The SNP: How to lose voters and offend people

The SNP: How to lose voters and offend people

by Allan Smith
article from Wednesday 12, April, 2017

A CRITICISM many of my SNP colleagues have fired my way during this local election campaign is that in our election literature and in our message, The Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party has been, well; “Pro Union”.

I have mentioned to several of them that the clue’s kind of in the name, however, this appears to be falling on deaf ears.

Despite our absentee First Minister making a right song and dance about her call for another unwanted, divisive and unnecessary “Indyref2”, the prospect of any second referendum appears nowhere in their local election campaign message.

Now I’m not altogether surprised about this, given that it was hardly mentioned during the last Scottish Parliament election campaign either! You recall, the one in which the SNP lost its majority in Holyrood, no matter what the SNP and the Scottish Greens would like to pretend.

The criticism levied at us is of course utter nonsense. In canvassing and leafleting and with every single constituent we speak to we discuss local issues without fail. That’s the whole point of local elections. Once again, the clue’s in the name!

That said, I think the SNP has massively underestimated the hostility it has stoked with Sturgeon’s unnecessary posturing.

In Edinburgh, her proposed second referendum is mentioned by almost everyone I’ve spoken to. There have been some in favour, however, they are to put it mildly in the minority.

Several people who voted Yes in 2014 have stated they strongly oppose another independence referendum now. In truth, not at all what I was expecting.  And as proof of how the SNP has overplayed its hand, people who have never before voted for the Scottish Conservatives, are now committing to do so.

The artificial divisions the single issue SNP has created are now coming back to haunt them.

The days of pointing at a Scottish Conservative and shouting “Tory” having any significant impact do appear to have at long last passed.

That is, unless you’re Frank Ross, the leader of the SNP group on Edinburgh Council and heir-apparent to the role of Leader of the Council.

Mr Ross, a well-established and experienced councillor, was given the opportunity earlier this week to write an article for the Edinburgh Evening News outlining his vision for Edinburgh.

What followed was frankly … odd, not to mention deeply offensive.

Instead of setting out his vision for Edinburgh, Mr Ross chose to attack the very existence of those political parties who dare to put themselves forward against the SNP.

He states “The Scottish Conservative and Unionists, The Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour have one thing in common. They don’t exist.”

He goes on to say that on the doorsteps, Edinburgh constituents should ask representatives from all of the above why they’ve put “misleading” information on their literature.

Most offensively he goes on to question the “Scottishness” of anyone who dares to stand for one of the unionist parties against the bastions of moral superiority (and Scottishness) in the SNP.

While offensive and frankly typical of the stance taken by many within the SNP, Mr Ross’s argument also makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

I am sure I am not the only one who recalls being offered the dubious opportunity of voting for “Alex Salmond for First Minister” in the 2007 Holyrood Election! Perhaps Mr Ross can refer me to where that said party was registered?

He accuses candidates of “not being open and honest” with the electorate because they dared to claim that they are standing for the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Liberal Democrats or Scottish Labour Party

Yes folks, this really where the level of debate now is in Scotland. The potential leader of the council in our nation’s capital questioning the “Scottishness” of his political opponents. As the photo shows, he's not the first...

In his article, Frank Ross was given the opportunity to raise any number of local issues that were of concern to the inhabitants of the city. For Mr Ross’ benefit, here are some that have been raised on the doorstep with me:

  1. The blanket 20mph zone in the city.
  2. Damage caused to vehicles due to speed bumps.
  3. Further house building on greenfield sites in the city.
  4. Infrequent refuse collection.
  5. The state of our local schools.
  6. Council tax hikes.
  7. Empty bus lanes.

He mentions none of the above in his article. Nothing whatsoever about any local issues affecting Edinburgh residents.

Which leads one to question. How well does Mr Ross genuinely know the city he claims to represent?

And if he thinks it acceptable to question the “Scottishness” of anyone who doesn’t vote SNP in May, is he a man of suitable character to lead the council in our nation’s multicultural and bohemian capital?

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