Sturgeon’s rise; what’s next for the SNP?

Image: Ewan McIntosh

Image: Ewan McIntosh

Following Alexander Salmonds’ resignation after defeat in the Scottish referendum, Nicola Sturgeon was announced as the new leader of the Scottish National Party on November 14 after a relatively long history with the party; Sturgeon has been a member since 1986, aged just 16.

From the beginning she was an advocate for nuclear disarmament and this is still reflected in her current politics as she looks to campaign for the removal of the Trident submarine from Faslane, which has met firm resistance from the current UK government.

Comparisons have been made to Margaret Thatcher, though she has claimed that where Thatcher divided a nation, she intends to unite Scotland and move across the divisive issues in order to gain independence for Scotland. This is a goal which she is adamant is achievable in her lifetime.

If she is able to achieve unity amongst the Scottish people as she promises, then there is little in the way of a victory for independence in a future referendum.
It should be noted that Sturgeon has paid tribute to Salmond, her former mentor in politics, and his efforts in pushing for Scottish independence.
However, Sturgeon clearly has her own goals in mind. Firstly, she has clearly stated that the SNP will refuse to make any future deals with the current Conservative government regarding the future of Scotland.

The same was said for the Labour party, though a deal may happen should Labour agree to remove Trident from Faslane.

Furthermore, during an SNP speech in Perth, Sturgeon outlined her aims, which focused around economic and social progress.

In particular, she highlighted the empowering of communities, raising attainment in schools, domestic abuse and gender inequality as the main issues to be tackled.
For Sturgeon it is not simply a matter of following in the footsteps of Salmond; since the referendum, the membership of the SNP has trebled and so she is leading a far larger and stronger political party.

Furthermore, not one person from the 80,000 strong party challenged Sturgeon’s ascension to leader of the SNP, which is credit to the cohesion of the party.
One issue that the surge in membership has caused is that the SNP now has membership figures higher than both the Liberal Democrats and UKIP combined and Sturgeon has suggested it is an injustice that the party has not yet been invited to televised debates alongside the Conservatives, Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats.

Since Sturgeon’s appointment as head of the SNP, all signs point to a revival of the campaign for Scottish independence. Speaking at the conference in Perth she argued that a victory in a referendum, would result in a ‘fairer and more prosperous Scotland’.

It appears Sturgeon has not quite accepted the loss in the referendum and states “we will not let Westminster drag us back to business as usual” though her short term goal is to make sure Westminster adheres to the promises it made throughout the lead up to the referendum.

To push for another vote immediately after defeat suggests sour grapes. However, it will remain to be seen, with a somewhat revitalised SNP, whether her promise that “Scotland will become an independent country” becomes a reality in the near future.


  1. 45% is snp vote plus greens, ssp some labour, not enough to win in westminster seats great spin with rally free attendance , the win in hollyrood based on under 50% turnout,
    opinion polls on internet, wait an see.

    Reply Report

    • 26 Nov ’14 at 4:53 am


      The current pols show the SNPknocking off a swathe of the 41 Labour MPs from Scotland. Quite how many remains to be seen. Darling and Brown had personal votes dure to being UK Ministers. Once the individuals go, so does the personal vote and the seat becomes much more winnable.

      All the trends point to the SNP MPs holding the balance of power in a hung parliament in May. After that, SNP pressure will deliver “extensive more powers” for Scotland as ‘Vowed” which in turn will pave the way for the final step to self government. Alternatively Westminster might be stupid and stubborn enough to not concede powers to Scotland to satisfy the electorate. In whicvch case there will be a constitutional crisis and another vote in Scotland. And failure to deliver will ensure that the cheated voters swing behind self government.

      Heads Scotland wins, or tails Scotland wins.
      Time ot start planning and negotiating an amicable dissolution of the parliaamentary Union.

      Reply Report

Leave a comment

Please note our disclaimer relating to comments submitted. Please do not post pretending to be another person. Nouse is not responsible for user-submitted content.