Notes from the Armadillo

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By Lauren Mitchison

I’m still feeling inspired and raw with emotion after the RIC conference.

Inspired if a bit hazy on detail.

Before Saturday I thought Podemos was a toilet disinfectant and Syriza was a Ottolenghi baking ingredient. But that’s okay – I get the sense of direction and a unity of purpose. In fact the overwhelming difference in the new Scottish left is that, despite the reputation of endless splitting the new movement seems to be able to cope with and even embrace real difference and diversity.

That’s a genuine new development and possibly the result of the fact that this movement is a unity between the post-ideological youth and the tired-of-ideology Old Guard. Mutual respect makes that a potent combination.

Of the bits I got to, here’s what was memorable.

In the Mass Forum Robin McAlpine was a hugely inspirational figure, alongside the colossus that is Lesley Riddoch. The man beside me said “she’s fully earthed”. He wasn’t being New Agey – he was commenting on the fact that this movement is grounded, rooted in actual campaign and community experience. Yes it has theory it can draw on but in a way that is allied to and connected with something called ‘the real world’.

In this vein James Meadway and the Living Rent Campaign were great. Paul Holleran from the NUJ brought some detail and insight to the media debates which are too often distorted as if they are about ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. Hillary Wainwright brought twenty years of print publishing experience from England, while Angela Haggerty looks like a safe bet to make the Common Space a bright place. From Wales Angharad Tomos was deeply moving with the notion that “in order for the Welsh language to survive everything must change” and a lucid picture of how capitalism can’t cope with cultural diversity instead pushing relentlessly for a commodified monoculture. Mike Small’s notion of a ‘Fifth Estate’ of wired journalists seemed to have a lot more clout to it than the other media models I’ve heard recently, and his idea of the choice between ‘active Scottish citizens rather than passive British subjects’ has stuck with me. Adam Ramsay brought the Green message to life and the opportunity for pan-UK ‘creative political disruption’ suddenly seems like a true prospect in a way it never did before.

The standout for me though was Bernadette McAliskey who gave a stark warning against sending anyone to Westminster who didn’t have a true sense of the potential corrupting influences of ‘British democracy’ in them.

Her heartfelt appeal against the possibilities for co-optation by the Westminster Club was alongside a salute to the Yes movement for ‘reclaiming the notion of self-determination’ and said it was a movement which had scared Sinn Fein out of its wits with its model of transparency, openness and pluralism.

She said “A nation without a language is a nation without a soul. You’ve salvaged your soul but you need to remember you have a language too”.

Wise words in a sea of experience-based, hard-won political wisdom.

If the likes of McAliskey and Tariq Ali were political ballast, there was enough airy idealism to float the auditorium, and that’s no bad thing.  If Cat Boyd and Alan Bissett are in danger of becoming the Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark of the new Clydesiders, there are enough cynics, sceptics and dark realists about to offset any overdose of naiveté.

The event was a tremendous muddle of slick organisation and quasi Situationist dreaming. It was breathtaking, brilliant and a springboard to relaunch the whole Yes movement. There’s no doubt that the energy generated could re-ignite the movement. The problem, and it does remain a problem, is how it relates to the Boyzone event next door.

Three questions remain (too) hazy for me:

What is the SNP’s plan for re-entering Westminster? What strategy do they have beyond ‘holding feet to the fire’ (which, in this weather sounds quite appealing).

What is the Scottish Green Party (the only political force capable of remotely splitting any vote) going to do at the General Election?

What prospects are there for the Scottish Left Project about which so much of the weekend was based on, but we heard so little from?

I could only see and hear glimpses on Saturday but these were the questions I left with.



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35 replies

  1. Re your last 3 questions I’m guessing that at the moment there may not be answers. People may need to rake stock (Nicola only in post a few days) . Let’s wait and see before making judgements !

  2. The point is that these people, good and well-intentioned as they are, represent mainly the far left and will therefore be unlikely to ever be in a position of power.

    • Except, none of it is far left. None of it is even especially radical. It’s just left of centre social democracy – something like the post-war era. Key/vital industries should be accountable to the state, welfare and benefits should be adequate for all, war it is to be avoided and peace to welcomed. Understanding and reducing our impact on the environment is new, and ditching Trident ‘new’ compared to a bygone era like the 1950s… but not a lot else. It is a measure of how far to the right the UK has slipped in the last 35 years that any of this even seems radical.

