CONCERNS about administrative staleness after 10 years in government are not entirely unfounded. But that masks a basic problem. Do we want to continuously drive social engineering and all the turmoil that results in, or do we want periods of stability and administrative and economic competence?

Society needs time to adapt and learn to live with whatever administration systems and laws are in place. Yes, there are issues that need to be resolved but jumping in with both feet and changing things to suit whatever mood prevails on a two- or three-yearly basis is not the answer. Yes, consultants and those with an axe to grind make a living out of promoting change, and if something is suggested and turns out to be wrong, they get paid again to produce yet another recommendation. Little thought is put into potential consequences and the result is that society continually gets dragged one way and then another.

With the SNP we have a party that is not from the same mould as the two main UK parties. The difference between the SNP and the other big parties is that the SNP is not tied to any class-based demographic, taking an even-handed approach to represent everyone. Yes, it means compromises, but that is what society is about. The Tory and Labour parties are characterised by the notion that the party is paramount, that everything must be done to protect the interests of the party.

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And while both say they want to create a society fit for “everyone” they both actually mean fit for everyone who is at the top table of their respective demographics, not anyone else.

Our political parties have some sort of primary objective and core principle. Labour, protecting the working class against the ruling classes; Tory, protecting the ruling classes against the working class. And with each change of political direction at a UK level we merely see a change of ruling class while everybody else continues to suffer.

Having its main agenda and rationale as independence, the SNP does not have any of this traditional political baggage, which means it can focus on what is best for everyone, not just on the partisan class loyalty and self-preservation of the other parties. In this respect the SNP has the luxury of being able to consider wider aspects of society as the independence cause crosses traditional boundaries.

Objections to independence by the Tories and Labour have two main and divergent bases. The Tories fear the loss of ruling status in an independent Scotland, and the resources both in and under the sea and land that they exploit, as well as their traditional playgrounds; and Labour fears the loss of a significant number of foot soldiers which would mean a permanent residual UK parliament run by the Tories. While this would clearly suit the Tories, the loss of their playgrounds must bear heavily in their thinking.

The stance of the SNP must remain being Scotland’s foremost political party, continuing to demonstrate economic and administrative competence, boring as that may be. This is the only sure way to eventually convince the majority of the benefits of independence, but we must have a better way of countering the fear and negative from the Unionists, especially while they are unable to espouse the real benefits, whatever they may be, of remaining subjugated to Westminster.

It will be a long haul but we cannot afford to seek to have referendum after referendum that we may not win. When the case is made and clearly accepted that independence is what we want, then is the time for a referendum and not before.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire