Derick recently joined the ISP and provides a detailed account of his thinking that made him consider such a difficult decision
I joined the SNP in 1988 and left in 2020.
The ISP are already providing a policy offer that neither the SNP nor the Greens are, and in that way potentially buttress and grow the pro-independence vote and pro indy representation. This may take a few years, but it’s important that we have started now. Because, specifically:
- The ISP is open to all democratic routes to Independence. Which in practice would mean the Plan B that Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny have attempted unsuccessfully to get the SNP to consider. Independence via a majority of Scottish MPs was SNP policy from the 1940s to 1999.
- The ISP supports the EFTA rather than the EU route to Europe (36% of SNP and Labour voters voted Leave in 2016). Both the SNP and Greens are committed to full EU membership, but are being rather coy on how long that would take. ISP offers an option for pro Independence EU-sceptical voters that was not there before.
- The ISP is opposed to the GRA and Self-ID. Whatever you think of that policy, both the SNP and Greens support it, and until ISP there was no option for Independence voters who don’t.
- The ISP offers a new option for those who have stopped voting. Turnout in the 2016 Scottish election was only 55.8%. FORTY FOUR PERCENT of the Scottish electorate didn’t see any party worth voting for. If we can motivate even a proportion of those people to vote then we can grow the independence vote. ‘SNP’ list votes are not the only source of potential votes for ISP.
- The ISP offers an option for the third of Labour voters who support independence. They won’t vote SNP or Green or they would already be doing so. Labour is increasingly boxing themselves into an extreme Unionist position. Again – ‘SNP’ list votes are NOT the only potential source of votes for ISP.
- Finally, a more strategic and long term point. We need improved opposition in Holyrood, now and post independence. For which we need more non-unionist parties. The current opposition is incompetent, unelectable, venal and unionist! We need a more balanced Parliament.
Which leads to the following strategic scenarios:
Scenario 1: The Cummings Government (for let’s speak of the organ grinder, not the tousled monkey) suddenly discovers morality and agrees a S30 sometime during 2021-2026. Or Starmer does. We have a referendum and Scotland becomes independent sometime during the mid 2020s. We need a broader spread of pro-indy parties to ensure Scotland isn’t an effective one party state after independence. A broader Parliament post independence is a potential reassurance for wavering ‘soft No’ voters and a further way to grow Independence support.
Scenario 2: No S30, no Plan B, no independence by 2026, or God forbid, 2031. In which case, assuming that the SNP win the 2026 election, we need a broader spread of pro-indy parties to avoid 24 years of effective one party rule. One party rule for decades is simply not healthy, particularly in a unicameral Parliament that does not have a written Scottish Constitution, or a Senate to provide checks and balances.
That’s my personal take, and why I am now in the ISP. Feeling positively refreshed!