Activists raise flag for action
Confusion over new independence party
Attempts to contact the Scottish Independence Party, set up last week, proved futile amid reports that its website was being taken down.
The party said it was launching because its members believe the SNP is now too comfortable with being part of the Westminster establishment.
The SIP said it hoped to field candidates across the country in next year’s Holyrood election.
There was also confusion with an organisation by the same or similar name – the Scottish Independence Party Community – which today distanced itself from its namesake.
It was set up last September a week after the referendum. Its spokesman Mike Shy contacted Daily Business to explain that the two groups were entirely different.
It has seen an increase in activity on its Facebook site which was launched last September with the message: “Please ‘share’ page folks & let’s get this journey towards Independence firmly on it’s way.”
It added: “We feel that the possible chance of a potential 2nd Referendum Vote for Independence in Scotland is just too good an opportunity to miss. We hope you might feel the same.”
It has been supportive of the SNP, promoting policies on nuclear weapons, fracking, North Sea oil, and so on.
Daily Business has been asked to make it clear that the two groups, despite having almost identical names, have no connection.
The new SIP’s website took a more aggressive view towards the SNP, stating: “The Scottish Independence Party was formed in the summer of 2015, as a direct result of there no longer being a voice for independence in Scotland at the next election, to be contested in 2016.
“Many people have voiced their despair at a situation where the party that has always been seen as a pressure group for independence now seems very comfortable as a party of government here in Scotland and in opposition at Westminster.
“Therefore we feel it is up to us to fill this political vacuum.”
It says its aim “is to field candidates for all seats in Scotland in the upcoming election”, with this aim “the most important part of what we are trying to do”.
SIP founder Coinneach Mac Eachain said he hoped to field candidates in every seat in Scotland for next May’s Holyrood election and reclaim the cause of independence from the SNP.
“The SNP has decided at their conference that they aren’t even going to discuss independence or even a referendum, so that was the catalyst,” he told a news website. “There are so many people out there who are annoyed by the situation, that there’s no discussion, and they’re very welcome to join us.”
He says the party will favour a unilateral approach to independence – meaning, if in government, it would immediately declare independence rather than call for another referendum.
“The idea behind this is just to make sure independence is still on the agenda,” said Mac Eachin adding that the SIP will be part of a left-wing lobby alongside Tommy Sheridan’s pro-independence socialist Solidarity party that will put pressure on the SNP.
“The socialists are talking about it, but the SNP are being absolutely silent on the whole thing. It is up to us to fill this political vacuum,” he said.
The latest moves appear to be a direct backlash against the SNP’s failure to include the issue in its agenda for the party’s October conference.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) argues there would have to be a significant change in Scotland’s political circumstances before another vote on leaving the UK can be held. This would include a vote by the English to leave the European Union.
The SNP will point to growing support despite its failure to commit to another referendum on independence. Even though voters think the nationalists are under performing in government, a monthly poll by TNS found 62% of respondents with a party preference intend to vote for an SNP candidate in May. This is up from 60% a month earlier.
However, the survey found that at most a third of those surveyed thought the SNP government had not performed well on the economy, the National Health Service, justice and education.
The SNP took all but three of Scotland’s 59 House of Commons seats in the UK general election in May, just months after failing to win an independence referendum.
Backing for the Labour Party remained unchanged on 20%, with the Conservatives on 12%, down two points. TNS questioned 1,029 potential voters in Scotland from 10 July 10 to 3 August.