieineY9mXIouQzBBXw/videos
In the Scottish Voting system, if parties do well in the constituency vote, they don’t do well in the regional vote. This is deliberately designed into the system. Therefore, the ISP is not standing any candidates in the constituencies, deliberately so as not to risk splitting the independence vote. The Green Party, on the other hand, has decided to run in Constituency Seats, which will definitely split the Independence vote. They did this in 2016 which resulted in the SNP losing a constituency seat to Ruth Davidson, but no one is making a big deal about them “splitting the independence vote”.
The ISP is only standing in the Regional Vote.
At the time of writing, polls suggest that the SNP is set to do very well in the constituency vote and get a majority of MSP’s. However, the SNP are predicted to get nearly 1 million independence votes in the Regional Vote, which will convert to almost no MSP’s.
The ISP believes the SNP should withdraw from the Regional vote and allow these votes to be distributed to Independence supporting parties. This will stop Unionists getting elected and produced an Independence dominated parliament.
If you want independence and you think the Greens are best placed to deliver it then by all means vote Green. It would be a better choice than voting SNP on the Regional Vote.
However the ISP believes the Greens are only coincidentally pro-independence. Their policies are actually in direct competition with the SNP on things like rent control and land ownership, but no one ever suggests they should stand down from the regional list.
A vote for the Greens is not a vote for independence unless it suits their aims at the time.
A vote for the ISP is first and foremost a vote for Scotland's independence and the intention is to bolster the number of pro-independence MSPs. The system we have at the moment lets in unionist parties.
No, we are not. We understand the voting system well, and would like to use it to further the cause of Independence
No one accuses unionist supporters of gaming the system when they switch from Conservative to LibDem in the constituency vote, as they did in NE Fife at the Westminster election in 2019, voting for any unionist party to successfully keep out the SNP. That was gaming the system but strangely no one from either side called it out. Unionist politicians have been known to tell their voters to vote for another unionist party.
What the ISP are doing is using the D’Hondt system we were lumbered with (deliberately) via the Scotland Act. This is something we expect to be debated under the revised Scotland Act as soon as possible.
This is simply not true. Many of our members are former SNP members, who became disillusioned with the lack of SNP action on independence.
All ISP members indicate that they will vote for the SNP in the constituency vote. We know that the SNP must be successful in the constituencies if Independence is to become a reality. This is why the ISP is deliberately not challenging the SNP in the constituencies, and hopes the SNP will reciprocate by not challenging Independence parties on the regional vote.
Of course, the ISP do not have exactly the same policies as the SNP - that would be gaming the system. Whilst our policy platform is broadly similar to the SNP, it does differ with regards to gender self-ID, women and equality, free speech and Scotland’s approach to regaining entry to the European Union. However, just as the Tories, Labour, and the LibDems are committed to the union, we join with the SNP and other new parties in being committed to Independence for Scotland.
Unfortunately, we’ve all heard that since 2014, yet the SNP keep finding ways to delay moving towards independence. The Scottish Government (made up of SNP and Greens) have a mandate for Independence, but it is tied to faith in the Section 30 process which has been rejected 4 times by UK Prime Ministers.
The SNP is entering into the 2021 election with the same strategy (which is unlikely to work any more successfully in the future than it did in the past), but stating they need an SNP single-party majority to achieve it. Whilst this did occur in 2011 when the SNP did incredibly well, it is very unlikely ever to happen again. Rather than an SNP majority, what we need is a pro-independence majority that cannot be overridden by the Unionist MSPs. The ISP plans to be part of that majority.
No, we are not. In fact, being any of these would appeal only to the most deplorable in society, which we do not want. However, we do not believe that there should be any topic of 'no debate' - we believe very strongly in freedom of speech and opinion - so we in the ISP allow members freedom to vote as they see fit on matters of conscience and faith.
We uphold trans rights as we uphold all minority rights. Where we differ from the SNP is that we do not want to extend trans rights at the cost of hard-won women's rights, particularly those that guarantee safe single-sex spaces. We see that women's concerns are being increasingly dismissed as irrelevant or exaggerated without any examination of the reality of how women experience their reality. We wholeheartedly support safe spaces for trans people, just not the same ones as women.
Race or country of origin has never been an issue for anyone joining the party or working for it. As our website publicity states, it is not about where you come from, but where we are going together, hopefully to an independent Scotland. An increasing number of our members and supporters the ISP are originally from many places - including England - and are made as welcome as those who have centuries of family history rooted in Scotland. We believe that everyone who considers themselves a Scot is a Scot.
Because we are inclusive of all, and expect an independent Scotland to be the same, it makes no sense to suggest that the ISP is anti-Semitic. This charge of being anti-Semitic seems to stem from the same ‘no debate’ culture surrounding Joanna Cherry’s support of Sarah Phillimore. Again, as said above, we value freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, and robust debate. Compelled speech (or silence) has no place in a democracy.
We appreciate that the AFI are reaching out to ask the ISP to ‘join them’. The aims of the AFI are noble, but we cannot practically join with them. We are an established party, with our own constitution approved by the Electoral Commission (EC) in May 2020. That constitution does not allow for us to join with any other party, and any change to that would need to go back to the EC for further approval. As the AFI found, that can be a very long process, and to do so at the moment would significantly affect our ability to campaign for the election in May.
There are also issues around finance - we have our funding model in place, and we have finally got our business accounts opened. This was not easy, because banks are reluctant to open business accounts at the moment. We have no information about the AFI’s banking arrangements, or how they are funding their campaign.
There are a number of other issues that stop us from considering this, but among one of the most important is that the ISP is a member led organisation and membership have indicated that they are not supportive of the AFI initiative.
There is no doubt that both the ISP and the AFI have Independence for Scotland firmly at their centre. Anyone currently in the AFI could have joined the ISP since May last year, and nominated themselves for a candidacy. They chose not to join the ISP, not the other way around.