Alex Salmond is perfectly correct. Alex Neil’s claims simply do not stand up to scrutiny. At successive SNP Conferences and other gatherings of party members, the policy of voting to remain within the EU was overwhelmingly supported. It just isn’t credible to claim that, having emphatically – if in some cases not enthusiastically – endorsed the policy, members then went out and voted contrary to what they had agreed upon as the best approach.
What is true is that SNP members had different reasons for voting Remain. Many did so despite severe misgivings about EU membership. More than a few voted Remain even though they actually want Scotland out of the EU. They voted Remain because they maintain that this is a decision for the people of Scotland. A decision that can only be made by the people of Scotland after independence.
There were also those who voted Remain tactically – because they recognised the opportunity to highlight Scotland’s distinctive political culture.
Many voted Remain in defiance of their anti-EU convictions because they found the Leave campaign so objectionable.
Add all of these together and the estimate of 40% of SNP members voting Leave starts to look pretty ridiculous.
And what does it matter anyway? The EU referendum was never split along party lines. Nobody is making a silly fuss about how the members of other parties voted. Once again, we see the SNP being held to a different standard. And a standard which, on cursory examination, turns out to be utterly meaningless. SNP members were as entitled as anyone else to vote in the EU referendum according to the dictates of their conscience.
The inane hysteria in parts of the British media about how SNP members voted has but one purpose. It is a woefully pathetic effort to sow division. It won’t work.
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