Do the SNP really want Scottish Independence?
The English Democrats discuss the potential benefits to the SNP of working with them to promote the Scottish independence agenda.
After the SNP’s historic victory in the 2015 General Election in Scotland, nationalist politicians can reasonably ask - What is the next step in the battle to break-up the UK? (for that is what Scottish Independence amounts to). In particular can Scotland gain independence without the help of England?
Were nationalist parties in Wales and Northern Ireland ever to win similar victories to the SNP in a future General Election, there would still not be enough Nationalist MPs in Westminster to force the break-up of the United Kingdom. 533 out of 650 MPs in Westminster are elected in England, so the arithmetic of UK population means that England always has an overwhelming majority.
The reality for the SNP is that whilst many of their supporters dislike the English, they may have no option but to seek England’s help if they are serious about breaking up the United Kingdom. Where is this help to come from though? All parties with MPs elected in England are Unionist, even though they all have Scottish versions for electoral advantage. The Conservatives helped the SNP in 2015 by raising the spectre of ‘Labour in alliance with Scots Nats’ as part of their electioneering, but they seem incapable of even modest reforms to Westminster on the West Lothian Question.
There is only one political party in England that has a similar separatist agenda as the SNP, the English Democrats. In 2013 they adopted a policy of complete Independence for England, but left open the question of what would happen to the rest of the UK. They recently held their 13th Annual Conference in Leicester, where we asked some of their senior activists their take on the situation.
Asked why the SNP, do not actively promote the English Democrats, Robin Tilbrook, Chairman stated – “I sometimes wonder whether the SNP does really want Independence. Perhaps it really wishes to continue to receive very substantial subsidies from the English tax payer for as long as possible, and uses its campaign for Independence to give it leverage. I would like to be persuaded otherwise”.
Steve Uncles, Campaign Director pointed out that informal discussions had taken place with Angus McNeil SNP MP, who had been kind enough to attend and speak at a previous English Democrats Conference. We were then hopeful that we could work with the SNP but nothing came of it.
In 2011 an opinion poll by ComRes found 36% of English voters were in favour of independence for England, and that was in the face of years of Unionist propaganda from the media and establishment. A similar result (34%) was obtained in an ICM poll in September 2014.
Derek Hilling, English Democrats National Secretary, who proposed the Independence for England policy at the 2013 Party Conference, said “We are working to translate English opinion in favour of Independence, into real constitutional change for UK. English people are increasingly fed-up with the complaints of the other nations of the UK, who all receive more state-subsidy than any part of England. The English do not look kindly on ingrates, and are unlikely to be generous to them in negotiations about the break-up of UK”.
Robin Tilbrook (Chairman) added, “It is possible that some of the strategy used by Conservatives in 2015 General Election came from conversations I had with Lynton Crosby. The English Democrats want Independence for England, we want to break-up the UK, and we’re prepared to work with anyone to obtain that goal. Perhaps the SNP should apply the same strategy!”.
This advertorial first appeared in the
House Magazine SNP conference edition.