Mark Smith: How to get involved in the campaign against independence. A response to the new SNP video


Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP promoted a short film on how to get involved in the independence campaign and some trade unionists got upset. Here she is again, they say, speaking of independence when she should concentrate on her day job. But I say to these trade unionists: calm down my dear ones, no need to get upset. The film doesn’t really talk about independence. It is a whole other matter.

In case you haven’t seen the video, I’ll tell you about it quickly. It starts off by saying that the 2014 referendum changed Scotland forever (for better or for worse? We wonder) and SNP membership increased by almost 100,000 (what what is it now? we ask). He then presents different ways of participating in the campaign for independence and ends with a rallying call: “The future of our party and of Scotland is defined by your willingness to get involved. So what are you waiting for? Help us build a better Scotland by joining us today.

Now a number of things come to mind about the film and none of them have much to do with worrying about Sturgeon launching another push for independence. Indeed, there is nothing in the video about what she or the SNP is actually doing to speed up the campaign and many Yes supporters quickly noticed this. Some even suggested – and who am I to disagree? – that the video was not really a campaign for independence but rather a campaign for new members.

A quick glance at the video suggests they’re probably right. The commentator – who seems to be doing this conscious thing to be gentle with his T’s to make sure everyone knows he’s definitely Scottish and in no way English – suggested there are a few ways people could get involved. Register as an SNP or Yes supporter. Join a local affiliate. Follow the SNP and Yes on Twitter and other sites. Share online posts with family and friends. Donate to SNP (uh-huh). And participate in street stalls and social events. As the guy said in the video: what are you waiting for?

But the question is why a video full of lively and cheerful Scots, seemingly indifferent to viruses, obesity or racial diversity, is being released now. Part, of course, has to do with public relations: the message here is that the SNP is in great shape and ready for battle. And another part of the message is, indeed, recruiting. You may remember thousands – thousands I say! – who joined the SNP after Nicola Sturgeon testified at Alex Salmond’s investigation. But, if membership is skyrocketing, it is significant that there is a new appeal to members now.

There are a few other things to mention about the movie. The first is that one of the most popular words is ‘rebuttal’, which gives a glimpse of what many Scottish nationalists think. What they mean by rebuttal is a response to “fake news” from “mainstream media” which they will “refute” with “the truth.” My apologies for all the quotes here, but we really need it. Anything that does not conform to the SNP message is rejected as false and must be disproved. Get people involved!

The other thing worth mentioning is the idea that the video promotes that we would be sharing SNP messages with our friends and family. What kind of friends and family do they have, I wonder. I feel like the type of people who regularly share nationalist (or even unionist) posts on Facebook are the type who are quickly put to sleep. In fact, most people don’t want to talk politics with their friends and family online, mainly because they still bear the scars of 2014. And so, the idea of ​​happy, upbeat people happily sharing the message of he independence with their smiling friends is pretty much an illusion.

And, finally, there is the idea that the video is – as some trade unionists seem to fear – another “push towards independence”. As I said, that would only be true if it included concrete, definite steps the SNP took towards independence, but the suspiciously optimistic animated people in the film have strangely little to say about independence, and it is significant that the response to the film from Yes supporters was overwhelmingly negative. Their conclusion on the video was the same as that of an infamous Scottish King: sound and fury, meaning nothing.

Except one little thing. You may have read the column I wrote last week about a conversation I had with Professor Gregor Gall, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation. Professor Gall pointed out that the SNP has a problem with activism and that its center of power is focused on leadership – MPs, MPs and councilors – rather than the guys on the ground. “If you think about what happened after 2014,” he told me, “I don’t think the SNP asked people to be active, or they don’t have a clue what it means to be active in a party.

I think it’s fair to assume that the new SNP video may be an answer to this problem and an attempt to make it look like they’re fixing it (not doing it). As the reaction from parts of the Yes movement shows, there is a great deal of dissatisfaction among Yes supporters over the SNP’s lack of action, or activism,. The party will also certainly be aware that a lot of people who attend All Under One Banner events feel like there is a lack of movement on the part of the leaders which is why they like to fly their flags and walk down Hope Street. sometimes.

SNP video is actually an attempt to connect – or reconnect – with these kind of voters. If the SNP thinks they are going to attract a lot of new members through this film, they are on their toes and, really, they know it. What they’re actually hoping for is that some of the people who dropped out of membership will come back. It’s also an attempt to convince Yes supporters who think there isn’t enough action that there is still going on, even if it boils down to little more than lively people waving Animated flags or Yes supporters re-tweeting tweets from other Yes supporters.

And in the end, whatever the ways the SNP proposes to get involved in the campaign for independence, they will always face the same old problems. Which brings me to my suggestions on how to get involved in the campaign against independence. Just keep asking the same questions. About the currency. And the deficit. And pensions. And the border. SNP World’s cheerful animated characters can bounce around as much as they want, but it’s the topics that matter.

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