Three SNP MSPs say: Let's fight election as 'Yes Alliance'
SENIOR SNP MSPs want to fight the next General Election on a joint pro-independence platform with the Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party.
Leaked emails reveal that three Nationalist MSPs, including an aide to the outgoing First Minister, would like to contest May's Westminster poll as either a "Yes Alliance" or a "Scotland Alliance".
But Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said the country wanted to "move on".
The independence referendum resulted in a 55%-45% victory for the No side. Within hours, First Minister Alex Salmond announced he would quit as SNP leader, with his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, the favourite to replace him.
A debate is now raging inside the Yes movement on how to react to last week's defeat.
The Yes campaign included the SNP, Greens, SSP and a variety of pro-independence groups and non-aligned individuals.
Although the First Minister has said the prospect of another referendum is dead for a "political generation", Yes campaigners want to keep the coalition of support together. The Sunday Herald can reveal some SNP MSPs favour an electoral pact with other pro-independence parties.
SNP chief whip Bill Kidd emailed his MSPs on Friday to thank them for their "self-discipline" and to pay tribute to the First Minister for his "inspiring" leadership.
In a response to all MSPs, Edinburgh Pentlands MSP Gordon MacDonald wrote: "The next round is GE [General Election] 2015. What about getting agreement with Greens, SSP, etc and stand as YES Alliance? The unionist vote would split between Labour, Tory & Libdem. We would do decidedly better than the small numbers of MPs we got elected last time.
"The SNP only got 491k votes in 2010 & referendum achieved 1.6M for YES!"
Joan McAlpine, a South of Scotland MSP who is also one of Salmond's parliamentary liaison officers, said: "I was thinking along the same lines. We have some very talented people who could stand such as Richard Arkless of Business for Scotland."
Fellow list MSP Chic Brodie said: "Think Gordon's idea is right. We intend to keep the campaign group together locally.
"The basis of the policy is there in the white paper, although we recognise that individual candidates might deviate on some issues. That is healthy so long as the overriding agreed policy is to sustain Scottish independence.
"I would suggest name does not include YES but call it Scotland Alliance."
Sensing a flurry of correspondence was becoming unhelpful, former minister Bruce Crawford emailed all SNP MSPs: "Look folks I know we all keen to move on after Thursday. But can we not just keep our own Counsel on these ideas at the moment. Let's wait and see what the next few days bring and let the dust settle before we start mapping for the General Election."
A cross-party alliance would be fraught with difficulties.
Keeping the independence issue on the agenda for the next general election could be seen as ignoring the outcome of last week's vote.
Another drawback is the wildly varying policy platforms of all the parties. The SNP is in favour of the market economy, while the SSP is anti-capitalist.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens want to reduce the country's reliance on oil, but the SNP wants to explore the full potential of the North Sea.
Michael Coyle, an SNP councillor in North Lanarkshire, said he backed the idea of a cross-party alliance at the General Election.
He said: "All political parties involved in Yes should sit down together and co-operate. We should try and get rid of every sitting Labour MP who was against the Yes campaign."
Carlaw said: "Before the ink is even dry on the referendum ballot papers, we have three SNP malcontents seeking to dress up and pose as some sort of trio of comic book avengers.
"If they choose to make themselves a laughing stock, well and good.
"The rest of Scotland wants to move on, to see the new Scottish settlement within the UK implemented and to return to the agenda of everyday issues which has been sidelined during the prolonged referendum debate."
An SNP spokesperson said: "The SNP looks forward to contesting next year's General Election."