Monday, 30 January 2012

The SNP And The SDA

For some time I've been impressed by the work of the Scottish Democratic Alliance (SDA). Those involved seem attuned to what's being said in living rooms and pubs and they have had, for some time, comprehensive policies on the EU and defence - being just two - publicly available online. They have always been open to communications with the SNP because their aim is also independence.

The SDA, along with the more astute political watchers, realise that Scotland will never be the same from last Wednesday, when Alex Salmond launched the referendum consultation. Last Wednesday changed the future of Scotland forever.

The launch itself didn't make much change to the political atmosphere in Scotland, but David Cameron's statement, a couple of days later, did. His message spelt out, clearly and distinctly, that if the people didn't vote Yes, Scotland would be put in mothballs for the foreseeable future.

Now the stakes have changed. David Cameron's statement is more concerning because he's creating a problem, so early in the debate, which could eventually have resolved itself in the next two and a half years. The problem is that the union is finished. His remark this weekend only goes to show he knows it too, but if the referendum produces a No vote, then Scotland will suffer directly from London rule. That's the nature of the beast - the winner takes it all.

Back to the SDA.  Last week they announced that one of their members would be standing as a candidate for Leith in the May local elections. Immediately some SNP supporters accused them of 'splitting the vote'. Such narrow-mindedness is upsetting. I see the SDA as a group of knowledgeable people with a clear vision of how an independent Scotland could achieve both social and financial stability. Their vision may not be everyone's favourite breakfast, but to insult their efforts is contemptible, particularly when so many haven't made any effort to understand their aims.

A member of the SDA gave his response on Facebook to those who are unable to realise that the SNP is not the only game in town aiming for independence.  I do hope those who negatively objected to them nominating a candidate for the May council elections will take note and before they make foolish comments in future, take the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the SDA's policies. It disappoints me to think that so many believe Alex Salmond alone can deliver a Yes note in the autumn of 2014. As a supporter of independence I believe we need all the help we can get to achieve it.

The SDA have no intentions of splitting the independence vote. Like it or not there are many Scots who would support independence but for a variety of reasons will not support the SNP. A single candidate in a local authority will not detract from the support received by the SNP but it will provide a public awareness that will demonstrate that the SNP are not alone in the drive for independence. The awareness that there are other players who are developing policies for an independent Scotland will reassure voters and help swing them over to vote Yes in the referendum. Over a third of the voters are undecided and to win some of them over they need to be told what independence will mean for them. At present they don't know and the SNP do not appear to be in a position to tell them. We have made every policy and discussion paper we have researched available to the SNP and have not even received an acknowledgement. There are multiple unionist parties who will slowly get their acts together and the SNP will require help from the Greens, the SDA and others to win the referendum vote.

Robert Ingram (Facebook link)

Note: I am not a member of the SDA or any political party but I support Scotland being an independent nation.


JRB said...

This is nothing more than the old Scottish Enterprise Party with a shiny new name and a shiny new website.

In previous posts recently, we were somewhat critical of right wing websites appearing with no information of who was behind them, but yet seeking financial donations.
On this occasion we appear to have a nationalist website with no information of who is behind it, but similarly seeking financial donation.

If we are critical of one such website, we must be critical of all such websites, regardless of their political inclination.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The SDA have made no secret of the fact they sprung from or, at least have similar centre right views to to those of Scottish Enterprise.

What's wrong with that?

Whether we agree or disagree with their policies they have set them out for debate and analysis and have expressed their commitment to the cause of independence by not being divisive during the process of winning it.

Arguably it's by not entering into the political fray that has allowed them the luxury of being able to lay out their political agenda in such an honest and frank manner.

As the latest statement attributed to Cameron has shown the debate around Devo - Max is now one of Devo - No More. Which, by inference makes any discussion on additional powers within the Union a wish list. So whatever form and legitimacy this 'Civic Scotland' has, it would do better to set its terms of reference to 'Independence Best' in order for the New Scotland to have the best democratic foundation available to the wit of humankind.

In purely pragmatic terms I allow some slack to the SNP at their lack of opacity at times in having administer within and play the game in the political quagmire of Westminster hegemony but, we have been where we've been and are where we are and there's absolutely no doubt we wouldn't be where we are without Salmond and the SNP.

I believe the SDA are aware and recognise this as indicated by the position they have adopted, not to throw a divisive hurdle on the road to independence. Equally while the SNP have gained the right to lead Scotland to independence, democracy demands they earn the mandate to govern an independent Scotland.

In the meantime the SDA has as much right to be part of this 'Civic Scotland' as any other amorphous body.

Gedguy said...

Having read and partially supported the SDA, in a philosophical way, I am concerned, at least, by the posters above and the valid points in which they put over. I am not a member of the SNP and haven't been for nearly 30 years. I have some concerns about their policies and, as you rightly say, they have not produced documentation, as yet, which would allow us to decide what their policies, post-independence, would mean. Having said that, Alex has brought us closer to our goal than anyone else has and I see the SDA as standing on the shoulders of giants. It would be better if they would leave the elections to the SNP and then, after independence, I might very well support them as they seem more akin, in a lot of points, to my owns views.
I am worried about the point of them splitting to votes. For independence to succeed we need every vote we can get.

