The SNP must act like the winners they are

The SNP won the general election in Scotland. They emerged with a majority of Scottish MPs.

There are thirty five SNP MPs against a combined Tory, Labour, Lib Dem total of twenty four.  It doesn’t matter how many seats the Unionist parties managed to win back, they still collectively lost.

When Nicola Sturgeon reflects on the result of this general election she should focus on this most important aspect.  Having done so, her actions ought to reflect the fact that she led her party to victory.  Act like the winner you are First Minister.


After reflection I hope Nicola takes on the fantasist that is Ruth Davidson.  Remember Davidson lost this election.  She amassed just over one third the total number of MPs Nicola Sturgeon achieved.

On any question relating to Tory gains in Scotland, the First Minister’s response needs to be simple and cutting. “Ruth Davidson lost this election.  She has no mandate.  My party won in Scotland”


Winners do not take a backward step.  Take the fight direct to Theresa May.  Insist the UK Government respect the result in Scotland.  You won, you want your place at the Brexit talks and Scotland’s Single Market membership ensured.

Do not prevaricate.  Make it absolutely clear that the SNP is in no mood to play games with a weak and unstable Prime Minister who has plunged the country into chaos, allying itself with right-wing extremists in order to maintain a grip on power.

Nicola’s message on Indyref2 should be: “The Scottish people have spoken through their parliament and they have underlined this by handing the SNP a majority of Scottish Westminster seats.  Unlike you, our mandate has now been consolidated.”

This is how to deal with Unionist triumphalism.  Serve them a dish of cold reality.  They threw everything they had at the SNP in terms of resource.  They colluded with one another in order to maximise the British Nationalist vote in key constituencies.  Yet they still lost.


Barring a collapse of the Tory – DUP alliance, there won’t be another UK general election for five years.  The next Scottish parliament election is scheduled for 2021.  The SNP can therefor afford to take a much harder line with the broadcast media, especially the BBC.

I’m not going to dwell on the BBC’s performance in this general election, save to say they turned it into a mid-term Holyrood style campaign which forced Nicola Sturgeon onto the defensive.  The BBC helped Unionists in their tactical vote strategy.  It also amplified the ‘divisive indyref2’ message by the three Unionist parties.

That last point brings me to my final and perhaps most important point.  The SNP is getting no change from the pro-Union media.  The party needs to alter its strategy and adopt a hard but fair line when dealing with the fourth estate.

It can do nothing about newspapers.  But it can do something about broadcasters.  I include both BBC Scotland and STV in the following.

The SNP should request forthwith that any and all reports, debates and discussions on independence give parity to both sides.  If a pro-Union spokesperson is allowed airtime then a pro-independence spokesperson should also be given airtime.  If two Unionists appear then two Nationalists should also appear … and so on.

If broadcasters refuse to accept this reasonable request then decline invitations to appear on any of their shows until they do.  Instead issue a statement making clear they have refused to ensure balance and parity.  Make the statement short and clear.  Let them read it out day after day, night after night.

If BBC Scotland persists in allowing pro-Union contributors to outnumber pro-Independence contributors then make a very public complaint to the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, then to Ofcom.  Do not let it rest.  You are the Scottish government.

Have short punchy statements ready to hand for those moments when those broadcasters try to doorstep SNP politicians.  Ensure your argument is articulated clearly for the public to understand. Say nothing else to these reporters.

Challenge lies.  I’ve lost count of the number of times BBC and STV presenters have confronted an SNP politician with an untruth.  When it happens do not let the matter go without an apology or an acknowledgement.  Insist that the reporter correct his or her claim before moving on.

Monitor news reports for accuracy.  People trust the BBC.  They believe what they see and hear.  They do so because they have no reason to doubt what it reports.  Give them a reason.

Anyone remember the news broadcasts below?


Good Morning Scotland claimed the UK government had pledged only eight Type 26 frigates during the indyref.  It was a lie.  A one hundred per cent untruth.  Even today though, the BBC refuses to acknowledge 13 frigates were pledged.

Currently the BBC is implying that the SNP didn’t in fact win the general election in Scotland.  Below is an excerpt from the top BBC Scotland news article on Saturday.

This line has been repeated by BBC Scotland presenters.  But why would the SNP need to ‘insist’ it won the election in Scotland?  It did win the election in Scotland.

Why isn’t the BBC reporting this very obvious fact?  Do scientists have to ‘insist’ gravity exists?  Do we ‘insist’ the earth orbits the sun?  No, because verifiable facts do not require to be insisted.  They just are.

