By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish National Party revealed that 109 people applied for party membership on Thursday – the day David Cameron came to Scotland to put forward his case for basing nuclear weapons on the Clyde.
On the eve of their recent spring conference, the SNP revealed that the party’s membership had exceeded 25,000, making them the largest political party in Scotland – by far – in terms of membership.
The three main anti-independence parties are all witnessing a decline in membership figures. Labour’s membership has fallen to around 13,000, but many who are still registered as members are no longer active in the party. The Conservatives claim around 8000 members in Scotland, a disproportionate number of whom are believed to be elderly. The Lib Dems are thought to have around 3000 members in Scotland. The SNP now has more members than the three main anti-independence parties combined.
According to a recent opinion poll, 80% of Scots are opposed to have nuclear weapons sited in Scotland. The SNP believe that today’s boost in membership applications is a direct result of popular anger over the Prime Minister’s comments. The Prime Minister claimed that the UK needed to retain its nuclear weapons in order to deter threats such as that posed by North Korea.
However the Prime Minister’s claims were dismissed by defence analysts, who say that North Korea’s missile technology is dated and unreliable. The totalitatarian state will not be able to develop a missile system capable of reaching Europe for the foreseeable future.
The SNP, the Scottish Greens, and the Scottish Socialists all stress that a Yes vote in 2014’s referendum is the only way to ensure that weapons of mass destruction are removed from Scottish soil.
After David Cameron’s intervention into Scottish politics on 8th January 2012 – when appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show – 1,595 new members joined the SNP increasing party membership by 8% in just three weeks.
SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said:
“David Cameron’s visit underlined that the No campaign is Tory-led and Westminster-led – and his lecture about having Trident nuclear weapons dumped on the Clyde for another 50 years summed up exactly why Scotland needs a Yes vote in September 2014. Only a Yes vote can deliver a Scotland free of nuclear weapons.
“As well as being a recruiting sergeant for the Yes campaign, we have to thank Mr Cameron for recruiting another 109 SNP members today – we hope it won’t be another six months before his next visit to Scotland.
“Mr Cameron must think that the people of Scotland were born yesterday – people can see right through the scaremongering of the No campaign. For example, we know from evidence from Vice-Admiral Mathews to Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee – reinforced by defence expert Ian Godden, Chairman of Farnborough International – that an independent Scotland can get defence contracts from the rest of the UK and around the world on the basis of our expertise and industrial and engineering capabilities.
“For David Cameron and the other politicians in the No campaign, Scotland is just a pawn in their political games. As the SNP’s rising membership indicates, people in Scotland want to take charge of their affairs and their nation’s future – which is why we need a Yes vote next September.”