Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SNP Civil War?

How much does this Scotsman headline rankle?

David Cameron: Britain is bankrupt and broke

Why wasn't this Alex Salmond's pronouncement?

Naturally the Tories are going to splash on the state of Britain's finances. They are in a total mess and Britain is indeed bankrupt. This is a fact that I've blogged about incessantly and before my blog I banged on about it in the comment section of The Scotsman. Nationalists for a generation and more have had to argue how Scotland would finance itself independently of Britain's fantasy largesse. I spent many months trying to turn the argument around; the Union is financially bust so why should oil rich Scotland not get out? After a while Gordon Wilson urged the SNP to roll-out a 'Bankrupt Britain' campaign. All to no avail. And here we are after the election with the Tories capitalising on the fact.

Before the election a 'Bankrupt Britain' campaign could have given the SNP serious ammo. To start with the idea that the SNP have been remiss economically. The answer was always simple: Labour have destroyed the economy and so the SNP have not been able to do much about it and have had to reverse manifesto pledges into the bargain. The case for an independent economy was there to be made. Crucially it wasn't. Now the economic realities are hitting home the case of 'Bankrupt Britain' would have shown the SNP to have been right all along. The nationalists would have saved votes and now won the argument. Roll on Holyrood.

Not a whiff of it - nothing. An abject failure of serious strategy is what the SNP is guilty of. It's not a serious crime though as long as it learns from its mistakes. Let it be clear though that many rank and file members of the party are not happy with the leadership's lack of direction and nous.

It must not happen again. The cat is out the bag. Labour will be painted as having destoyed the UK economy. The SNP must now argue that Scotland must not go down with the Titanic. A 'Bankrupt Britain' campaign is still its best strategy. It would have had more power and resonance if they'd argued it before the Westminster election but we have to run with it anyway.

There is an opportunity to show that Labour lost because of English votes, that Labour was as bad if not worse than the Tories anyway but more importantly that 'Bankrupt Britain' is not a serious option for Scotland anymore either politically or economically.

The SNP are missing an open goal here and who knows why? Will the leadership venture out of the Holyrood tea-room?

There's a year before the next Holyrood election. What nationalists need to know now is whether the party's ambition goes beyond simply getting re-elected at Holyrood and if independence is still the party's principle goal.

If 'yes' and 'no' then we nationalists simply must forget the SNP as a vehicle for independence or go through the pain of a party civil war. And what a mighty shame taking those paths would be!

Can we have our 'Bankrupt Britain' campaign now please?


Bob said...

I gave up on the SNP when I saw Alex Salmond hugging the Maldives president at the Copenhagen CO2 summit.
If the SNP believe the global warming scam then they're not fit to govern. Oh and they love the EU aswell. Which doesn't help !

Grogipher said...

The SNP have outright won two elections in their history - in 2007 and 2009. In 2010 they scored their highest share of the vote at a General Election I think?

In 2007 and 2009 they ran an exclusively positive campaign message.

In 2010, negativity about the Tories set in.

Now, I'm not one to infer much causality, but that's quite a coincidence, and as such, I wouldn't be happy with a "Broken Britain" campaign message.

I have the utmost repsect for Gordon Wilson, and was in the hall for his Lecture when he put forward this suggestion, and it is an interesting one. But it's not a strategy I agree with.

Alex said...

Perhaps the SNP could be a little more sceptical about global warming in light of recent evidence about it. Politically it would be a disaster to outright deny it. It would be like arguing for a round earth - it may be the truth but it could get you hanged. And anyway, it does suit their clean energy agenda which I like.

Great points.
I'm not for negative campaigning such as attacking personalities outright ala USA.
I think a 'Bankrupt Britain' campaign is not negative but reality.
The SNP have lost positive campaigns. I can remember campaigning donkey's years ago with my yellow 'Make It Happen' t-shirts..
What we need is not simply positive v negative but substance and truth.
Britain is bankrupt. Scots therefore face a choice of an independent Scotland or a failed UK state. That's the truth that must be told. Tactically it makes sense for the SNP because it makes the unionists defend their own position as opposed to the SNP having to defend the economics of independence all the time. Plus by its very nature it makes people think of independence as an alternative and so allows for that kind of debate which we have been waiting for for a long time.
The SNP lost this election in Scotland because it didn't engage the electorate. That's because people won't ultimately trust a nationalist party that is pretending it isn't one.
A Bankrupt Britain campaign (Cameron has said it so it can't be denied) is about the lives of every citizen, honest, about independence, strategically sound and would set up the SNP for the next election and increase demand for a referenendum.

At some point the SNP must talk about independence v the status quo and this is the ideal place to start in my opinion..

Bob said...

I'm not sure about the SNP's ' clean energy agenda' Alex.
Open cast mining in South Lanarkshire has accelerated under the SNP.
They've given the go ahead for a pylon complex across Scotland that will bankrupt us and destroy the scenery. They obviously haven't learnt from California on that score.
In other environmental disasters they've agreed a new bypass for Aberdeen, Trumps new golf complex, pointless windmills at Eaglesham and throughout Scotland which will destroy habitat and waste billions. No windmill ( sorry turbine ) would ever get built unless it was subsidised by taxpayers.
They're about to go for a double whammy in Dundee. Two pointless windmills and a used wood burner. Right in front of houses and on one of the most beautiful estuaries in Europe.
All a shocking waste of money with the country already bankrupt.

