By Rab Bruce’s Spider

The cause of independence is bigger than any person or any political Party. I understand why so many people are angry at the direction the SNP is taking on a variety of fronts, and there are some very worrying claims and accusations being made regarding the leadership of the Party.

Watching the current in-fighting is depressing, and I can see no good coming from it. Whether you believe Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon, the plain fact is that the SNP, for good or ill, are currently the only political Party which has any chance of turning Scotland into a normal, self-governing country. While I can understand why some people are now claiming they will not vote for the SNP in the upcoming Holyrood election, I can only ask what good this will do. Who else has even the remotest chance of getting us independence? Even if you do not vote for any of the Unionist Parties, we should all know by now that the British media will pounce on any drop in support for the SNP as "evidence" that there is waning support for independence. Whether there is a reduction in turnout, in the SNP’s vote share, or the number of seats they win, the slightest reduction will be seized upon to "prove" that there is a decline in support for independence. The fact that the Yes movement is far wider than the SNP will make no difference to the media interpretation of a loss of votes.

There is still a debate to be had on the best way to use your List vote, but anyone who truly wants independence must surely give their support to the SNP with their Constituency vote.

Some people are expressing doubts as to whether the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon have any intentions of actually pushing for IndyRef2. They have certainly not shown many signs of being keen on the project, but there really is no other choice. If they fail to act this time (assuming they do achieve the allegedly impossible and gain an overall majority) then surely some other pro-Indy Party will step up and fill the breach. But there is no time for any such Party to gain enough support between now and the May election.

As for those who have lost faith in the SNP because of GRA reform and the Hate crime Bill, I share many of your concerns. But the best way to address these issues is for Scotland to become a normal, self-governing country. After that, elections will no longer be dominated by the constitutional question, and the SNP will be just another Party who can be voted out if they continue to pursue unpopular policies.

Of course, that leads on to other areas of discussion. Is that possible loss of power the reason the SNP are not pushing for Indy? Do they fear being voted out when they lose the support of those who put independence above other considerations? I would hope not, but there is no doubt that the Party has attracted many career politicians who may feel that way.

And then, of course, there is the question of what will happen to the Unionist Parties once they lose funding from their London masters. Can they survive? The Tories will inevitably be fine since dark money and support from wealthy right wingers will always flow their way, but the future must be bleak for Labour and the Lib Dems unless the SNP haemorrhages support due to their pursuit of unpopular policies.

But I am venturing into the realm of speculation, something I dislike, especially as it is dependent on us actually gaining independence. That must be the immediate goal, and whether you are disillusioned with the SNP or not, I’m afraid I can see no alternative but to vote for them in May. To do anything else diminishes our chances of ever becoming a normal country. That future is in enough doubt as it is, with extremists in power in Westminster and a hostile media pounding us with pro-Union propaganda on a daily basis. If we don’t break free soon, it may never happen.

I wish there was some viable alternative. I wish the SNP had followed a different route and had not placed us in a position where Westminster still holds all the cards. I wish the focus of the SNP leadership was far more on IndyRef2. Sadly, wishing won’t achieve anything. Only acting has any chance of achieving change. And the only action we, as voters, have is to use that vote in a way which shows our support for independence.