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Scottish independence: Your Choice?

Monday, May 3rd, 2020 | 18:00

Ed Thomas | UK

Politics in Scotland is divided, but whilst most will know what the major parties think, four of the smaller parties get a chance to talk about their party’s stance on the constitutional question of Scottish independence.

The University of Stirling at Night, Picture ©2021 – Ed Thomas, All Rights Reserved

There are more candidates at the upcoming election on the list than on the constituency ballot, and with regional lists leading to the election of 7 MSPs, they’re not to be ignored.

And whilst we all know what Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP think about Scottish independence, they are for it.

And we all know where the Conservative and Unionist Party, Scottish Labour, and the Liberal Democrats stand on this issue – they’re against it.

LogoPolitical PartyNumber of Candidates
Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party
Alba Party3
All for Unity Party*7
Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party11
Freedom Alliance [Party] - Integrity, Society, Economy*4
Scottish Family Party*7
Scottish Green Party10
Independent: Martin J Keatings1
Independent: Mercy Mugure Kamanja1
Scottish Labour Party7
Scottish Liberal Democrats7
Scottish Libertarian Party2
Scottish National Party11
Reform UK6
Renew [Scotland]*2
UK Independence Party (UKIP)4

What do we know about smaller parties? Who because of Scotland’s unique electoral system, have a better chance of getting elected than they would on the first-past-the-post constituency ballot.

Therefore, it is an opportunity to give voice to parties who perhaps more accurately represent how we really feel and think. In the Mid-Scotland and Fife Region, the list has 14 parties and 2 independent candidates.

If you’re very strongly in favour of Scottish independence, you can vote for 4 political parties – the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Greens and Alex Salmond’s newest political party, the Alba Party. There is also, standing on the list, the Scottish Libertarian Party. And the Independent Candidate, Martin J Keatings, is also a supporter, and self-described staunch-proponent of Scottish independence.

If you’re very strongly against Scottish independence, then there is always the Scottish Conservatives, the Labour Party (possibly); and the Liberal Democrat. and The Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party.

Also on the same page, with the abolition of the Scottish Parliament is UKIP Scotland – they want to see if gone; whilst Nigel Farage’s successor party – the Reform Party, are staunchly unionist, according to their website:

“We will demonstrate the critical role Scotland plays in Britain as well as the benefits to Scotland of the Union.”

Added to the mix this year is the All for Unity Party, whose lead candidate in Mid-Scotland and Fife is Linda Holt, a Fife County councillor, initially elected for the Conservative Party she became independent but is now an All for Unity councillor – their only one in Scotland.

The party has tried to strike a “unionist” electoral pact on the Constituency list – but the major parties don’t want to play ball.

This is not a party to be discounted, after all, it is a party founded by George Galloway, and he remains very much involved near the top as its official spokesperson.

How about if you are pro-independence? Not so die-hard indie that you’ve painted your whole body blue. You’re also not one of those people who run to every independence rally you can find. Maybe you prefer to be called ‘soft’ on indie. Who do you vote for?

Conversely, what about if you’re against independence? Not so hardline you’re waving the union jack on the bus, whilst wearing matching underpants and joining orange marches?

Perhaps you feel that things need to be shaken up a little? That we need to discuss more, try and find a solution that suits everyone? Perhaps the Renew Scotland Party is for you?

They have an electoral pact with VOLT Europa; Renew Scotland is also part of the larger Renew UK Party.

Not to be confused with the Nigel Farage’s Reform UK, who are also running on the list this time, with 6 candidates.

Reform Scotland, however, is led by a political stalwart in Scotland and in the Mid-Scotland and Fife region, Bruce Henderson.

Bruce was a signatory to 1989’s Claim of Right, and a key campaigner for a Scottish parliament, he has serious political credentials – he was previously a member of the SDP for those few old enough to remember the Labour Party’s Kinnock years. He is re-entering politics this year, after a long-time spent outside of politics.

The Renew Scotland party are calling for a wider discussion on Scotland’s future. Innovatively wishing to look maturely and appropriately at all the potential options. Including solutions such as “devolution max,” the Isle of Man option (crown dependency), “federalisation,” Scottish independence, and more besides.

However, before that, they’re pushing for an Honesty in Politics policy. The goal is to make the rules about MSPs being honest in their communications more stringent.

To see the punishments for such breaches, enforced more, and also fairer. By fairer, they mean on the people misled and not the politicians themselves. A noble goal, many of us can understand and probably endorse.

Finally, there are the parties who aren’t so focused on Scottish independence and don’t have a fixed policy. Perhaps for you independence is the biggest issue.

The Scottish Family Party’s regional lead candidate, Don Marshall, said their focus is on what’s best for Scotland and that the independence question is one of personal choice.

Freedom Alliance – is not a Scottish independence Party. They’re more about freedom to refuse to have a covid-19 vaccine and have no civically enforced disadvantages for not taking the vaccine. As well as campaigning against these seemingly endless coronavirus lockdowns. Their lead candidate in the region, Lisa Brackenridge, is a Medical Researrch Nurse, involved in Clinical drugs trials.

She told me she is personally for independence and that others in the party are too. Lisa also said that others in the party were against independence. Independence is not the Freedom Alliance party’s focus, after all.

The Scottish Libertarian Party writes in their manifesto:

“The Scottish Libertarian Party is not nationalist but secessionist by virtue of being libertarian. While the right to self-determination is a pillar of our ethos, we do not share the unbridled enthusiasm for another referendum as it seems more about a desire to re-join the EU than any genuine attempt at independence. We maintain there are far more important, fundamental issues that need to be addressed right now.”

All the parties mentioned above were invited to participate in the interviews; only the Renew Scotland Party, the Scottish Family Party, the All for Unity Party, and the Freedom Alliance Party took part.

It is up to you, who you vote for, on the list on May 6th; all these parties are standing, and it is your vote and your choice.


Full video editions of my interviews with the candidates has been released, here.

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