Clarinda said...

I gather from the SDA website that their main proponents are named with corresponding contact options.
The SDA also state that they have been assured by the SNP that their documents are currently in circulation for consultation and are awaiting the SNP response.
Luckily, as we are a democracy (and getting closer to being a better one) the SDA is perfectly entitled to have a candidate stand for election - the outcome if successful strengthens the Independence movement and will give further notice to the unionists that Scottish Independence support covers a broad political canvas.
Call me cynical - but unless the opposition to the SDA Leith candidate came directly from a legitimate SNP source, I would regard it with suspicion along with the scare story guff (pandas and whisky etc) which have all recently ended in being thoroughly rubbished.
I do not belong to any political party but my head, heart and soul belong to Independence. If the SDA supporters vote Yes to Independence then all the better.
I agree with Mr Crinkly - that playing realpolitik with the current Westminster intricacies can restrict and constrain some of the SNP outward ambition - but we have a political master who seems to know his and his team's way around with alacrity.
Worrying about a single local council candidate should not destablise the groundswell of Independence and I do not believe the SDA wish to compromise the Independence vote.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I would like to add to my previous post - the critical issue is, in the referendum we are not voting for any political party, we are voting for independence.

subrosa said...

They're not exactly new JRB but their website is. I've just noticed the 'new' site doesn't have a list of founders. One is James Wilkie and another is Robert Ingram.

You're right though and if I'd noticed they'd not placed the founder list on the site I would have commented. My apologies.

I will contact them in Facebook and suggest they should explain who they are.

subrosa said...

I agree with you Crinkly and I'm not criticising the SNP but some of their followers who think only the SNP will achieve independence. It won't. There are others out there and we need their help.

They SDA made a principled decision in the last election not to put up anyone as that would detract from the SNP vote. Now they've decided to promote one councillor.

subrosa said...

Gedguy, did you manage to read the link in Facebook? You will see that Robert Ingram explains his reasons for a candidate in the local elections.

Gedguy said...


It has taken me a while but I have read through all the comments. If this is just a test case for the SDA and, as far as I can gather, they have neither the resources nor the manpower to put up candidates en masse, then I have no problem with that. They might benefit from the experience which is what I think they are implying. After independence there will be a need for political parties that have shown themselves to be 'pro-Scottish' to take up the reins to provide a viable opposition to the Scottish government, whomever that may be, and from that perspective, and that perspective only, I support them in their endeavours. If they are trying to build against a party that has given us the chance to separate from the Union of the Parliaments before independence then I will not support them. I have quietly been watching them for a while now and, on the whole, like what I see. Some of my wishes are for a left of centre ideology while others a more right of centre. I have still to make up my mind what I want support post independence.

RMcGeddon said...

Classic 'divide and rule' tactics. An ancient policy but still very effective.
It will allow the MSM to use them as an alternative independence party and sideline the conventional SNP spokesperson. Very clever and it will work well for the Unionist establishment.

Apogee said...

One thing which has bothered me about this supposed Independence, is the idea of "Independence In Europe".
Considering the shenanigans in the EU at the moment with Greece, Italy, and Ireland, and having read many articles that show the EU as having sprung from ideas of National Socialist Party supporters in Germany, said ideas being the reason for the non democratic setup at the top of the EU,And many other things which preclude democracy in any form, do we really want to be under the yoke of this creation?
I understand that in 1943 the German Government considered the blue print for what the EU is, and concluded that it would not work, for the reasons we now see it falling apart.Consider the affiliations of the people running the EU.
My personal view is that Scotland deserves a fresh start , free, not beholden to any one, I do not see a problem of joining a free trade association such as EFTA.

But putting ourselves in servitude to the likes of the EU would leave me, and a lot of others , wondering why we fought the 2nd world war, it was supposed to get us away from tyranny, not dump us back in it with the same ones we had just been fighting !

RMcGeddon said...

Both sides in WW2 were financed by US bankers and it was just part of the big game. Nothing to do with getting away from tyranny lol.
This democratic alliance is linked to Reform Scotland, " an independent non-party think-tank".
Full of the usual bankers and lawyers and even our Wendy ;)

Apogee said...

Hi RM. Quite agree, the vermin and parasites are always there. G Bush's granddaddy and a lot of others were getting dividends from Opel till late '43 I'm told.
But the bosses were deadly serious, and so were the soldiers on either side, getting shot is a very serious business. you should perhaps consider that quite a few of the politicians on both sides after the war came from the financier class and a lot of them had dreams of conquest,even revenge. So perhaps as some writers say, they found a way to win the war after all.What do you say when the past plans and the present seem to coincide?
And many millions would disagree with you regarding Tyranny, they had the marks of the jackboots on their throats to prove it. You read history, but they lived it, just prey we do not have to relive it.

We as a country have to decide what this "independence" is to be. Is it to be freedom ,beholden to no one, or are we to be like cattle in the field, aye , free, with some ones brand on our collective butts ?
For me , "Independence in Europe (meaning the EU)", just doesn't cut it.

