In my earlier post, friend and loyal reader Neil asks to hear why I am going to be voting SNP – not just generally but specifically in the General Election tomorrow.
I’d love to be able to give a detailed, lucid and intelligent answer to this. However, it has been a long couple of days as I travel to Leicester and back, and I am not long off my eighth train in thirty-six hours.
However, given that it is polling day tomorrow I can’t really do this any later, so here goes. Apologies, therefore, if this call to arms is a bit rushed and the product of a tired mind.
I am voting SNP because…
- I believe in an independent Scotland. It is natural, normal and constructive for nations to stand alongside each other as equals; friends, allies and partners. You cannot sum up the idea of independence for Scotland better than when Alex Salmond puts it as changing Scotland from a surly lodger to a good neighbour. Independence is key to solving the country’s problems and releasing its potential – it is the underpinning issue behind everything else. That means that I would almost certainly vote SNP in any election, and given that Westminster is where responsibility for constitutional affairs lie, and that the voice for independence needs to be heard at all levels, so it means that I would see my vote tomorrow as a tool for independence as much as in a Holyrood election.
- Key SNP policies will be to the fore in the next Westminster Parliament. It’s there that top-up fees for students in England will be debated (something that will have consequence for Scotland), where Trident renewal will be explored, where electoral reform and other constitutional matters will come up. There will also inevitably be discussion of the SNP’s proposed independence referendum. SNP views on these will be vital to boost the radical voices in Westminster on these issues and others, and so it is vital the SNP is as strong as possible.
- Many other issues that are reserved to Westminster require significant attention in order to help people through these difficult times: action taxation, social security and so on will either exacerbate or repair the wealth gap and rampant poverty the UK suffers. Guess which side the SNP are on.
- We need a more diverse, reflective parliament, one which takes account of the huge range of views and interests. With one or two hugely dishonourable exceptions, the UK’s minor parties like the Greens have vital perspectives to bring and deserve to be in Parliament. The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems are unfairly unrepresented due to the terrible voting system we have; and we cannot be allowed to have an elected dictatorship where the ruling party gets a majority of seats on a minority of votes. Voting SNP will help make Westminster a truly democratic legislature by keeping the big parties in check.
For these reasons and more, I am voting Scottish National Party tomorrow. I am not attempting to persuade others through all this; merely to explain myself and present my thoughts. I’d love you to vote SNP in Scotland, PC in Wales and someone like the Greens or – if you have to – the Lib Dems in England; but more than that, I’d love you to just vote at all.
Here’s to tomorrow’s results, and to the next five years of – hopefully – better government.