Grogipher said...

Bob, that is utter pish.

How will the Beuly-Denny line bankrupt us? Where are 'we' paying? The Government had a choice of saying no, and reducing our ability to move energy around the country, or to agree to it. The Scottish Government doesn't have the power to, for example, tell the energy company to put it underground. Besides, there will be far, far fewer pylons AFTER this goes ahead than there are currently. What a nonsense.

How can wind turbines be proof of an anti-clean energy agenda? Surely by approving windmills, the Government is increasing the amount of clean energy in the country?

As a citizen of Dundee especially, that's just rubbish. What have either the pylons or the biomass got to do with the SNP?!? A private company want to build two turbines and a biomass plant. They will put in an application to the Council, who will make a quasi-judicial, unwhipped decision. I can't see the involvement of the SNP anywhere.

The SNP MP for the constituency is against the turbines -

The SNP MSP for the constituency, as far as I am aware, is also against them. No Councillors can give any comment on any planning issues - that's the law. So I'd really, really, really love to hear how on Earth the "SNP" are forcing these anywhere.

I also take issue with some of your other claims, as I happen to be pro-Turbine. I live closer to two large turbines (which helped save a factory, and hundreds of jobs) than any residents are to these proposed turbines, so I wouldn't call them "pointless". I'd love to hear about what subsidies are available for them though, 'cause I've not been able to find any, and I want to build some wee ones in my street! If you could point me in the direction of all this government cash, that would be grand...

On the point of the beauty of the Estuary, have you seen where the proposed site is? That's right, just behind some oil rigs. Aren't they serene.. Yeah... It's a working port and a refinery, not some site of special scientific interest. You can already see the existing windturbines from Fife, they don't spoil the landscape, and these won't be any different, if they get permission.

On your final point - how can Scotland be bankrupt when it doesn't have any borrowing powers? It spends what it is given. And how will any of the things you talk about change this situation in any way, shape, or form? It's entirely without foundation or substance.

Alex said...

You raise some serious issues there Bob. My knowledge of these subjects is poor. Being in Madrid doesn't help on local issues.

Right now there's a lot of politics about energy and there are new technologies too. There is a real shortage of energy in the near future and so temporary solutions need to be found until renewables are available. I really don't want nuclear power stations being built simply because we can't properly dispose of waste and passing it onto future generations is immoral.

I agree that pylons are a disgrace.

I don't think Trump has anything to do with the SNP. The government simply ensured that the development process remained consistant. This resulted in vilification and personalisation by environmentalists.The SNP behaved like a responsible government in my mind.

Overall, the government has to ensure energy supplies. When the lights go out ala California not many people will give two hoots about pylons..

Thanks for the info. I need to research this. Energy is going to become increasingly political..

Bob said...


I'm amazed at your lack of knowledge of 'green subsidies' and the power of the SNP government to rule on local planning matters.
I'm busy at the moment but will give you a more detailed explanation later of where you can get subsidies for putting a windmill on your roof and links to the bigger susidies available for Forth ports authorities etc.
Jim Mather was on Newsnight north Britain a few months ago and said he had the power to force energy companies to bury cables rather than build pylons but was hoping they would just bury them anyway. This is the calibre of the SNP.
Anyway more later...

Grogipher said...

I'd love to hear about how the Government have the power to rule on local planning matters. I'm sure the Law Officers would want to hear also.

Bob said...


Couple of times here for starters...

Grogipher said...

Aye, those are two massive developments that have been called in to the Government because they have been classified as of "national importance". It's not becoming involved in local issues, it's taking on its duties, as laid out in law. Those are not the same thing.

There are clear guidelines on this, I think for wind turbines anything less than 20MW can't be called in by the Government (unless of course, for other reasons, such as a Council applying to do it on their own land or something).

voiceofourown said...

Grogipher: As far as subsidies to firms operating turbines are concerned, I'm sure you've heard of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC's).
These are, in effect, a massive public subsidy and it's the main reason that power companies were queueing up to build wind farms.

subrosa said...

I live in an area which, not so long ago, was staunch tory. There are still plenty around and quite of few of them support Scottish independence and have voted for John Swinney in the past.

This recent election a few I know said they still voted for him, but grudgingly. When I enquired as to why, the answer was the same. 'Alex Salmond tory-bashing annoyed me and his attempt to cuddle up to labour in the days after the result was sickening'.

John is going to have to work very hard to ensure these people vote him back into office next year. The SNP must plan a more solid and mature campaign for Holyrood.

Alex said...

I agree Rosie. It seems that someone has monkeyed around with Salmond's political GPS. They have to take the initiative and now. A strategy needs time to bed in and about a year before an election is about right..

