Theme: Society & Culture | Content Type: Journal article

Staying Power: The Resilience of the Scottish Independence Movement

Lesley Riddoch


K. Mitch Hodge

| 1 min read

This article challenges the narrative that the SNP was mortally wounded by its ‘seismic’ by-election defeat in Rutherglen and that the victor—Scottish Labour—will inevitably recapture its lost status as Scotland's largest political party in the next general election. There is no question the Rutherglen result was a shock—the first ever by-election loss for the SNP in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon's surprise resignation, a fractious leadership contest to select her successor, the weariness and policy failures that beset any ruling party after sixteen years in government and the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that effectively banned the Scottish Parliament from holding a lawful referendum. But just as the SNP's earlier invincibility was exaggerated, so too are predictions of its imminent demise. Much depends on whether the party can devise an independence strategy that generates enough belief and excitement to motivate Yes voters, who still constitute roughly half the electorate and two-thirds of Scots aged 30 and under.

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    Lesley Riddoch

    Lesley Riddoch is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, author, cyclist, land reform campaigner

    Articles by Lesley Riddoch
Volume 94, Issue 4

Latest Journal Issue

Volume 94, Issue 4

Includes a collection on Scottish Politics After Sturgeon, edited by Ben Jackson and Anna Killick. This features articles such as 'Independence is not Going Away: The Importance of Education and Birth Cohorts' by Lindsay Paterson; 'Diary of an SNP First Minister: A Chronopolitics of Proximity and Priorities' by Hannah Graham; and 'Politics, the Constitution and the Independence Movement in Scotland since Devolution' by Malcolm Petrie. There are a wide range of other articles including 'Unlocking the Pensions Debate: The Origins and Future of the ‘Triple Lock’ by Jonathan Portes and 'The Politics of England: National Identities and Political Englishness' by John Denham and Lawrence Mckay. Finally, there is a selection of book reviews such as Branko Milanovic's review of Equality: The History of an Elusive Idea by Darrin M. McMahon, and Alexandre Leskanich's review of Cannibal Capitalism by Nancy Fraser.

Find out more about the latest issue of the journal