    • Gonzola 1 may be quite wrong regarding his assessment of the ‘far left’ capabilites ever gaining positions of power. Both Podemos and Syriza have received positive comments from yesterday’s Comment page of the FT. Headlined, ‘The The Radical Left is right about Europe’s debt’, Wolfgang Munchau suggests Eurozone centre -right and centre-left governments are allowing. . . ‘Europe to drift into the economic equivalent of a nuclear winter. It is a particular tragedy that parties of the hard left are the only ones that support sensible policies such as debt restructuring.'( Munchau, FT 24/11/14) This is a clear warning to Europe’s established parties that there is a voter demand for far-left solutions to the present neoliberal agenda. If he can see. . .’ a big opening for the likes of Podemos and Syriza’… then why not RIC in Scotland?

    • Myshelle Haywood said something which summed up the whole event for me: “when did thinking we should be nice to each other become radical?”

      I see an upswelling of simple humanity not extreme ideology. The failure of UK democracy has created gross inequality and a fairly dysfunctional society where, for example, the unemployed and sick are deliberately being starved by their own government. We can do better. We can look after our people better than this.

  3. Podemos means ‘we can’ and is usually followed by the verb in the infinitive. So podemos ganar means we can win. And podemos vencer means we can overcome. Podemos ayudar means we can help and podemos mejorar means we can improve.
    (you’d never know I was a Spanish teacher)

    • A question @gonzalo1. How is it the far right can get in to power but everyone believes the far left can not? Why is a right wing utopia more achievable than a left wing utopia?
      Why not decide which society you would like to live in and work towards it little by little rather than wait for the one you think you will be given because, just like Vladimir and Estragon, you could be waiting a while.

      RIC2014 showed me there is at least another 2,999 naive idealist like myself. It felt good

      • Hi MacBee, Yes and the other strongest thing that came out of RIC for me was something Myshelle and many other speakers mentioned (and which Lesley Riddoch returns to in her piece in the National today), which is that we aren’t asking for anything radical. What we are asking for is what most people in this country (whether Scotland or the UK) are asking for, which is that we take care of others rather than oppress them, that we’re internationalist rather than terrrorist-generating, that we have a planet we can live on not one that we make wipe us out.

        gonzalo1, These aren’t ‘far left’, these are mainstream totally sensible positions. The extraordinary thing about Britain, its politicians and its press is that it manages to make seem extreme policies which the majority in ALL main UK parties believe are right: e.g. bringing the rail companies and energy companies into public ownership, not entering into the Iraq War in the first place, etc. And then you are persuaded these are ‘far left’ positions . . . maybe think about how they have managed to fool you that that’s the case when it isn’t.

  4. So glad that you found the conference inspirational. I also imagine that the “Boyzone” event achieved a similar response from the proles next door.
    There seems to be a degree of superiority creeping into the debate from sections of the left, which should be nipped in the bud. We have to do this together.

  5. The two meetings could have swapped speakers.
    Nicola could have done the RIC event and Bernadette the Hydro.
    Certainly would have added to the day.

  6. I was at the so called “Boyzone event next door”. I am a new member of the SNP and like many new members I joined wanting many of the same things as the people attending the RIC Conference.
    So let’s not get too judgemental and carried away with our do goodness. SADLY due to the 55% no vote the power still lies with Westminster. Without SNP to ” hold their feet to the fire” we will get nothing.
    With no power it will be very difficult to build a better Scotland.
    This was the second article about the RIC which I have read which had a go at the SNP, so let’s remember a better future for Scotland holds us in common and give Nicola a chance.

    • Amen to that! Give Nicola a chance. She’s already more to the left than Alex Salmond and any party in Government has perforce to cater to the needs – soothe the anxieties – of a whole country. Unless anyone is preaching violent revolution, and I think nobody here is, you have to work within the system. Westminster is a numbers game. Send the numbers down – in quantity! That means cooperating with the impressive structure SNP has built, even if they seem a bit overbearing at times. Scotland will win if we ally.

