I don’t want to harp on about this much more, but I do want to add two short points to my last post on the Scottish National Party’s failure to pursue an alliance with the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party in the 2015 Westminster elections (and warm thanks, by the way, for the lively discussion in the comments section of that posting – they are well worth reading if you haven’t already done so).
Firstly, whilst I welcome the news that Nicola Sturgeon is entertaining the possibility of an alliance at Westminster between the SNP with Plaid Cymru and the English and Welsh Green Party, her failure to engage in a similar alliance with the SNP’s erstwhile YesScotland allies in Scotland, the Scottish Green Party and Scottish Socialist Party, emphasises the narrow party political advantage that she and her party leadership are pursuing now that the referendum campaign is over. The idea that the SNP might continue to co-operate willingly with other parties after the referendum needs to be treated with great scepticism: the massive growth in party membership that all the pro-Scottish anti-austerity parties have experienced, with the SNP benefiting the most as they were the largest of the three parties to begin with, seems to have blinded the SNP’s leadership to the advantages that strategic alliances – and that word strategic is key here – might bring. That is rather disappointing, but will need to feature in the ways in which decisions by the SGP and SSP are made in future.
Secondly, related to that: I made a mistake in my last posting: having been away for my branch party’s AGM I missed the fact that the Stirling Greens decided to field a candidate for the 2015 election; the candidate is to be nominated in December. Obviously, since I was not present for the debate on this I don’t know how the arguments went. However, despite the fact that all canvassing is good in raising our party’s profile amongst the electorate, I am yet to be convinced that this is a positive move. What I think will really count at the 2015 Westminster election is giving a pro-Scottish anti-austerity party a chance at winning this seat, rather than the Scottish branch of “Labour” perhaps retaining it, or, just as bad, the Tories winning it. Whether my fellow Greens like it or not, this area is not like Edinburgh East and the only pro-Scottish anti-austerity party that has any hope of defeating the pro-austerity unionists here is the SNP. This means that SGP (and perhaps SSP) members who supported independence face a dilemma: canvass and vote for a Green candidate in the knowledge that this might enable one of the pro-austerity unionist parties to win because votes for the Greens take away from the pro-Scottish anti-austerity SNP, or – gulp! – not canvass for our nominated candidate and perhaps even vote SNP, despite the SNP’s narrow-mindedness on the question of co-operation. I don’t yet know where I stand on this question myself.
In conclusion: I remain concerned that whilst so much of what Sturgeon’s SNP is doing is really positive and good for Scotland (and indeed the rest of the UK even if all it is doing for other parts of the UK is demonstrating a viable alternative approach to the pro-austerity unionist parties), this failure by the SNP to work together might yet cause them real electoral damage.