The SNP leadership need to stop pretending the BBC is impartial.  It isn’t.  Its Scottish outlet is institutionally corrupt.  You’ll only get balance, accuracy and impartiality if you demand it.  So demand it.

Don’t play by their rules, play by your own.  You have the backing of the entire Yes movement.  If BBC Scotland and to a lesser extent STV defiantly refuse to play fair then they’ll lose viewers, they’ll lose trust and they’ll lose credibility.

The SNP won the 2015 general election in Scotland.  The party won the 2016 Holyrood election.  It won the 2017 Council elections and it’s won the 2017 general election in Scotland.

Act like the winners you are.  If you don’t, then people will believe you did indeed lose.  Ruth’s British Nationalists will then have won.

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28 thoughts on “The SNP must act like the winners they are

  1. Kat hamilton

    Thank you for such wise words and clarity..this article should be forwarded to snp head office as they need constructive advise on their strategy and pr handling…a firmer and more robust style needs to be adopted to counter attack the bolshi and arrogant style of ruth Harrison…her pronouncements are almost Governor General like and acts as if she’s calling the shots…last time I looked we had an snp first minister, and won the election…plus the electorate gave a mandate for indy 2, at a time that’s fitting for our movement…time for a complete re think on so many issues to assert our message that we are nation building to remove ourselves from the mire of west minster and aspire to achieving just that. No apologies or side stepping our core beliefs…

  2. m boyd

    I think the SNP have to get very tough and start to hurt the Unionists through clever policies. They can’t do anything about the BBC but they certainly have the power to decriminalise non payment of the licence; they must be able to put in legislation that can restrict access to and from Faslane; can they not put in a genuine land tax against the sporting estates to fund active farms and make the policy explicit to divide the rural vote; Can they not legislate against the estates threatening to evict Yes voting tenants who put up posters…. why do you think so many tenant farmers put up Tory signs they apparently had to. England may rule the waves but presumably the Scots own our harbours and should hit the Fishermen with a quota tax. Why don’t the SNP towns and cities not charge a congestion fee for those entering and working there from the Tory voting rural hinterland? Means test free Prescription etc, and only home ownership and the right to vote after 20 years residence in this country.

  3. bringiton

    The SNP must consider devolving more responsibility to local governments.
    The Scottish unionist party is in control of many councils and they should be made responsible for raising the cash to pay for health and education etc.
    Those people who voted,in particular for the Tory branch of the unionist party,should be exposed directly to the consequences of that.
    No “more “free” public services,in fact no more public services and social policy in line with what is being implemented in England.
    That is the reality of Tory governance.
    Why should the SNP at Holyrood continue to have to mitigate the excesses of Tory incompetence in London and take a political hit as a consequence.
    Time for some Scots to get real.
    Vote Tory,get Tory.

    1. m boyd

      Couldn’t agree more there is no point in the SNP subsidising Tory pensioners. What makes it worse is that the SNP policies actually encourage cross border migration by Tory voting English who want access to our progressive social care policies…

        1. bringiton

          Love it!
          DUP demanding money for “public services” to make up for the £400m lost on the cash for ash scam they instigated.

  4. Simon

    Thank you for breaking the silence!

    I personally don’t understand how anyone could vote for the Conservative party, especially in Scotland, it’s like an illness of the ego, I won’t go there though.

    It’s completely on it’s head. Ruth D and her bullish personality is enjoying the success of a party she now apparently, if you can believe the newspapers, which you can’t, is threatening to break from. Division suits her just fine when it serves her needs. Her ego is HUGE! She is behaving like she one in Scotland, she didn’t and never will. This is as good as it will get for her in Scotland. I feel she has her sites on becoming the PM though and this is ultimately her goal, at the expense of Scotland. Again, I struggle to understand why people can’t see this.

    Yes, message to the SNP, shake your self down. Strangers will take over an empty house. Ruth is in your front room making a right old mess! Independence is still alive I feel, if you start to believe
    a different story, it will become the reality! Yo won, can you please act accordingly! It’s not just about you, it’s about us all.

    I’ve said it before, avoid playing the media with the rules they created to discredit You. The SNP can’t win or influence in a media designed this way. You need to be bold!

    1. bringiton

      They only recently,I believe,revived the old Conservative and Unionist party logo so it’s a bit rich for the Mooth to now say,well actually we aren’t really a unionist party.
      Dishonesty of the highest order but then again it is the Tories so what can you expect.
      She is in bed now with the other “Unionist” party from across the water and will just have to suck it up.
      Problem is,so will we!

