Leading SNP activists call for Scottish Government to adopt ‘Renew’ leftwing platform


New platform draws on policy work of Common Weal pro-independence programme

SOME of the SNP’s leading activists and campaigners have supported a new leftwing platform for the Scottish Government in the aftermath of a General Election which saw the party face pressure from the Labour party led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn.

The platform of six headline policies, drawn up by the Common Weal pro-independence think tank, includes a Scottish national investment bank, a national infrastructure company for a new programme of house building, a publicly owned universal kindergarten system for childcare, far-reaching democratic reforms, sending clear signals on land reform, banning fracking, and reducing the burden on teachers and the replacement of the Council Tax with property and land value taxes.

SNP figures backing the platform include SNP MPs Ronnie Cowan and Tommy Sheppard, MSP and former cabinet member Alex Neil, vice convenor of SNP Youth Rory Steel, and former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars.

SNP branch activists also backed the proposals, including Ian Grant of Edinburgh West SNP, who said: “I am certain that lack of ambition and excitement in the Scottish Government’s programme has been one factor in the SNP’s relatively poor result this time.

“The campaign itself was lacklustre, and the aims of SNP MPs elected poorly defined; ‘standing up for Scotland’ is hardly enough.

Read the platform here – Renew: Six policies that can refresh the Scottish Government’s domestic agenda

“Returning to the Common Weal ideas, I think most are excellent, in particular the National Investment Bank and re-industrialisation, revitalising our towns, land reform, improving democracy at national and local level.”

Cowan added: “I believe more than ever that we must define the Scotland we want to be part of. If we can share not just a vision but the practical steps to achieve our common goal then it is my view that the citizens of Scotland would rally round it.

“All organisations, political or not, that have a valid input and must be encouraged to engage in the democratic process and their input must be heard, respected and when appropriate acted upon.”

Neil said: “I am delighted that Common Weal is bringing forward these new ideas, which are badly needed to invigorate the debate about the way forward for Scotland.
We cannot rest on our laurels as a government. We must keep driving forward economic and social change in Scotland. These proposals are exciting and imaginative and should be given serious consideration.”

A new poll by Survation has found that 25 per cent of Scottish Labour voters in the General Election were pro-independence. Polling by Lord ashcroft has found that twice as many SNP voters switched from SNP to Labour as switched from SNP to Tory.

The UK’s leading poll expert, Professor John Curtice, told CommonSpace that the appeal of Corbynism to leftwing independence supporters was a factor in the SNP’s loss of 21 seats on 8 June. Following the election, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would “reflect carefully” on the results of the election.

Picture courtesy of Jonathan Riddell

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