SNP aims to build the “Independence Generation”

63
703

By a Newsnet reporter

Ahead of the SNP’s conference this week, where the party will mark its success in the Scottish Parliament elections, the SNP has set members and supporters across the country the challenge of doubling the party’s membership by the start of the referendum campaign.

Membership of the SNP has doubled since 2003, soaring to over 18,000 after May’s historic election results.  Over the summer membership has grown to nearly 19,000 (18,965 at 30 September).  The SNP is the only major party in Scotland whose membership has grown continuously over this period.

By a Newsnet reporter

Ahead of the SNP’s conference this week, where the party will mark its success in the Scottish Parliament elections, the SNP has set members and supporters across the country the challenge of doubling the party’s membership by the start of the referendum campaign.

Membership of the SNP has doubled since 2003, soaring to over 18,000 after May’s historic election results.  Over the summer membership has grown to nearly 19,000 (18,965 at 30 September).  The SNP is the only major party in Scotland whose membership has grown continuously over this period.

In 2003, the SNP reported 9,450 members.  By 2010 this number had grown to 16,300, when the Labour party was still claiming to be the largest Scottish party in terms of membership, with a claimed 20,000 members.  However, during the party’s Scottish leadership election that year, it came to light that Labour had distributed only 13,135 ballot papers.  The remaining 7,000 claimed as members were in fact members of Labour-affiliated social clubs.  

The Labour party remains very guarded about statistics for its Scottish membership, but it is widely thought that membership has continued to fall and that many of those who are registered as members are no longer active within the party.  Active members are considerably fewer in number.

The Conservative party in Scotland is believed to have under 8,500 members, a disproportionate number of whom are elderly.  Membership of the party in Scotland continues to fall.  

The Liberal Democrats in Scotland claimed 3,763 members in 2009.  Since then the party has entered into a Westminster Coalition with the Conservatives which was deeply unpopular amongst certain sections of the Scottish party and went down to a humiliating defeat at the May Holyrood elections.  

SNP membership has continued to grow throughout the period its Unionist rivals have haemorrhaged numbers.  The SNP now intends to increase its grassroots membership even further to establish a large activist base in order to campaign for Scotland in the upcoming local elections and the independence referendum.

The SNP’s business convener Derek MacKay said he was confident the SNP could build a strong grassroots membership movement to take Scotland forward and help create an “independence generation”, saying:

“In May this year the SNP’s campaign won the support of over 900,000 people across Scotland and since then we have seen membership surge to 19,000 making the SNP Scotland’s largest political party.”

“Over conference we will set out a series of initiatives to increase membership to 38,000 and to welcome new people, from all backgrounds, to the party.”

“From Selkirk to Shetland the SNP is Scotland’s party and we welcome anyone who wants to see the best for Scotland and who wants to play their part in taking Scotland forward.”

“With a referendum on Scotland’s future toward the end of this parliament we all have a stake in building a better Scotland and I hope those who were inspired to vote SNP will be inspired to join us, to be part of the independence generation.”

“There is a myth that membership of political parties is falling.  It may be true in other parties but it doesn’t apply to the SNP.  We want to see as many people in their communities signing up for the SNP and playing their part in taking Scotland forward.”