It’s been another spectacular week for the Scottish National Party. Who would have thought that the party of government at Holyrood would continue to see their membership rise and rise in the aftermath of the No vote in September? It is truly remarkable and seeing the rise in membership in Scottish political parties (not just the SNP) who backed a Yes vote in the referendum just goes to show that the issue of the constitution in Scotland remains unsettled.
This week sees the outcome of the Smith Commission. It only felt like yesterday since David Cameron announced it being set up on Downing Street just approximately an hour after the No vote was confirmed. I have been saying to people who have already come to the conclusion that it’s outcome will be irrelevant or who are sceptical of what will come out of it that the process must be allowed to complete it’s journey. This coming week will see a major milestone as we get a first taste of what could be to come in terms of the autonomy of the Scottish Parliament.
As I said past midweek, anything less than devolution max or something like that will not serve the Scottish national interest. I have to honestly admit that I am not optimistic that we will see something like that emerge from the Smith Commission as the days come along, but it will be the actual detail of the outcome that will matter the most. The powers offered to Holyrood must have clout and enable the country to take it’s own direction in terms of enabling policies that are in the best interests of the Scottish people and can fulfil the desires of much of them.
No matter the outcome, I still expect the SNP to surge to it’s best ever performance at a UK General Election. Nobody dared to predict how the party would fare in the aftermath of a No vote, but we are seeing something absolutely incredible unfold before all of us. A lot of the talk within the media is about the prospect of UKIP holding the balance of power at Westminster next year. But I have a sneaky feeling that a lot of political commentators are going to look very naïve.
Despite how strong the polls are looking for Nicola Sturgeon’s party, complacency must not set in. Another side effect of those strong polls is that political commentators could big up the prospect of as many as 40-50 SNP MP’s tipping the balance in terms of who governs the UK next year. That in itself isn’t always good. Everyone within the SNP must not get too carried away and ensure that they can convince every last voter in Scotland that they are the only party that can head to SW1 and ensure that Scotland is given what it truly deserves – maximum devolution for the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom at this current time and in this current political climate.
And if they fail, then would it not be time for a second independence referendum? Maybe. Just maybe.