I’m not a member of the Scottish National Party, and I never have been.
But I was a vociferous supporter of Scottish Independence. As a result of the campaign I joined Scottish CND to help fund the lobbying of the removal of Trident from Scotland and I completely support removal from the UK resolving the whole austerity issue at a single stroke. This was a backbone of the SNP manifesto and one I was totally in support of.
(But that’s for another post.)
The effect of the campaign and its impact on party membership interests me. Far from suffering a backlash the SNP (like Scottish CND) has seen a surge in membership as we gear up for round two.
Published figures show party membership in the UK thus;
Lib Dems 44,000
This is remarkable. Every single major party apart from the SNP(not Greens as Thom points out) is national and yet the SNP sits third in membership and closing in on second.
Now, to put this into perspective, let’s look at this extrapolated to a UK level.
With Scotland having only 8.3% of the UK population this would mean the SNP, were it a UK party, would have 713,800 members – 4 x that of the labour party, 5 x the Tories, 16 x the Lib Dems and a bit more for UKIP.
But get this… if you extrapolate back to Scotland. i.e. take Labour, Tory etc vote back to the Scottish population this is what you find.
Labour 15,770 SNP 5.4 x bigger
Conservative 11,122 SNP 7.7 x bigger
Lib Dems 3,652 SNP 23.5 x bigger
UKIP 3,237 SNP 26.6 x bigger
Greens 1,660 SNP 51.8 x bigger
And what’s even more interesting is that these are the published figures. Unpublished reports suggest SNP has broken 100,000 members in recent weeks.
That makes (again by extrapolation) the SNP 6 x the size of Labour in Scotland.
Now, Labour is probably over-represented in Scotland and the Tories under-represented (but not necessarily in Party membership).
What we are looking at here is therefore a political phenomenon.
I, for one, although not a member, am looking forward, with great enthusiasm, to the SNP massacre of Scottish Labour in May next year. (The Tories and Liberals no longer count here – fringe parties for toffs, bastards, dreamers and the disengaged).
I fully expect to see the pummelling of the UK establishment in Scotland. The SNP may even emerge as holding some sort of balance of power in Westminster (a coalition perhaps).
Alex Salmond will finally lay claim to being arguably the greatest UK party leader since Churchill.
But I’m still not joining.