Arc of Prosperity

Scottish Independence within the EU – with a Scandinavian Slant


17 years is enough

In Danish politics, it is often said that the most crucial skill for any politician is the ability to count to 90 – the number of MPs required for a majority in the 179-seat Folketing. Humza Yousaf appears to have never mastered this lesson (in his case, counting to 65). He seemed to think being First Minister was about projecting strength and power, akin to the way Prime Ministers act at Westminster, overlooking the fact that politics under proportional representation (PR) differs markedly from the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.

Some seem so perturbed by recent events that I get the impression they would prefer Holyrood to emulate Westminster and adopt FPTP. However, this would be a grave mistake. PR politics tends to lead to better decisions or more engaged voters, and if I could change just one aspect of Westminster, it would indeed be the introduction of proper PR.

Now that Humza has departed, what next? I find it hard to believe that the current SNP are capable of crafting a credible plan for independence – most of their politicians are jaded and bereft of fresh ideas. This is hardly surprising. After all, the SNP has governed for 17 years, an eternity in politics. Frankly, it’s a miracle they have lasted this long.

Therefore, I believe the best course for them would be a few years in opposition. This would provide time to reignite their passion, discuss strategies for achieving independence, and develop a working relationship with both the Greens and Alba. Let’s face it — independence is not happening soon anyway. Better to endure a period in opposition now.

I hope they realise the wisdom of having multiple pro-independence parties: a large centrist party and two smaller parties, one to the left and one to the right of it. This arrangement would ensure that nearly all pro-independence voters have a party that represents their views. The SNP’s major mistake under Sturgeon and Yousaf was trying to be both the principal independence party and a clone of the Greens simultaneously, rather than collaborating with the Greens (and Alba) on independence while agreeing to disagree on many other issues.

At present, John Swinney seems most likely to become the new leader of the SNP. However, he won’t save them. Most likely, he’ll merely keep things steady for two years, after which the SNP will likely have to relinquish power regardless. It would probably be wiser to throw in the towel now.

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