  5. Arthur Martin

    Do as I did, stop paying the licence fee.

    This was the most obvious course of action to me when weighing up my options.
    Rather than sit and moan about the obvious bias and lack of impartiality, I opted to hit them in the pocket. I play by the rules and don’t watch live tv etc etc and get my news from the internet.

    I’m fully behind everything that GA proposes in his excellent article. The BBC will never change, it has a winning formula and knows it, so it’s time the SNP and wider Indy movement took the gloves off.

    In the meantime I will continue to exercise my right to not pay the licence fee, and I’m very much looking forward to my first visit from the goons that will try and frighten me into stumping up again. Any letters they I receive threatening me with legal action will be ceremoniously destroyed. As I said, I play by the rules and without evidence that I am breaking the law, they can GTF!

    1. Tarisgal

      I don’t pay it either and today I encouraged three people to go onto the BBC website and cancel their license. And they did it. It’s a small thing, but that’s nearly £500. they, the BBC, now won’t get. I can sleep tonight. 🙂

      PS: Absolutely agree with everyone here. Time to stop letting MSM lead the discussions on Independence. Time for SNP & ALL OTHER Independence supporting groups to insist on taking the initiative & not allowing MSM to dictate what will be covered by debate (ie devolved rather than reserved matters or vice versa), how debaters will be determined (I was ABSOLUTELY INCENSED that MSM decide our FIRST MINISTER was to enter a 2nd class debate with the ‘also-ran’ party leader Tim Farron who makes NO difference ot any scenarios!), and the ratio of Pro-indy and anti-indy debaters.

      As has been said before, Independence is NOT just about SNP. And therefore, we cannot sit here and blame the SNP for what went wrong in these last elections.(and it is up to us to remind everyone that YES – SCOTLAND WON! Not Ruth, but NICOLA WON!) Independence is about ALL groups and ALL must take a portion of the blame. Yes – Nicola is the one that legally is at the front of the issue and does the debates – perhaps its time she said, “No – get Mike Small’. Or get ‘Peter Bell’. Or get John Robertson… Or, of course GA Ponsonby! 😉 It’s time to make it clear that (half of) SCOTLAND per se is behind Independence. And it is time to make half of Scotland take the initiative and say ‘We’ve had enough. We’re not playing YOUR game anymore. We’re playing by OUR rules!’ (Am I the only one that remembers an old song, Dark Town Poker Club by Phil Harris? “Cause I mean, you always ain’t no, er… Keep playin’ that game according to Mr. Hoyle. You all play this game accordin’ to ME!”)

      “…He said you all see this brand new razor
      I had it sharpened just today
      Now I’m coming in there with my rules
      That you must follow when you play
      Now keep your big bony hands on the table
      While you dealing, please
      And don’t be slippin’ them aces down there
      Er, in between your knees
      And don’t be makin’ all them funny signs
      Like you tryin’ to tip off your hand
      Just talk in American, boy, American
      So’s I can understand
      And don’t be dealin’ off the bottom
      Because ooh that’s rough
      Take five, five, then stop, that’s enough
      Now when you bet put up the chips
      Because I don’t like it when you shy
      Then if you get busted go on out and get some
      I’m gonna be here by and by

      Pass them cards for me to shuffle
      Everytime before you deals
      Then if anything’s wrong, I must see
      ‘Cause I mean, you always ain’t no, er
      Keep playin’ that game according to Mr. Hoyle there…
      You all play this game accordin’ to ME.

      Sorry – but this ole song seemed to me to epitomise what we need to do – instead of always been the loser, we take over, and change the rules to suit what WE want to do! No more being lead thru the nose like bulls… Like bulls, we have the power. We just have to be inclined to USE IT.

      Really good article though and a keeper, for sure!

  6. Robert Graham

    Totally nailed it – lets hope this post is read and absorbed by those who can make the suggested changes ,how many times has these sentiments been voiced , the antics of the bbc in scotland have been well documented , why oh why have they not been listened to when it’s staring everyone in the face this bbc in scotland are an arm of the british establishment they will never be friends make it personal go for the interviewer call out their obvious biased questioning ,dont let them wizz on to the next lie unchallenged .

  7. Alan Johnson

    An excellent article, G A Ponsonby. I hope that you will send it to SNP HQ and that it will have some real influence there.

