Monday, 9 May 2011

What is the point of the SNP?

The Scottish National Party have taken control of the Scottish government. They hold 69 of 129 seats in the Holyrood Parliament. That's a clear majority of 9 seats and gives them the mandate to carry out their stated aim, which is (from the party's constitution) to create a just, caring and enterprising society by releasing Scotland's full potential as a sovereign state in the mainstream of modern Europe.

So what they need to do now is hold a referendum for independence and as soon as that is passed start unbundling the nation: agreeing an exact border, dividing up the oil fields, the military etc. No time to lose - they might as well get on with it straight away. It's a major task and will likely take all the Scottish government's attention for their entire term in office.

But SNP leader Alex Salmond has slammed on the brakes! The referendum will take place in the next five years, and certainly not before 2013.

Salmond: Wants to live under the English jackboot for a few more years

Why the sudden diffidence? Could it be because opinion polls show that only 40% of Scots people actually want independence? So the sooner the SNP holds its referendum the sooner they will learn their whole purpose in life has been rejected by the people. But provided they never actually ask the question they can govern in blissful ignorance.

The truth is that the SNP have been elected to power in Scotland, not to spearhead independence, but rather to use the threat of independence to extract more money from the English. During the election Alex Salmond promised a load of good things, such as freezing council taxes and reducing corporation taxes, which can only be provided if the English subsidise them.

This is a dangerous policy. The English are growing disenchanted with the Scots. The Scots have free prescriptions; the English don't. The Scots have free University education; the English will be paying £9,000 a year before long. The Scots have free nursing care for their old people; the English must sell their houses to pay their nursing bills. Meanwhile Scottish MPs at Westminster vote on matters that only affect England while English MPs have no such reciprocal power over Scotland.

Support for Scottish independence is probably higher in England than it is in Scotland right now. How much longer will England tolerate a parasitic Scotland?

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