This was prompted (once again) by James Kelly’s scotgoespop blog.
He argues, and — coming from such a factional source — understandably: it’s important to have an overall SNP majority, and not just a pro-independence majority.
Except I remembered, and have managed to dig out, a piece by John McDermott for the Financial Times: What are the new SNP candidates like?
In “The British General Election of 2010”, edited by Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley, the academic Byron Criddle analysed the primary occupations of MPs before they entered parliament. Mr Criddle estimated that a quarter of MPs from the three biggest parties worked in “business”, a field including finance workers, company executives and management consultants. Viewed this way, about one-quarter of the SNP cohort has a business background, a higher share than the 2010 Liberal Democrat (19 per cent) and Labour MPs (8 per cent), but a smaller fraction than for the Conservatives (41 per cent).
Those SNP candidates are now, of course, all but two of Scotland’s entire Westminster cohort.
When “anonymous” (there are several of them) comments Scottish independence is all about socialism, I can only respond: would that it were so.
The SNP describes itself as a “left of centre, social democratic and progressive party”. I cannot see “socialist” or “socialism” featuring as a #SNP self-description. Alex Salmond’s “social democratic” credentials were honed in the Scottish Office’s Ag&Fish section, and then a long stint at RBS. Nicola Sturgeon’s brief brush (all of about four years) with time as a trainee and then as a solicitor seems to be a mere bread-butterer while she prepared for a career of professional politics.
There were many things not-quite-proper about Scottish Labour (and things still to be corrected), but it did mean that many of its elected representatives came from “working-class” backgrounds, and had experience of grime and grease under the finger-nails.
My theses here:
- It’s A-OK for the SNP to brag that “46 per cent [of the 2016 Holyrood nominees] are female”. That doesn’t necessarily suggest a balanced slate.
- The 2015 SNP MPs elected to Westminster clearly lacked proper “due diligence” in selection. Two already have gang aglay. A third experienced a near-miss. A couple more have had close squeaks. Despite a rigorous insistence on zipped mouths, too many dodgy utterances still escape.
- Scotland may not be quite the “one-party state” some critics claim, but the SNP is far too uniform a tendency to be healthy.