  8. Doug McGregor

    Well said GA , I agree with you 100 percent , SNP needs to start being a bit passionate , aggressive and demanding . Trying to get the Indy movement going by administering a reducing budget from WM well is NOT enough , let’s get out there pointing out all the faults as soon as they happen and explain the difference that being in charge of your own destiny makes.

    Your BBC comments are spot on.

  9. Geejay

    Write to your SNP MSP / MP and make these points – briefly. And tell them to read social media like this.

  10. Abulhaq

    It was smugness, complacency and poor political ‘intelligence’ that lost SNP seats. The percipient should have seen this neo-unionist ‘resurgence’ coming. The independence cause is too precious to be left solely to an organisation which can occasionally seem reticent about its promotion. The notion that the party frightened the punters by talking about it is nonsensical. The SNP exists to obtain independence through the ballot box, strategically it must always be in view.
    In the light of events and the ‘coup’ which culled leading party figures a profound rethink is necessary in order to breath new life into a cause that is looking rather jaded.

  11. Brian

    Great article… thanks, I’ve sent the link to my (SNP) MP, although he may well have already read it. If he hasn’t he needs to take note and I’ve urged him to do so.
    Among family and friends, there is a view that the 56 had little impact in WM… if you play by establishment rules they will always win. Time to stand up.

  12. Scott Egner

    Good article. I have a hunch that ruth is being groomed for next uk tory leadership bid. She’s being played out as the no nonsense type standing up to Teresa. All stage managed.

    I don’t believe the snp have a choice anyway. If brexit dioes go ahead and departure from single market (as John macdonnell has accepted ) they are pretty much bound by their manifesto to go ahead. Of course the tories can refuse to grant it which gives us the moral high ground.

    As the turmoil continues in london now is a good time for the snp to start promoting more progressive policies such as the national investment bank suggested by commonweal etc and perhaps land value tax. The tories wI’ll make concessions to the DUP so why not bring in more radical policy of the greens? It’s far more likely to regain the Scottish Corbyn supporters – especially those who are yes leaning. Lets go back to basics and remember why all these progressive grass roots YES voters joined the snp.

    We also have to provide a real vision -currency included of how things can be and make it clear that without the powers of money creation the Scottish govt as it stands has one hand tied behind its back.

    Lastly we need to take a leaf out of labour’s Barry gardener’s book and embarrass media interviewers, calling out their shocking bias on live TV
    A referendum is entirely different from a general election but we cant win by taking a conservatIve (no pun intended) approach.

  13. Phil Orchard

    Fantasy. If there were another independence referendum anytime soon it would be lost 65/35. Nicola needs to get back to the day job, and leave the question of independence to the next generation.

  14. Born Optimist

    Just one little point that I don’t think has yet been made elsewhere. The slump in the SNP vote is probably as much an indication that Holyrood is now the clear focus of Scottish voters. Westminster plays second fiddle when the media indicate it is a slam dunk for the Tories (as they did) and there is little visible impact on the quality of life in Scotland from having 50 plus MPs there. Although they had a few notable successes, so far as many voters are concerned they might as well function in the same way as Sinn Fein, the only exception being when there is a hung parliament.
    Fortunately, despite the loss of many high quality MPs, the smaller number of SNP MPs may have a more notable part to play in the current parliament given the parliamentary arithmetic.

  15. Toby Lerone

    Need to spread the load. ATM it’s Nicola this, Nicola that.
    Need more SNP this, SNP that, get more tele-genic MPs & MSPs involved, making Nicola Sturgeon less of an obvious target.
    Corbyn took most of the MSM monstering this time but it will be NS when indyref2 restarts.
    The SNP can make a start by boycotting any future press award ceremonies instead of handing out the prizes.

  16. Geacher

    You dropped 21 seats and lost nearly half a million votes. In two years. Yes you may have “won” the GE in Scotland, but the Big Two are catching up with you but you still consider that you *won*. Crazy. Look at *born optimist*…
    “Fortunately, despite the loss of many high quality MPs, the smaller number of SNP MPs may have a more notable part to play in the current parliament given the parliamentary arithmetic.”
    Born Stupid.

  17. Barry Moore

    What appears to be forgotten is that the threat of indyref2 played a major role in May’s decision to call GE2017. Sine the result is highly likely to have prevented a hard brexit the SNP have already won a major victory – the loss of seats is unfortunate but they remain the 3rd largest party with significant influence in WM politics

  18. Elaine Campbell

    No-one seems to be mentioning the fact that 16 and 17 year olds, and EU nationals were not allowed to vote in GE2017. I believe that many of these would be definite Yes voters.

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