For sure the Tories are going to blame Labour for the mess of the public finances. The SNP should be hammering them into the ground on this issue too! There is now an opportunity to do serious damage to Labour - out of office.

Anonymous said...

I posted this on the CR Arsed Philanthropist blog but I believe I wouold like to post it here too

I have had deep concerns about, what I believed to be, an almost laid-back campaigning style at the GE and the lack of progress in SNP representation at Westminster.

I feel that the SNP are utterly lost in West Central Scotland and have not a clue how to address that particular constituency.

Unless they (Salmond et al) are quietly playing a Mouser strategy, waiting to see which way the mouse will come, as it surely has to come to the cheese and then will reveal some blindingly swift and definitive coup de grace to the Union.

I hope, really I hope.

Bob said...


Got a bit more time to answer you so I'll give it a go.

" How will the Beuly-Denny line bankrupt us? Where are 'we' paying? "

Via green subsidies. £1Bn last year in the UK. The cost of building the line (£330m ) and the total cost of connecting us to the main cross border interconnector (£2.7Bn). Oh you thought Southern Energy was a charity ? I see now. No, what happens is they put it on your leckie bill. And on your extra taxes for the greenie bit.


"The Scottish Government doesn't have the power to, for example, tell the energy company to put it underground."

The ministers statement stated otherwise and can be seen here. Scroll down to the bit about 'requiring undergrounding of cables'

"Surely by approving windmills, the Government is increasing the amount of clean energy in the country?"

Err no because when there's no wind then the windmills don't turn so you need EXACTLY the same amount of convential power stations as you have at the moment. Windmill construction uses a lot of energy from convential power stations and delivering them uses greenhouse gases and assembling them destroys acres of peatlands and other habitats. Have you been to Eaglesham moor ? 20 square miles of devastation. Ok when it finally turns it's lovely and clean.

" What have either the pylons or the biomass got to do with the SNP?!?"

Dundee council is SNP. If it goes to Holyrood for final appeal it will be decided by the SNP government.

" The SNP MP for the constituency is against the turbines"

And your point is ? Will this be an SNP MP who was willing to side with labour at Westminster despite hating their guts ?

" No Councillors can give any comment on any planning issues - that's the law."

Are you sure you're from Dundee ? Behave now.

"I'd love to hear about what subsidies are available for them though, 'cause I've not been able to find any, and I want to build some wee ones in my street! If you could point me in the direction of all this government cash, that would be grand..."

see previous links

" On the point of the beauty of the Estuary, have you seen where the proposed site is? That's right, just behind some oil rigs. Aren't they serene.. Yeah..."

Yeah the bottom of Strips of Craigie road. In front of some houses. The oil rig moved yesterday by the way. They're two and a half times taller than that 'ugly tall council building near the bridge which is getting moved because it's an eyesore.

Oh and the biomass plant isn't very nice either. 3 primary schools will have fun. Not.

Bob said...

part 2 ( sorry Alex ;) )

grogipher said ..

" how can Scotland be bankrupt when it doesn't have any borrowing powers?"

I'll be kind to you as you obviously don't like to think about big things too much.
Scotland is part of the UK. We get money from the UK Treasury to run our affairs. No I'm sorry it doesn't grow on trees. The UK gets it's money from taxes and from borrowing on the world markets using bonds and gilts. Under Labour we needed to borrow £175Bn a year to help us tick over as we can't pay our way through taxation etc. This borrowing over the years has raised the countries total debts to about £900Bn and we're adding about £150Bn a year to that pile. Plus uncosted public sector pensions at £1.1trillion. PFI etc etc. We'll never be able to pay it all back and will default. ( Like Greece etc)
So I'd say we were bankrupt.

Alex said...

Good debate guys.

I think some of Grogipher's points are about rulings rather than preferences. If planning applications go before the SNP government, the SNP government are not deciding if they want or like anything simply that they want to ensure everything is being done legally, orderly and co-ordinated with other parts or all of Scotland.

As for the debate over desireability, like I said, I need more research but thanks for all the info..

Bob said...


The SNP are pro green energy so may be slightly biased in favour of the proposals for bio mass and wind turbines in Dundee. The local press are reporting that RWE a German windfarm company have dropped plans for turbines on the Tay estuary so we have to be thankful for small mercies. Probably couldn't get enough 'green funding'. The press also report that the Tay turbines and bio mass plant decision will go straight to the SNP govt due to it's sensitivity. Two big fans blowing burnt creosote over 3 primary schools must have got the local council panicking.
I only checked the cost of the pylons and interconnectors. I haven't even mentioned the cost of building the windmills and of trying to get the wave power generators to actually work. The Telegraph reckoned £30Bn in subsidies over the next 10 years and carbon taxes on top of that until we're 'fully green'. Did you know that Whitehall sends Brussels £100m annually because the govt buildings aren't green enough ? The money carbon offsets their lack of greenieness.
I suspect we will have the 600 super pylons running through the National Parks etc delivering the same power that they are today. Except they will be at 400Kv and 20 metres taller with higher EMF radiation and massive scenic impact.

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