The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

Stronger for Scotland: The SNP government is heading in an ever more authoritarian direction [Image:].

I’m publishing quite a long extract from this article, in anticipation of a knee-jerk backlash from supporters of the SNP.

Nationalist parties tend to be authoritarian, so many of these developments may be no surprise to informed commentators.

But is this really what the people of Scotland thought they were getting when the SNP promised to fight for freedom from the United Kingdom?

It may seem inappropriate to compare the SNP with right-wing nationalist governments in Poland or Hungary. Unfortunately as the Scottish government, led by Nicola Sturgeon, heads in an ever more authoritarian direction, such comparisons are increasingly justified.

Examples of this tendency range from the trivial to the far more serious. Most recently, Donald Trump’s comments about Muslim immigrants, led to calls from the SNP for him to be banned from entering the country as a “hate preacher”. While many may agree with this, the former SNP leader Alex Salmond went one step further. He not only endorsed a ban, but said Scotland should be banning ‘all Donald Trumps’. It reminds me of a nightclub bouncer compiling a list of undesirables who aren’t allowed entry on a Saturday night. It would be interesting to see Salmond’s list of who should and shouldn’t be allowed into the country.

It’s not just differing views which the SNP are uncomfortable with, but differing lifestyles. The Scottish government are currently seeking to ban the sale of cheap alcohol in an attempt to control the behaviour of Scottish drinkers. Unlike the English or Welsh who have resisted such moves, the SNP believe we Scots can’t be trusted with cheap alcohol. The only reason it’s not in force is because the EU court raised concerns about restrictions on free trade.

A more sinister development is the SNP plan for a named person or ‘state guardian’ for every child. This will grant the state unprecedented powers over families. Proponents of the law advocate that it provides a point of contact for families. But the status quo already has various routes for families needing support. The real change is the Scottish Government having arbitrary and intrusive powers into every family in Scotland. Former chairman of Scotland’s Children Panel Advisory Group Joe Knight described it as “an erosion of parental rights and responsibilities.”

The disturbing point is not just that every child will have a named person intervening in their lives, but the SNP presumption that every child needs such a person. On this issue as on many others of personal responsibility, the SNP government is convinced it knows best.

The SNP’s super ID database is even more troubling. It’s not exactly clear how our private information would be monitored under the scheme, but filling in an innocuous form at your local NHS dentist could result in the information being circulated to 120 public bodies, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Privacy campaigners have called on the Scottish government to ditch the scheme, as it will allow widespread data mining and profiling. Tellingly, the proposals are not being treated as primary legislations and are being forced through without parliamentary debate. On this issue as well, the SNP are allowing little dissent.

Arguably, the most authoritarian development of all is the SNP’s passing of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act. Under this law, fans’ behaviour must be monitored in order to see whether it merits an arrest. Yet so broad is the legislation that fans can be questioned and even arrested simply for the clothes they’re wearing, or the songs they’re singing.

The SNP’s approach to Donald Trump and football fans is remarkably similar. Rather than enlighten, persuade or educate, they opt for the lazy illiberal option of simply banning them.

Source: The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


32 thoughts on “The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

  1. Ron Wilson

    Utter madness, a silly ‘SNP Bad’ piece but on steroids. I’m not going to lower myself to a ding-dong over smears and delusions, but, as one mere example, the Named Person Scheme is far from a sinister (very Daily Mail there) ‘threat’ but a genuine attempt to protect vulnerable children. Indeed, the Supreme Court characterised NP as “unquestionably legitimate and benign” and fully within Human Rights law – once concerns over the sharing of information is tightened up NP will be on the statute book.
    Must try harder Mike – or avoid commentating on issues you know very little about. And that includes ‘Scottish’ Labour’s lame PR’s.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Another smear attempt on legitimate concerns by an SNP adherent (you can always tell – they’re the only ones who refer to articles as ‘SNP bad’ pieces).
      The amount of effort I put into this blog is reflected in its readership.
      Who are you, again?