      (I do agree though, she missed a chance… if she’d had the courage to set up a video link between the two meets, even if just for ten minutes where she and, say, McAlpine or Riddoch could have exchanged a few well chosen words of friendship to the audiences in each venue, imagine the positive result! )

  7. I agree with Jane, don,t let us forget the tremendous feeling of unity we had before and after the referendum with each party and organisation having a common goal. Our next big effort is to rid Scotland of all red and blue tories and replace them with pro independence delegates. To do this we must have consultations between all interested parties and work out a strategy to get as many seats as possible in May next year. We must put individual interests to one side and select candidates on merit and not the colour of their rosette. If we can get a majority of Scottish mp,s and hold bargaining power. Then come 2016 all parties can put forward their preferred candidates for the Scottish parliament. Remember “united we stand”.

    • Let us all remain with our focus firmly fixed until Westminster rule is history and we can meet the future challenges on our own terms.

      As a certain gentleman once said ‘…there will be no bevvying, … there will be no swearing …’ – now let us substitute – ‘… there will be no in-fighting in the YES Alliance…’

  8. Great article Lauren! I don’t see anything in it that is “having a go at the SNP” Jane, apart from the ‘Boyzone’ reference which I take as a tongue in cheek reference to the venue that is used to hosting stars, its a reference all the media has been using and there were surely joking references to that inside the event too, no?!

    Lauren you end with 3 questions, which I’ll respond with how I understand it:

    1. What is the SNP’s plan for re-entering Westminster? What strategy do they have beyond ‘holding feet to the fire’ (which, in this weather sounds quite appealing).

    The SNP are (currently) riding high in the polls and so their leadership have withdrawn their earlier talk of working with other pro-independence parties at the 2015 Westminster Election, and are instead inviting prominent pro-Indy non-SNP candidates to come forward and stand under the SNP banner (if constituencies choose, and if centrally approved). Whether we like it or not, the SNP leadership think they can beat Labour across the country without needing any cooperation with other pro-Indy parties.

    This is very very short-term thinking and I really hope they change their minds on this one so that they continue to display the open-minded collaborative approach they managed to get to in the IndyRef process, an approach which may have a large part to play in why so many have joined the SNP (i.e. they have seemed to be more one key part of a movement with a purpose, and less a single party with a calculator).

    2. What is the Scottish Green Party (the only political force capable of remotely splitting any vote) going to do at the General Election?

    The SGP were seeking a loose alliance where the SNP would not stand in a small bunch of constituencies where SGP would stand (and the SSP were seeking the same, seeking 1 or 2 seats where they would stand), and in return SGP would not stand in the vast majority of seats. This would allow activists who felt so inclined to get out and canvass for each others candidates, would bring in non-party activists, and would allow voters to know that they were voting for people and a purpose more than politicians and parties.

    However, in response to the SNP’s move (see 1 above) the SGP are likely to stand wherever they choose, since the Greens purpose is not self-determination for the sake of it, but self-determination to make the changes we need in order as a species to survive. (All the politics going on now will seem utterly irrelevant in a few decades time if our kids are struggling to survive in a planet where climate chaos has really taken hold).

    3. What prospects are there for the Scottish Left Project about which so much of the weekend was based on, but we heard so little from?

    I believe they are thinking forwards to the 2016 Scottish Election, and would be more likely to actively support pro-Indy candidates if there is an informal or foemal alliance at the 2015 WE.

    Anything I say here may be mistaken, be very glad to hear others readings of the situation.

    One thing is clear: we are living in times
    (1) where there is real people power, we are active and we are refusing to be passive, and times
    (2) where political configurations change in a matter of days and weeks not years and decades,

    so this may all shake out just fine, assuming we all get engaged and lobby our parties to make sure it does!

    • If the Greens have Independence in their manifesto, then i might vote for them. I don’t think they do?

    • Excellent summary of the postiion, Justin.

      I too was greatly disappointed by the SNP’s withdrawal from cross-party Yes negotiations, and not a little disturbed by the subsequent fig-leaf of “allowing others to stand under the SNP banner”. This apparent largesse seems more cynical manoeuvre, the sub-text being that others must subsume their political identity to the SNP.

      That kind of party-centric strategising may appeal to the SNP leadership in the short-term, but suggests they haven’t learned key lessons from the Yes Movement, nor does it augur well for future campaigns. The Yes Movement blossomed as popular campaign comprising many, many diverse voices from every section of the community. Had Patrick Harvie, Carolyn Leckie and a few other key people allowed themselves to be constrained by the top-down SNP-run ‘Yes’ office we would have seen a far more centralised campaign, monotone and doctrinaire, and the “45” would likely have been tmore of a “31 or 32”.

      Since 19th September we’ve seen staggering growth in SNP membership, but it’s less widely appreciated that both Greens and the SSP have seen commensurate rises in their numbers (SNP 25,000 to 92,000; Greens 1,800 to 7,500; SSP 1,000 to nearly 3,000). As a Green I’ve spoken with SNP members old and new, many of whom I now count as good friends through our close work on the Yes campaign and have been struck by several themes that emerge from these conversations:
      – Many of the new recruits say they “only joined the SNP till independence is won”. I’m really a Green, they say (or Socialist or a Liberal or whatever) but if we all just keep working together we can oust Labour and create conditions for another tilt at independence as soon as possible.
      – Few of the new members seem aware of SNP policies beyond independence or maximum devolution (and possibly childcare). Certainly their leadership’s equivocation on issues like TTIP and especially fracking is not widely recognised; Westminster parties take all the heat on those subjects while SNP positions remain far from clear and its opposition far from vocal.
      – Even stalwart SNP’ers have qualms about the strong centralising instincts of the Scottish Government. Many were glad to see the back of Kenny Macaskill after the debacle over arming the police, but there remain misunderstandings and worries about the reluctance of ‘The Party’ (as it is referred to these days) to devolve power down from Holyrood. This may be down to past experience of Labour domination on the ground but whatever the cause, now it is time to transcend that trait.

      The next year or so will decide whether the Labour Party remains a vehicle for ambitious politicians or worthwhile receptacle for donations, deals and backhanders from wealthy businessmen. If, as we all hope, Labour collapses into its own contradictions, then the rapacious and ruthless will seek a home in the new power in Scotland. The People’s Party once believed itself synonymyous with socialism until the cause became the Party not the People, whilst almost absolute power in Scotland only corrupted it almost absolutely. I fear an odd, high-pitched ubris is drawing some in the SNP towards a similarly dangerous belief of “what is good for the party is good for Scotland”. Comments below articles on Bella, Wings and Newsnet ring with such attitudes, including this very thread.

      Had the SNP accommodated Greens & SSP candidates standing in, say, half a dozen seats across Scotland it would have created a golden opportunity to build the magnificent grassroots Yes campaign into a cross-party, broad-based popular movement for Scottish Independence. Where Scotland stands I am concerned that if the SNP fail to take as many seats as predicted next May then the blame will be laid at the door of “splitters” like the Greens and SSP who had the temerity to run our own candidates.

    • Surely the Greens have enough political wisdom to know that the vast majority of Scottish voters wont vote for them simply because they will vote strategically for Independence. You can have all the best,fairest leftist inclusive policies in the world – but they are no good as a minority party without widespread appeal, and in this GE – a single focus for those ordinarily non politically engaged voters who wanted independence.

      You know – the 1.5 million or so who didn’t attend the armadillo or the hydro.

      Unlike the other pro independent smaller parties – independence isn’t a side issue for the SNP – it is their main game – it has been their driving force for 80 years.

      For the foreseeable future the rise in democracy that will send folks to the polls in Scotland has been about Independence – or not.

      This period is a time when people with LEND their wee bit power – not throw it away on ideology or intellectualising the opportunities for political parties.

      Fielding a minority party as the only pro independent option is naive and stupid. Likely to annoy voters who want their vote to counted in bulk to represents what they actually want – Independence. One that can just possibly take on the Westminster juggernaut.

      It is politically cynical and ‘old hat’ to to say that the SNP think that they have the numbers to beat Labour and that is the core of their desire to invite others to stand under their banner – why they just want to hog the power. Their desire is the same as it’s always been – for Independence.

      I think they have been reminded in the last few months. It isn’t about them. They repeat that over and over.

      They know their sudden explosive rise in popularity is not about Alex Salmond, or Nicola Sturgeon – it is about harnessing people power long enough to make all parties National parties.

      I’ve been listening carefully to Nicola Sturgeon’s language over the last month or so. It is inclusive, respectful, consensus seeking, socially just and green. And she has said just that – lend us your sovereign power – for long enough to achieve a result in Scotland’s best interest at Westminster.

      If the minor parties can’t lay down their political aspirations for that common goal – lend their support then they might end up with a few thousand more members – but any real chance for Independence will be lost to Scotland.

      Nicola Sturgeon knows that the SNP doesn’t have the answers to the next shot at Independence – that is in the hands of voters. It could be in two years – or another two hundred ENTIRELY depending on the people’s ability to stand as one.

