Bruce Crawford, MSP for Stirling, spoke at the Union on Monday night as part of SUSNA’s campaign launch event for the upcoming Scottish elections in May.
With under 100 days to go until polling day, Crawford set out his arguments for why people in Stirling should vote for the SNP in both their constituency and list votes, arguing that it was “the most important election ever contested in Scotland”, and that to be able to call a second independence referendum, the SNP would require a majority.
We need to break the system a second time… Make it SNP 1 and 2.”
Prior to 2011, it was assumed by many commentators to be near-impossible for any party to acquire a majority in the Scottish Parliament under the Additional Member system, which allows for a degree of proportionality.
Without the majority the SNP achieved in 2011, there may have never been an independence referendum.
Crawford claimed that SNP voters didn’t have the luxury to vote for an alternative party in the List vote, and said doing so ran the risk of handing more regional seats to the Labour Party.
He was intensely critical of Scottish Labour, asking listeners to try and name a single Labour MSP who could do a better job in government than anyone in the current SNP cabinet.
Crawford defended the SNP’s record in government, praising free tuition, the NHS, and the police for seeing crime fall to an historic low. He expressed concern that if the SNP lost their majority, not only would they not be able to call a second independence referendum, but that Scotland might “lose our social gains”.
Finally, the MSP added, on his own election campaign:
I personally have got some unfinished business to take care of.”
He cited examples such as Trident and the House of Lords – “the biggest unelected chamber in the world outside of China” – as well as a possible future independence referendum, which he claimed could arrive “earlier than expected”, depending on the outcome of the referendum on EU membership.
Crawford expressed confidence that the Yes side would win any rerun of the 2014 referendum, citing the size of the SNP’s activist base and its social media savvy and presence, which he declared “the Unionists can’t beat.”
Crawford was joined at the event in Venue by Steven Patterson, MP for Stirling, and Keith Brown, MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane.