Scottish independence: Is SNP's new 'taskforce' just a ruse to keep antsy party members happy? – John McLellan

All not being quite what it seems in the SNP, the launch of its new “independence taskforce” at the weekend is worth closer analysis, not least for those who believe there should be a second referendum this year, as senior figures like Mike Russell MSP have insisted there will be.

Is the SNP's independence taskforce designed to give the appearance of progress to impatient supporters? (Picture: John Devlin)
Is the SNP's independence taskforce designed to give the appearance of progress to impatient supporters? (Picture: John Devlin)

Last week Deputy First Minister John Swinney said a referendum was a “critical response” to the pandemic, but strangely there is no information about the taskforce on the SNP website, despite depute party leader Keith Brown announcing it will work with SNP HQ, draw up policy papers, compile campaign resources and establish a national “information” service.

But for a party whose central goal is independence, which spent thousands on its “Growth Commission” to lay out the full economic programme for independence, and justifies the use of Scottish government communication resources to push the case on the basis that seeking independence is government policy, why is a new taskforce needed?

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Perhaps, the answer is that under pressure from activists for a vote this year – despite the wider public mood that the midst of the pandemic is the wrong time -- the party has to be seen to be doing something to keep the more antsy members occupied.

And is tying the taskforce to HQ where the First Minister’s husband, under-fire chief executive Peter Murrell, rules the roost an attempt to strengthen his internal position?

The word in London is UK government resolve to block another vote is hardening, so the task force has plenty of time.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor

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