RMcGeddon said...

Well an independent Scotland under the SNP won't be independent. They support the main parties as regards bankster bailouts, global warming scams and a love for the corrupt EUSSR.
Oh and I've lived more history than I will ever be able to report lol

Apogee said...

Hi RM.Ok,didn't mean to offend, I'm no chicken either.
And we again seem to be in total agreement.
Have just read the SDA Vision statement and apart from a few minor queries, Its what I would like to have written myself.
It works for me ! Wonder what the rest of Scotland thinks of staying under the EU yoke, beasts of burden for ever? Will any one ever actually ask the question.

RMcGeddon said...


"Have just read the SDA Vision statement and apart from a few minor queries, Its what I would like to have written myself.
It works for me ! "
Yes it's good. Propaganda is at it's best when it is simple and easy to understand. Did you follow the links to Wendy Alexander et al ?

I'd have to ask what the point of them was though. The only outcome of their candidates winning would be to undermine the SNP The headlines can be written now.

"SNP independence falters "

"People think twice on SNP plans"

" SNP accused of being too bigheaded"

" Faltering SNP forced to u turn"


subrosa said...

JRB, didn't you notice the 'board members' at the bottom of the home web page? No neither did I, but the names of them are there along with telephone numbers.

Couldn't really be more transparent could they?

subrosa said...

Gedguy, the SDA have never said they would stand in the way of the SNP, quite the opposite. This isn't a bunch of folk who have just appeared on the scene, they've been going for a few years.

However, what I do admire is their policies are well thought out an available for all to see and they're aiming towards what an independent Scotland would look like.

subrosa said...

I disagree RM. The SDA has been around for some years and has never entered the 'divide and rule' business.

subrosa said...

Apogee, if you read the SDA's policy on the EU you may find it interesting.

RMcGeddon said...

SR. The SDA are planning to take seats from the SNP and their website says they are linked to Reform Scotland where Wendy Alexander resides...

Once they start to take SNP seats they will allow the MSM to sideline the SNP. Isn't that classic 'divide and rule' ?

subrosa said...

Where do they say they'll stand against the SNP at the next election RM? I've not found anything stating that, quite the contrary.

As for reform scotland, it has a variety of individuals on board. Wendy Alexander is only one of them. My wee pal Brownlee is there too. So that's labour and the tories represented. :)

Apogee said...

Hi RM,It is a matter, IMHO of votes for independence, not votes for specific seats. To be quite frank, if the SNP version of independence is only as slaves in the EU, my current intention is to vote against it.It does Scotland no favours to be locked into the EU with no way out.
Look at Greece as an example.Independence means exactly that, not on anyones leash.

Willie The Eff said...

SDA are nothing more than chancers, parasites arriving after all the hard work has been done. Whilst I am prepared to believe that they themselves may genuinely believe in independence, they are at best a distraction that the independence movement can do without and at worst, splitters and an attack vector for mischief-making by the unionists. Take them outside and shoot them or if that is too unpalatable for some, lock them away where they can do no damage until after independence. I see little practical difference between them and Murdo Fraser's putative Scottish Tories. Both will fill the same space. Let us work to make sure that it is a very small space indeed.

Robert Blake said...

I've seen the SDA being mentioned by comment posters for some time, always hinting that one day they'll come but being light on what they stood for

In fact they came across as more of a right-wing Militant or Socialist Worker, ready to appear at someone else's event and get the publicity

I have suspected that they are UKIP without the UK and this confirms it

Post independence the political landscape will change, and maybe these guys will find a, if you pardon the expression, constituency, but their tactics so far lead me not to trust them further than I can throw them

subrosa said...

Willie, you're entitled to your opinion although I would disagree that they've arrived after all the hard work is done. James Wilkie (one of the founder members) has spent years writing eloquent letters to the press in support of independence - quite probably more than any other independence supporter. Therefore I do not accept they are chancers or parasites and as Clarinda states above, if SDA supporters vote Yes to Independence then all the better.

subrosa said...

A party which publicly displays its policies is not 'light' on what it stands for Robert. I've been trying to get hold of the SNP's defence policy for years but it's never come to light.

For you to compare the SDA with UKIP is silly. Have you read UKIP's policies? In what way, other than taking an anti-EU stance, does the SDA compare?

We ought to appreciate the SDA's efforts in gathering support for independence and not shun it or do you want the SNP to be the only independence game in town?

There are many people who don't or won't vote SNP yet support independence. They need a platform.

Observer said...

I don't think the SDA have any chance of splitting the independence vote because I don't think anyone will vote for them.

They are not known, they are not local, they haven't put in the work, they don't have the activate system, & frankly they seem a tad eccentric.

I have no doubt there will be a re-alignment of Scottish politics after independence is gained, but until then the SNP are the only realistic vehicle for change.

subrosa said...

You may well be right Observer, but I can't see why you would call them eccentric.

They are fully aware, I understand, that the SNP is the only realistic party for independence, however I think it's better to support their efforts rather than be negative. After all they too support independence.

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