Leading SNP activists call for Scottish Government to adopt ‘Renew’ leftwing platform

New platform draws on policy work of Common Weal pro-independence programme

SOME of the SNP’s leading activists and campaigners have supported a new leftwing platform for the Scottish Government in the aftermath of a General Election which saw the party face pressure from the Labour party led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn.

The platform of six headline policies, drawn up by the Common Weal pro-independence think tank, includes a Scottish national investment bank, a national infrastructure company for a new programme of house building, a publicly owned universal kindergarten system for childcare, far-reaching democratic reforms, sending clear signals on land reform, banning fracking, and reducing the burden on teachers and the replacement of the Council Tax with property and land value taxes.

SNP figures backing the platform include SNP MPs Ronnie Cowan and Tommy Sheppard, MSP and former cabinet member Alex Neil, vice convenor of SNP Youth Rory Steel, and former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars.

SNP branch activists also backed the proposals, including Ian Grant of Edinburgh West SNP, who said: “I am certain that lack of ambition and excitement in the Scottish Government's programme has been one factor in the SNP's relatively poor result this time.

“The campaign itself was lacklustre, and the aims of SNP MPs elected poorly defined; 'standing up for Scotland' is hardly enough.

Read the platform here – Renew: Six policies that can refresh the Scottish Government's domestic agenda

“Returning to the Common Weal ideas, I think most are excellent, in particular the National Investment Bank and re-industrialisation, revitalising our towns, land reform, improving democracy at national and local level.”

Cowan added: “I believe more than ever that we must define the Scotland we want to be part of. If we can share not just a vision but the practical steps to achieve our common goal then it is my view that the citizens of Scotland would rally round it.

“All organisations, political or not, that have a valid input and must be encouraged to engage in the democratic process and their input must be heard, respected and when appropriate acted upon.”

Neil said: “I am delighted that Common Weal is bringing forward these new ideas, which are badly needed to invigorate the debate about the way forward for Scotland.
We cannot rest on our laurels as a government. We must keep driving forward economic and social change in Scotland. These proposals are exciting and imaginative and should be given serious consideration.”

A new poll by Survation has found that 25 per cent of Scottish Labour voters in the General Election were pro-independence. Polling by Lord ashcroft has found that twice as many SNP voters switched from SNP to Labour as switched from SNP to Tory.

The UK's leading poll expert, Professor John Curtice, told CommonSpace that the appeal of Corbynism to leftwing independence supporters was a factor in the SNP's loss of 21 seats on 8 June. Following the election, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would "reflect carefully" on the results of the election.

Picture courtesy of Jonathan Riddell

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Comments

Peter Dow's picture

Peter Dow

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:26

A new leftwing platform intended for implementation AFTER the next Holyrood /UK elections will NOT counter party pressure from either Labour or Conservatives in time to win that election handsomely nor to win an independence referendum.

Proposing new policies for the next elections would be as much use now for the SNP in seeing off the unionist challenge as re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic was.

In particular, ICE BERG Ruth Davidson looms and the SNP must IMMEDIATELY change course to avoid Tory lies that can sink the good ship SNP.

The SNP Government must both
* do "the day-job" better and
* blame the Tories for the lack of money being spent now on government and council investment and services

DOING THE DAY JOB BETTER

A good new chair of the Scottish Police Authority should aim to transform Police Scotland from a failing, heavy-handed force whose badly-led officers are obstructing patriotic and productive Scots in our duties.

In future, Police Scotland must insist that its officers have
* Strong community and customer focus
* Problem solving skills;
* Respect and understanding of equality and diversity

Bad police officers who have arrested and made political prisoners of republicans for harmless political tweets are NOT focusing on community needs, are CAUSING problems NOT "solving" problems and they DON'T respect or understand that republicans deserve to have our political views respected and understood, no less than the well known views of royalists.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley is one such bad police officer so he should be sacked and that is what I would do if appointed as Chair of the Scottish Police Authority.

BLAMING THE TORIES FOR THE LACK OF GOVERNMENT MONEY

A "Scottish National Investment Bank" set up today would be useless without being capitalised with £ billions a year of NEW government money.