      The minor parties would do well to look realistically at that with their full focus on what it is that the people want.

      • So, Andrea, it could be two or two hundred years ENTIRELY depending on the people’s ability to stand as one. Is that what the SNP are doing, standing as one – or are they focused more on their own narrow party advantage? Wouldn’t “standing as one” have been better achieved through a cross-party, inclusive electoral alliance?

        As was stated above, there is an emergent belief that what is good for the SNP is good for Scotland. As was also explained above, that is a dangerous and pernicious idea and very similar to the kind of malaise that has brought the Labour Party to its present pathetic pass.

        Independence for independence sake is not enough to hold on to the 1.5 million voters you mention, and certainly not anywhere near sufficient to win over people from the 2 million who voted No. If independence is about a more pluralistic, more democratic, more accountable political system then great. Many of the 2 million may be persuaded by that, but if you think it can EVER be achieved by one single monolithic party then all I can say is you are fooling yourself.

        Of course, the SNP (might) say once independence is achieved then people won’t be asked to “lend us your vote” anymore. Somehow I doubt that would be the election slogan. Nicola Sturgeon may even believe what she’s saying but seven years in government and the huge surge to the present numerical superiority means the SNP is already a very different beast.

        Don’t believe your party is above being corrupted, that was the mistake Socialists used to make. Fat-cat donors are watching the tectonics shift away from Labour’s old guard and they’re positioning themselves to worm their way into your party to back the most biddable and personally ambitious candidates, the ones most willing to dance to their tune and have others follow. That’s how it works.

        The present hubris may see the SNP take great electoral success in 2015 and maybe even 2016 – but it won’t win us independence.

  9. She said “A nation without a language is a nation without a soul. You’ve salvaged your soul but you need to remember you have a language too”.

    I hope the language of our nation is the language of social justice.
    It is a language which is easy to learn and to live.

  10. You are aware that the SNP is now the only party that can save the union?

    Because I think it is a fair assumption that neither a Tory nor a Labour majority government will be able to deliver on the Vow, even if they wish to. The reason is of course their English Nationalists backbenchers who do not understand simply arithmetic (i.e. who pays a bigger share than it gets out) in the case of the Tories and the dinosaurs in Labour’s case. They do may achieve something, but it will not be seen as what was promised by the Scottish electorate.

    But if there is a minority government then the SNP (plus friends if they adopt other candidates) may be able to ‘hold their feet to the fire’, and achieve a devo-super-plus/federalism/autonomy outcome as was promised by the Vowers. And then what for the independence movement?

    • ‘And then what for the independence movement ?’ – Well, the job won’t be finished even if we get some form of Devo Max. If/when we do get federalism/Devo Max, the Scottish nation will have to work through getting and using these new powers – that will be a ton of work and will take time. This period will get the no voters used to the idea, and they will see that near independence is not as frightening they thought. After that it’s just a wee hop to full independence bringing along all of those who previously voted no with us.

    • I think the Tories, UKIP and the rest understand the arithmetic fine well, Christian, it simply suits their purposes to propagate the canard.

      How are you doing, by the way? Still living in Wales? Hope you’re well!

    • it gives those middle of the road no voters – the ones who sought answers to the concerns about scotland’s ability to manage it’s own affairs an opportunity to see exactly how competent a devolved Scottish government can be.

      Folk are not stupid. They might all want to vote with their heart – but voted with their doubts as a deciding principle, to maintain the status quo. The rise of the SNP, and the reigniting of hope of Independence came alongside the growth of competence in Holyrood in comparison to Westminster.

      it will increase the awareness of undemocratic Westminster really is…and how ludicrous it is to stay.

      • I guess that while my non-independence scenario does not require any positive action by the unionist parties, it does assume they keep the discipline they showed in the last 10 days of the campaign and do not revert to the sheer stupidity (in terms of political tactics and strategy) they have so often shown.

        And which Murphy seems to have just shown again on the subject of income tax. I mean, there are *several* stable devo-max/federalism solutions on this, e.g. like the US states, like the German Länder, like Catalonia, like the Basque Country – all different and all working reasonably well. And yet it is completely unclear what he means while it is completely clear they haven’t thought this through. And how could I forget Cameron raising EVEL on that Friday morning?

