SNP members are more likely to feel good about meetings and campaigning. What do they have that the other parties lack?by Dominic Hinde / January 5, 2018 / Leave a comment
Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, the former MP-turned-producer for Alex Salmond’s onanistic Russia Today talkshow described it as an “ inclusive party with a civic nationalism that puts nation first,” whilst another former senior campaigner with an insight into its upper echelons more disparagingly described it as a ‘cult’.
The SNP is famously a many-headed beast and its claims to be a progressive beacon depend on which of those heads is talking. But one area where it really is ahead of the rest is how good its members feel about it.
New research from Queen Mary, University of London indicates that SNP members—of whom there are still well over 100,000 despite a slight recent decline—are the most enthusiastic of any about their role in their party and what they can do with it. Not only are SNP members far more enthusiastic about leadership and the party policies than their rivals, just 5 per cent feel the party doesn’t have an interest in them, and a mere 16 per cent find activism boring—way behind the other big three, where boredom levels hover around 30 per cent.
SNP members have always been notably engaged in their cause, in part due to a resilient mentality developed in the 60s and 70s when it really was a fringe movement struggling against Labour and Tory hegemony. They have also been used to biting their lips and focusing on the prize despite some historic disagreements about political direction—the self styled centre-left social democratic party of today is a relatively recent invention.
When standing outside a polling station with a TV crew in 2015, a veteran member adorned with pin badges took great pride in explaining to me that they were the only party based and registered in Scotland, and that that alone was reason to choose them above all others.
For years this was many people’s experience of the SNP membership in general—and with a surprisingly high average age of 54 the SNP are still very much a middle-aged party. Yet the 2014 independence referendum caused a huge diversification in the type of person joining and the party now has penetration across the whole of Scotland. Even the staunchly Liberal Northern Isles, where the party has always…