Those additional £ billions a year are not available now because foolishly the SNP Government has agreed to a Fiscal Framework Agreement in Febuary 2016 which prevents the borrowing of that new money from the central bank, the Bank of England, with permission of the UK Treasury.

So long as that Fiscal Framework Agreement remains agreed then it is not logical to blame ONLY the Tories for the lack of additional borrowing powers.

So to blame the Tories ALONE for the limited fiscal framework the SNP Scottish Government must first formally DISAGREE and REPUDIATE that fiscal framework agreement.

Only then will the SNP be able coherently to blame the Tories for banning the Scottish government from borrowing £ billions a year more to spend on doing "the day job" better.

Radish

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:18

Totally agree with what is being said here. The SNP must

(a) Tack leftward.
(b) Start constructing the kind of Scotland people want now. Start building it now.

If they don't start doing these things they risk losing it all.

I am particularly in favour of increasing citizen participation in democracy - so referendums should become a commonplace in Scotland. For example, there is the issue of the choice of having a dignified death for people with long-term progressive and debilitating medical conditions (dementia for example - obviously before it becomes so severe that a rational decision can't be made by the individual concerned) and for people diagnosed with a terminal illness. The last vote on this kind of thing was lost in Holyrood but that vote went against the high degree of support for this in the wider public. That would be an excellent issue to have a referendum over. Really it is a travesty that this kind of issue is left sitting in the hands of politicians who vote against what the public want, often at the behest of religious organisations who would rather see people suffer than do anything that permits releasing them from their pain.

For more details of this subject see:

https://www.mydeath-mydecision.org.uk
https://www.dignityindying.org.uk
http://www.lifedeathchoice.org.uk (Now really only of historical interest.)

MauriceBishop

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 14:11

@Radish
"so referendums should become a commonplace in Scotland"
Each one to be re-run until it returns the "right" answer, presumably?

qukza

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 14:40

"in the aftermath of a General Election which saw the party face pressure from the Labour party led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn"

Based on voting numbers this just isn't true. The numbers of people voting Labour in 2017 is barely changed since 2015. There's a slight increase of about 10k. LibDems are down 40k. SNP is down more than 450k. Tories are up more than 320k. It looks like a lot of SNP voters stayed home and a lot of Tory voters voted.

Swinging left will solidify Tory votes in the rural areas of southern Scotland and northeast. The question is do the SNP want to become a regional party of the urban central belt (like the Tories are a regional party of SE England) or a national party? One of the reasons independence won't happen is that many people outside the central belt are deeply suspicious that their interests wouldn't be any better served in an independent Scotland because they'd be just swamping one form of regional domination for another. This issue needs to be addressed.

Brexit offers a great opportunity to reach out to rural communities because Brexit is likely to have a devastating impact on the economies of such communities. For independence you need to get lefty Glaswegians and small 'c' conservative voters in rural areas on the same page or at least seeing they have common cause.

UCSvet

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 18:25

I couldnt agree more. The SNP stands at the edge of a precipice. May has already shown her unpredictability and in her weakened state could be bounced into another election at anytime although my feeling is that the LibDems are lacing up their boots to come back on the park to " save the nation A LibDem vow not to enter another coalition will be about as reliable as their vow not to raise tuition fees.

However an election where Corbyn is tipped for number ten with a progressive manifesto he could implement might be prove irresponsible to the Scottish electorate who will have realised by now that even if they returned all 59 Scottish seats for the SNP they would be powerless to implement anything. Nicola's preoccupation with promoting a cross party Brexit negotiating team could see the SNP part of a united national front which would commit the party to the outcome of negotiations and theyre not good at negotiations Judging by how well they handled the Smith commision negotiations.
Taking Indyref2 of the table must not be an option. Why is she she scared of it anyway. The Scottish government can determine the timing of it
Either way the momentum needs to be stepped up. If they ain't gonna piss they should get off the pot.

peterabell

Sun, 06/18/2017 - 15:18

There are procedures for formulating or amending party policy. "Leading SNP activists" should be aware of this.

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