        So I would like to amend my scenario: There is a possible way where the unionist can get the nationalists to deliver a sensible devo-max settlement which I do believe wound severaly undermine independence movement and throw it back by decades. But I think we can have faith in the unionists that they will manage to bungle up again…

  11. Lauren did write a good article. The 3rd conference for the RIC has obviously been a great success.I tweeted Alan Bissett on Saturday to say how impresssed I was with the “Peoples Vow”.
    A link between the two meetings would have been nice to build unity.
    However it is worth noting that the SNP meeting was not a conference. It was a celebration of how we have moved on from the tragedy of the no vote and continue to be politically engaged and hungry for change.
    Yes it was also in part an SNP recruitment drive.
    It was an introduction to the new FM, Deputy Leader, and a chance to thank Alex Salmond for his great efforts for Scotland.
    It was good to party with big stupid foam fingers because I cried for at least a fortnight following the referendum result.
    SNP have a huge task ahead, they have promised to listen to their new members, so let us Yessers stick together and save the boyzone jokes for the MSM.
    I for one am not a boyzone fan but I am going to see Slash at the Hydro 4th December so Rock On Lauren, let’s work towards Paradise City.

  12. I think if a new Scottish left political party emerges to challenge the SNP- which needs to happen- it will emerge out of the Scottish Left Project rather than RIC.

    Cat Boyd, Jonathon Shafi and James Foley of RIC are involved as well as Neil Davidson. Davidson was a leading Scottish Socialist Worker Party Member but I am not sure if he signed up to RIC after leaving the SWP. Here is an interesting quote from a lengthy article by Neil on the Scottish Left Project website

    “Yes campaigners saw establishing a Scottish state, not as an eternal goal to be pursued in all circumstances, but as one which offered better opportunities for equality and social justice in our current condition of neoliberal austerity–in other words as a way of conducting the class struggle, not denying its existence.”

    Full article here http://thepeopledemand.org/?p=325

  13. Cat, Jonathan and James did a great service to the YES cause BUT let us be clear they are all leading members of the International Socialist Group one of the far too many groups, parties, tendencies, programmes, projects, movements in Scotland (plus their social- media organs) all dancing on the pin of the anti-capitalist left.
    So do we need another one-The Scottish Left Project? Division, fracturing and antagonism has plagued the progressive cause.
    What RIC was able to do quite brilliantly was to bring heal much of that hate (save for the left-NO campaign around the Star and the Red Book.)
    If RiC moves into the Party business then it will be ‘deja vu all over again’; smashing the unity they have worked so hard to create and back into the internecine bitterness of ‘ our line is the grail!”
    Colin Fox and the SSP are serving a class -focussed political purpose. What ideological splitting of hairs is there between The Scottish Left Project and the SSP?

  14. On the last question it would be good to see an article on how the SLProject sees itself in relation to the existing left parties & independent activists.

    What are the real differences between the SSP & ISG ? is perhaps more the issue than difference between SSP & Scottish Left Project- maybe it is close to the same question in both cases.

    If RIC is to remain not about electoral politics & not necessarily socialist, is Left Project to be an alliance of different socialist parties’ activists (with exclusions of some left parties perhaps, i.e. Solidarity & SWP?) & non party activists that would stand candidates under one banner?

    As with RIC, not necessarily socialist?

    Would SSP take part?

    Would it include Women for Indy?

    Is SLP concerned with Holyrood rather than WM election?

  15. Lauren, I must apologise for taking the hump about your comment regarding the SNP’s rally. I focused on one small segment of a great article, without taking on board what were legitimate concerns.
    My hope, regarding your first question is that the SNP will do what they have intimated, which is to forge alliances and procure a favourable result for Scottish issues. ( Such revolutionary ideals may be anathematic to our usual representatives from the self proclaimed peoples party).
    To achieve this, they will have to make inroads into huge majorities that are currently held by Labour. If we were to believe current opinion polls then the SNP would be a shoo-in, but with six months to go we can await the onslaught from the MSM. We have just witnessed first hand how powerful and unscrupulous they are, which could mean that 20 to 25 seats would be more realistic. This would still be quite a sizable group, which will be in a position to exert some leverage.
    However, there could be a massive change in this scenario which relates to your second and third question, which has already been addressed by Andrea. I think she is on the money with her analysis and I would fervently hope that all parties wishing for an IScotland would embrace the bigger picture. We need Independence to enable all the smaller parties to thrive.

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