The Scotsman.com has a piece in which the SMP’s former deputy leader, Jim Sillars, refutes an idea floated by the Independence campaign’s chief strategist, Stephen Noon, that a “Yes vote for independence could see the end of the SNP.
It’s an interesting question and one that goes a bit deeper than Mr Sillars seems to contemplate. If there were a vote in favour of independence then the electorate would be faced with electing to government a party that they felt would best manage the affairs of a new, small country. There is no guarantee that they would reward the SNP by returning them to office. Faced with a new reality, all bets would be off. History would seem to suggest that Scotland would elect a left-of-centre party (so either SNP or Labour) but even that is not certain. Voters might feel that a right-of-centre focus on small government, low taxes and business would better deliver the future that had been voted for. Stripped of their current raison d’etre, the SNP would have to stand on its record of economic management and competence in office. 2012’s repeated controversies over misleading Parliament and the people are no feathers in their caps.
The evidence of polls suggests that the SNP are currently in power because voters felt them better at fighting Scotland’s corner within the union rather than through support for independence. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the SNP’s best chance of survival were for a No vote in the independence referendum?
UPDATE: In the comments below, Peter Bell shares the link to Stephen Noon’s original article. Well worth a read.