SNP aim to reach 2 million Scots in ‘national survey’ on independence

Campaign push launched to listen to changed views since 2014 referendum

THE SNP’s 124,000 members will be asked to lead a 3-month community based ‘national conversation’ about Scotland’s future.

The ‘National Survey’ will be sent to the party’s members across the country, with hopes that it will reach over two million Scottish voters by St Andrew’s day this year. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the “listening exercise” to the party’s parliamentarians in Stirling today [Friday 2 September], claiming that the re-election of the Tory government, Brexit, and Labour infighting has transformed the political landscape since 2014.

Party activists will be challenged to speak to five people a month for three months, to campaign in the community, while SNP parliamentarians will be encouraged to hold town hall meetings. 

The survey and activist packs are also available online.

The announcement represents a bid to reinvigorated the grassroots activism of the Yes Scotland campaign, which saw hundreds of local groups set up across the country to campaign for independence. The survey, however, is a purely SNP party venture.

Nicola Sturgeon: “seismic changes” threaten Scotland’s economy and democracy

Sturgeon said: “The UK that Scotland vote to stay part of in 2014 has changed — and so too have the arguments. That’s why I believe it is right that our party does now lead a new debate on independence. 

“We must not assume that people's views — yes or no — are the same today as they were in 2014. Instead we must engage the arguments with a fresh eye and an open mind. And before we start talking we must listen.

“So today, we are launching the biggest listening exercise in our party's history. We want to understand in detail how people feel now about Europe, Brexit and independence. We want to know the concerns that people have and the questions they want answered. We want to build, if we can, a consensus on the way ahead.”

The listening campaign pushes any decision on a second independence referendum beyond the SNP’s October conference. 

The survey also provides an outlet for pro-independence campaigning and strategy while the Tory government attempts to find an agreed position on exiting the EU.

The Scottish Government’s analysis of economic data suggests that Brexit could hit Scotland’s economy by between £1.7bn and £11.2bn a year - depending on how the UK exits the EU. 

A ‘hard Brexit’ (outside the EU single market) may provide the economic shock and the political mandate for the Scottish Government to press ahead with a second referendum. However, the decision on whether the Tories will negotiate to leave the single market is not expected until the first months of 2017 at the earliest. The Article 50 process of leaving the EU is then expected to take two years, although the administrative implications of EU exit will last far longer.

Picture courtesy of The National Survey

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