18 October 2009

Conference Call: Revved Up and Ready to Go

Well, that was that. For me, I leave Inverness having handed in a membership form for the Electoral Reform Society and having acquired a Membership Card for the SNP Trade Union Group, so I'd chalk that up as successful on that level, at least.

As regards the Party, I'd say this was the sort of Conference needed around six months before an Election: no rows, no fiascos, just the membership coming together in a positive mood, ready for the campaign ahead.

Indeed, what the Press did attempt to inflate into a row - the debate over the Euro - really didn't justify the hyperbole it got. Think about the Tory discomfort over Lisbon, and the splits that ripped apart the Conservatives in the 1990s. Think about Tony Blair's supposed enthusiasm for the Single Currency being suppressed by Gordon Brown. Think about the 1975 Common Market Referendum, when collective responsibility was set aside and Cabinet members could campaign however they wished on the idea of whether or not the UK should even remain in the EEC.

So, really, the SNP position was pretty harmonious and this weekend, members were broadly happy to support the adoption of the Euro as an independent Scotland's currency. The only question was the 'how' and the 'when'. There again, Conference was generally happy to accept a measure of caution: that conditions have to be right (which makes sense) and that there has to be a referendum on the matter (which is also wise as the SNP wants a referendum on independence and wanted one on Lisbon, so to suddenly adopt the Euro without so much as a by-your-leave would, frankly, make not one jot of sense and I can envisage Labour press releases declaring that the Party that wants an independence vote wants to drag Scotland kicking and screaming into the Euro).

All in all, then, tails are up. There's no complacency, no dejection or desperation, just excitement and drive. Most of the people in the hall are straining at the leash for the campaign to come. If that energy can be sustained all the way through to next Spring, the SNP are on track to do very, very well indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it did seem as though the SNP had a good conference. It's been fascinating to watch how Salmond, Swinnie, Sturgeon et al have been conducting themselves as a first time government - I think they have done really well in administering and conveying competence. Independence is a process rather than event, and showing SNP responsibility and ability is one of the basic steps towards it.