The big problem that UKIP have this general election is Brexit. The UK Independence Party seems as sensible a name after Article 50 as advertising Christmas bargains in January. No wonder that Paul Nuttall is struggling to hold his party together. No wonder they have been through torrid leadership elections since the EU Referendum. Little wonder that Nigel Farage is staying well clear for now from the party he once made valuable.
Which brings us to the SNP. A party united over one single issue. Scottish Independence. And that’s it.
Look at the differing views in the party – it’s like a random representation of the political spectrum.
Take former investment banker Ian Blackford and ex-oil industry executive Hannah Bardell. They only fit in the same party as trade unionist Chris Stephens and left-of-leftist Mhairi Black as long as they’re united by the dream of independence.
SNP MPs like Stewart Hosie, George Kerevan and one-time Tory Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh share an economic outlook not dissimilar to George Osborne. Yet they are in the same party as politicians so far left they are Corbynite in their socialist ideology – the likes of Neil Gray and former Labour officer Tommy Sheppard.
No wonder Nicola Sturgeon is forever banging on about independence – she does so for two reasons. Firstly, independence is a misdirection and hides the SNP’s awful track record of government in Scotland. Second, it holds her party together – without the dream of independence the SNP would be as fatally wounded as UKIP.
Which leads to two conclusions:
Either, after Brexit, a new Scottish Independence poll will be held and independence will be the result. Or, a no vote will happen and the SNP will crumble – two referenda in a decade will be plenty for a generation.
Either which way, the SNP will have lost its raison d’être. Scotland will once more be up for grabs electorally as the SNP caves in on itself.
If May wins on June 8th, she would be wise to take a second gamble after calling the general election. Calling a quick Scottish Independence referendum would be another. Scotland will only vote for independence if Brexit is a disaster – so why let that possibility present itself?
Sturgeon and the SNP will break apart like UKIP. Best help them on their way.
The SNP is inherently temporary, brittle and divided. Ruth Davidson is doing a superb job in exposing the cracks while Labour up in Scotland chases its tail.