A Separatist's Work is Never Done

We explain why the SNP would never disband – even if it got separation – and why politics would shift to a more virulent Scotland v England arena.

"The SNP would disband if Scotland was independent"

Sometimes we hear it said that if Scotland voted for separation then the function of the SNP would be complete. It would disband because "it's job would be done". It would leave the world of politics to the other parties to get on with the serious business of actually running the country, instead of causing everyone perpetually to obsess about the nation's identity.

Scotland would, they say, become "like every other country". It would no longer have a significant nationalist party because there would be no need for it.

Politics would return to normal. Everyone who currently votes for the SNP will "revert" to their true political allegiances, and will all start voting for Labour, the Tories, and the Lib Dems again...and everyone would live happily ever after!

We hear this from the SNP who try to trick some pro-UK people into thinking that there is "nothing to fear" from separation. "Don't worry", they say, "the SNP would disband and you wouldn't see their likes again."

No, that is not correct.

In the event of separation, the SNP would continue to be with us, as strong and loud as ever, because of several practical reasons, and political facts-of-life.

1. The SNP is a Multi-Million-Pound Machine

It offers well-paid political careers and public status to hundreds of people. It provides a political and social interest to thousands. The idea that all these people will just throw this away at the moment of the SNP's greatest triumph, is as realistic as imagining that a successful company with a successful brand will one day decide to shut up shop because it reached its sales target.

On the contrary, there is likely to be an influx of people wanting to join the SNP and get a piece of the money and action!

2. The SNP would become 'the True Church' of Scottish Politics

Its position at the top of the political tree would be almost unassailable. The SNP would claim to be "the true political embodiment of the will of the people of Scotland". And who would have the nerve to disagree?

Every political party and person would be judged and measured against them. Everyone would be judged by the extent to which they went along with the new dispensation.

All the mainstream political parties would quickly need to "get with the programme" if they were to be taken seriously, and not shunned as "anti-Scottish" outcasts.

That is how revolutions work!

Everyone has to agree to the revolution, and if they don't then they need to shut up and keep their head down, or suffer the consequences.

"If you don't like it here, then move to England" would become a demand, no longer a crass off-hand comment.

The mainstream parties would try to out-do each other on the Scottish nationalist scale. But that would be a fruitless task because the Scottish National Party would be unassailable.

3. The SNP would become the Guardian of the Revolution

In its status as 'the True Church', the SNP would be vigilant for any anti-revolutionary heresy. It would be quick to find it and attempt to punish it. In that role alone, its political continuation would be essential to the cause.

Any party advocating "another referendum" would be considered anti-revolutionary trouble-makers.

4. The SNP will Never be Satisfied

Imagine Scotland under the SNP trying to negotiate the "divorce settlement" with what remained of the "UK".

No argument with the remains of the "UK" would ever be concluded to its satisfaction. Every issue would offer endless political capital which would be mercilessly exploited for the SNP's benefit.

Which brings us to the fifth and most important political fact-of-life.

5. Independence Won't Make England Go Away!

It was the Duke of Wellington (Prime Minister from 1828-34) who said that "the business of war, and indeed life, is guessing what is on the other side of the hill."

Most politicians don't do this. They are short-termists.

Even when they don't have to "guess". Even when the consequences of an action, several weeks, months or years down the line can – with a little bit of thought – be fairly reasonably predicted, they still don't bother to work it out.

In this regard, many people on both sides of the Union v Separation debate are starry-eyed. They don't think things through.

For example, central to Scottish nationalist ideology is that England – due to its sheer size in the context of the British Isles – is too politically powerful and dominates Scotland as a consequence of "its majority" in the British Parliament. (Let us put aside for the moment the fact that it is not nations which dominate the British Parliament but political parties and political tendencies.)

The SNP claims that an "independent Scotland" would somehow be able to get away from such "English" domination.

But how, exactly?

Are we going to cut a big ditch from Berwick upon Tweed to the Solway, and row off into the North Atlantic?

Of course not. "England" is always going to be right where it is at the moment. It is going to be as politically powerful as ever, and likely even more so.

Yet, the SNP persist in telling us that an independent Scotland means that Scotland will now live in peace with England happily ever after?

If they are not satisfied with the relationship at present, how can they imagine that it is going to be different in the future? Why do they imagine things will suddenly be rosy?

The answer is because they do not know why the Union came together in the first place.