I am an individual Scottish voter, I have no role within the SNP, and my opinions are my own. I am an SNP supporter but no longer a party member. I first published this in November 2011
Here are the facts that I have heard from the SNP, in publicly available statements, from printed material, newspapers, periodicals and from the broadcast media – they have been freely available to every member of the Scottish electorate.
I have no trouble understanding them, and I cannot imagine that any adult voter would have trouble understanding them. Frankly, a moderately intelligent 12-year old would understand them. But clearly the large sections of the media, politicians and spokespersons for unionist parties are either unable or unwilling to understand them.
THE KEY FACTS, AS I UNDERSTAND THEM
The SNP stated in its manifesto that, if elected, it would hold a consultative referendum on Scotland’s independence, with a YES/NO question. If the answer is YES, the Scottish voters will have mandated the Scottish Government to negotiate the timing and terms of securing Scotland’s independence with the UK Westminster Government.
The Scottish Government will be fully mandated by the sovereign Scottish People to reach agreed terms in those negotiations, subject to core stated major policy positions, e.g. non-nuclear.
The SNP has defined independence in exactly the same way as every independent democratic country in the world defines it – total freedom to act in the interests of Scotland in every aspect of Scottish life – law, defence and foreign policy, taxation and fiscal policy, public services, relations with other nations, etc.
(No other nation in history has ever felt the need to explain to its people what independence meant in more detail than that, nor has any free people, even when suffering under non-democratic regimes, ever been in doubt what independence meant.)
Only Scottish voters - as defined by normal criteria of eligibility to vote in Scottish and UK elections, plus new provisions for 16 and 16 year-olds - will be eligible to vote. Scottish, in this context, does not refer to country of birth or ethnic group but to eligibility to vote in Scottish elections.
The referendum timing, legality and how other key questions will be handled have now been agreed in the historic referendum agreement with the UK Government.
The SNP will establish relationships with other nations through normal diplomatic means, and will seek to be a part of relevant interest grouping with other nations, such as the European Union and the United Nations. There is no doubt whatsoever that one of the world’s oldest nations, one that has had made a major contribution to that world in every field of human endeavour, with a distinctive history and culture that is recognised instantly in every part of the globe, would be accepted into the European Union and the United Nations.
The SNP will maintain a Scottish defence force and will protect the traditional identities of Scottish defence groupings. Serving members of the armed forces will be offered a free choice to either join Scottish defence forces or remain in UK defence forces.
The SNP will be part of defence alliances that it considers relevant to Scotland’s defence interests, and to the maintenance of our democratic way of life, and will take part in international operations as part of a coalition of forces in pursuit of objectives with which it agrees.
The SNP is committed to retaining the Queen -and her natural successors - as the constitutional monarch of Scotland.
The SNP is committed equally to a strong, vibrant private sector and to first-rate public services, properly funded and supported in an independent Scotland. The SNP sees the private sector and the public sector as being complementary vital parts of a civilised nation, of equal significance and status, and not as in competition for recognition or resources.
The SNP is committed to supporting businesses large and small, and to the re-industrialisation of Scotland significantly based on alternative sources of renewable energy. The SNP is committed to supporting a strong, properly regulated and controlled financial and banking industry in Scotland. It is committed to supporting tourism and leisure. It is committed to free higher educations, and to fully supporting our world-class educational institution, ancient and modern.
The SNP will retain sterling as its currency until such time as it may seem in the interests of Scotland to change that, and such a change would be put to the Scottish people in a referendum.
The SNP will not join the Euro until it is in the interests of the people of Scotland to do so, and only after a referendum on joining the Euro.
The SNP asserts that the Scottish People are sovereign.
NOTE: In my original version of this, I reflected the anti-NATO policy.
The policy on NATO membership changed on 19th October to one of seeking NATO membership, providing rUK and NATO accept a non-nuclear Scotland and the removal of Trident weapons systems from an independent Scotland.
That’s all I really need to know to determine how I will vote in the referendum. My thanks to the Scottish Government and the SNP for keeping me and every other Scottish voter so fully and frankly informed.
My reason for choosing the Scottish National Party to vote for in May 2007 and in May 2011 is that they are the only major party committed to delivering the independence of Scotland.
(I have heard no coherent case for the preservation of the Union. Such conflicting arguments as have been offered have relied on a combination of vested interest groups, unelected bodies and individuals, nostalgia and emotionalism, scaremongering, indefensible statistics and a staggering lack of belief in and contempt for the Scottish people and their ability to run their own affairs.)
My reasons for wishing to be independent are -
the inability of the Union of 1707 ever to deliver equity and justice to all of the people of Scotland
the fact that the United Kingdom is not, and never has been a true democracy, but a coalition of unelected wealth, power, privilege and special interest groups, notably the military/industrial complex allied to and controlling a compliant political class and legal establishment
the staggering incompetence displayed in recent times (which I define as the last forty years) of all of the three main UK parties when in government, exemplified by the spectacular financial, fiscal, social and foreign policy incompetence displayed by the Labour Government 1997-2010 and currently being displayed by the Tory/LibDem Coalition since 2010.
A core policy reason for my support for the SNP and independence is that it is the only way we can have a nuclear-free Scotland, and only the SNP and Scotland’s independence will deliver that.
It therefore follows that my nuclear objectives cannot be delivered by anything short of independence, and therefore remaining in the UK but with radically increased powers – the devo max or full fiscal autonomy option cannot meet my requirements, nor that of many Scots voters.