SNP scores own goal in troubled times with new independence taskforce

The SNP have incensed voters by launching an “independence taskforce” during a time of crisis.

Insulated insiders have responded to complaints from within the party that not enough is being done to take advantage of momentum towards Sottish independence in the polls, reports the Herald. In response, deputy leader Keith Brown has pledged to “ramp things up” with a shiny new taskforce which will act as “the final piece in the jigsaw that will help deliver independence.”

Westminster MP Kenny MacAskill, alongside other senior Scottish Nationalists, recently attacked the party HQ, run by Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell, for its shoddy performance.

In an effort to answer those concerns, Brown has said the new taskforce at HQ would be a “dedicated team to focus on delivering a Yes vote”. 

Their objective is to “lay the foundations of the referendum campaign” with campaign materials and a national information service in advance of May’s Holyrood elections.

But enthusiasm does not go much further than the SNP, given the challenges members of the public are facing with the pandemic, compounded by the threat of a double-dip recession.

The Scottish Conservatives are outraged, describing the creation of a “separation taskforce” in anticipation of an independence referendum that the government in Westminster has ruled out as “rash and incredibly self-indulgent when the country is struggling through another lockdown.”

Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross said: “The SNP are ramping up their push for Indyref2 this year while the rest of Scotland is worried about their jobs and when they’ll get the Covid vaccine.

“They are stuck in the Holyrood bubble with no clue about the priorities of people across Scotland.

“Their shameless push for another referendum this year would wreck our recovery from the pandemic. We need to focus on building up Scotland, not breaking up our country.”

MSP Ana Sarwar, who is currently deputising as Scottish Labour leader said: “The SNP’s priorities are wrong.

“Right now, political leaders should be focused on the coronavirus crisis, the vaccination programme and creating stability for the people of Scotland.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, what is needed is a taskforce on jobs, health and education – not on independence.”