As someone close to the SNP campaign in Perth and North Perthshire, I can assure the spokesperson for the reborn Better Together group quoted in The Telegraph* that Pete Wishart is highly unlikely to be unhappy about further very public evidence of the British parties in Scotland ganging up in an effort to defend the Westminster elite and deny Scotland the strong voice in the UK Parliament that is supposed to be our right within the Union.
Most people in Scotland are perplexed and offended by the British establishment’s portrayal of the SNP as some kind of dangerously extreme political force. This is, after all, their democratically elected party of government. It is, by a long way, the largest party in Scotland in terms of membership. And, according to polls, it is even after nearly two terms in office, by far the most popular party with by far the most trusted politicians.
This is not “controversial”. This is mainstream.
The problem that British nationalists have is that the SNP is mainstream in a distinctly Scottish context rather than the comfortably familiar context of British politics, with the faux rivalries of its two-party hegemony that is barely distinguishable from a one-party state.
Anywhere else in Europe, the SNP would be regarded as a perfectly ordinary left-of-centre social democratic party. Traditional Labour voters in Scotland are perfectly at ease voting for the SNP. As are many refugees from the doomed Liberal Democrats and even a few thoughtful Tories impressed by the party’s effectiveness as an administration.
Even the policy of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status is not at all outlandish. Independence is normal. Independence is the default status of all nations. It is the anachronistic, dysfunctional asymmetric political union in which we find ourselves that is anomalous.
So, people in Perth & North Perthshire and across Scotland will inevitable ask themselves whose interests are being served by the British parties’ coming together in an effort to pervert the democratic process. They will wonder who benefits from an orchestrated campaign to defeat the party which they are firmly persuaded best represents the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people.
The more people see of the British parties standing shoulder to shoulder on the streets of Scotland in defence of Westminster’s power and the old order, the more they will be persuaded that their best hope lies in electing as many SNP MPs as possible. I’m confident that, with the help of the little gobbet of unionist fervour that has congealed in Perth, Pete Wishart will be among them.