      1. Ron Wilson

        Serious people – rather than a Labour cheerleader like you Mikey – only need to spend a few minutes on Google to discover for themselves the veracity or otherwise of your ‘understanding’. Congratulations on your blog, often interesting, but your ignorance of Scottish politics – and the different political situation in this country – is as wide as the Clyde. As I said before, don’t talk about things you patently know diddly-squat about.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’ll talk about whatever comes to my attention.
        I don’t recycle patently illogical propaganda and never will – I leave that to people like your good self.
        You should read more of it – you might gain a wider understanding of politics – and good manners – than you display at present.

      3. aunty1960

        This article really is really bad. Peevish playground venom from the small corner. Absolute hatred for Scots and snp and Scotland, Don’t like, then get out and leave Scotland alone. They will not go back to Labour.

        voxpolitical is one of the top high good blogs during this period of terror, pain and austerity and hatred of disabled, women, elderly and all.

        I think Mike Sivier has equal blind blinkered hate and cannot let go.

        I would not say anything snp has chosen to do is enough to call them authoritarian and nationalist – as in nazi nationalist.

        If you do not like Scots fine. Then leave them alone, one day they will leave Britain and be more successful than these whiny poms.

        A truly bad write. Blind obedience to Labour ignores its abuses, like members of the Catholic church.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        This comment really is really bad. Contradictory and childish. Evidenceless and hate-filled. A truly bad write.
        In short, I dispute everything you claim, except where you say Vox Political “is one of the top high good blogs during this period of terror, pain and austerity and hatred of disabled, women, elderly and all”. I welcome those words.
        The rest, I leave for other readers to gaze at in bewilderment.

    2. Mike Sivier Post author

      Oh, and here’s a report on what the Supreme Court, in fact, stated: “Judges at the supreme court have ruled that the Scottish government’s controversial “named person” scheme for supporting children risks breaching rights to privacy and a family life under the European convention on human rights, and thus overreaches the legislative competence of the Holyrood parliament.”

      1. Ron Wilson

        Did you read my reply? One area requiring address is info sharing, which is being dealt with. NP within human rights leg. As you know. Did you pick this Daily Mail campaign doggerel up yourself or via the increasingly irrelevant Slab PR team? Or, heavens above, via the Scottish Tories, whom Labour’s Scottish branch have effectively bent the knee to? Sad.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Did you read the article? There’s a clear link to the source material. Have you contacted with your concerns or are you afraid you’ll get worse than the short shrift you’ve received from me?
        Admittedly, is a smaller-appeal site – only 150,000 readers a month (VP averages more than half a million) – but it is clear comparisons with the Daily Heil are unrealistic.
        Then again, your claims about Scottish Labour are also unrealistic, so perhaps that is all to which you can aspire.

  2. David Woods

    Well their ban would have to include the Saudi royal family as well then (some not very nice people); which would be entertaining (though not for the people of Scotland) as they would quickly find North Sea oil reserves worthless with a floooded oil market or the cost of everything spiralling upwards if they shut the taps off!
    As the Saudi’s would not take the insult lightly!

  3. Dez

    Wow. Watch this space. Appreciate just a sampler of things to come but feels like another bunch of know-it-all MPs in a bubble deciding what is best for the general population. A sign of total power mania. Having secured so many majority seats, the population who they are supposed to represent, have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer relevant apart from doing what they are told. They might, of course, be needed to vote again in the future….if in fact Scotland is still a democracy.

  4. ElaineSkinner

    What a load of bull!! After 40 years as Labour member and activist, and as activist to Gordon Brown in his last term I walked away from a brainwashing Labour that only kept power in Scotland because we stupidly believed their lies/propaganda/scaremongering on SNP! They thought we voters were their possessions, they used and abused us but most of all over the years they failed us by arrogantly thinking Scots would vote for Labour forever more, even when Scotland was pretty much ignored by what was a Blairite Labour over the years. I went from Labour to Labour for Indy, watched SNP, got to know many of the SNP supporters who were very supportive of me and all others who left Labour for Indy and SNP. I joined SNP after IndyRef and as an activist, I have seen and watched their great work they do in our constituencies and for us and also for something related to the whole of the UK. When we, a very staunch Labour constituency (Brown’s) for many decades voted in our SNP MP we finally seen what it was like to have a real hardworking MP, he is very much in touch and accessible to his constituents as is our great and very hardworking MSP. They showed us ex Labour voters/members how useless Labour run constituency had been under Brown, he took his wages but in his last term pretty much abandoned us, our town, his town he grew up in, he was never around preferring to jet off to do speeches for big fees which not a lot went to charity unlike what was written, he had exactly ONE surgery in his last year so constituents couldn’t get to see him about really important problems.Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency and rest of Fife is a shambles as being once 99% Labour. Kirkcaldy is on its death throes under Labour council and what was under Brown’s hands. He crapped on his constituents from a great height so don’t tell me that SNP are authoritarian when I lived through and was lied to, controlled by Labour all these years all because my age group grew up in Labour households, when real Labour existed and Blairite Labour took massive advantage by lying, distorting and spreading propaganda about SNP……who are the bad ones in Scotland, who are no better than Tories in our eyes, thousands of us left Labour over the last few years…..we didn’t join SNP blinded unlike our stupidity of loyalty with a party that gave up on us. We got so politically active that we were in sync very much with our SNP/MPs/MSPs/Councillors, working with them to help our community but coming together as a community. SNP members and delegates hold SNP to account, SNP listen to their members, Labour only crapped on them from a great height. Hell will freeze over before I or many others who have also said, would ever return to Labour. We finally cut the chains they held us with with their lies/propaganda on SNP. Just remember there are 120k SNP members now, we weren’t brainwashed, we gladly voted them in, as a Government who had proved themselves, it was a no brainer we’d vote them in again. We don’t tend to read or buy the crap that is called media, we actually go looking for all the real facts and that is why we know SNP are NOT as the unionist media or the unionist whingers keep bleating about..lies,distortions,scaremongering and propaganda, we’ve had at least 5 years of it, it is like reading fairy tales now when we can be bothered reading the vitriolic hate for them from across the UK.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Many people in the current Labour Party (630,000-strong and growing, thank you very much for asking) would agree with you about Blair and Brown’s New Labour and what it did (or didn’t do).
      However: New Labour no longer exists. Blair, Brown and their successors do not have authority in the party and many of us hope they never will again. Their ‘triangulation’ policies brought the party far too close to Tory thinking.
      So we all have common ground there.
      I notice that you do not address a single assertion about the SNP that was made in the source article. Not one.
      If the claims are false, why are you not demonstrating this?
      One of your fellow SNP supporters tried to make such a claim about the Named Person policy, but I demonstrated very clearly that this was not true; either that person was lying, or they were badly mistaken.
      You say you don’t bother with the media anymore. Where do you get your information, then?
      From the SNP?
      It seems far more likely that this would be the kind of propaganda about which you complain so bitterly.
      I mean, just read your own comment again. Does it really seem the balanced opinions of a person who has all the facts at their fingertips?
      Think about it.

      1. aunty1960

        You will find it is NOT 600,000+ numbers but less, Labour cut and purged 100,000s from vote and also told good people they are banned for years. Yet keep the numbers. There is over 200,000 purged and removed, many wont come back, many new members are so disgusted they wont bother renewing next year. and the joining up as slowed down and even stopped.

        The carnival is over. And Labour has gone back to losing and alienating everyone except a small bunch.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        It really is 630,000+. Those who were suspended are back, those who were purged are back, and many more have joined since the election.
        The reason they are all back is, Mr Corbyn won. He needs our help to restore Labour to what it should be.
        Naysayers like you are a long way behind the times, and that’s fine too. You can be as surprised as the rest when the time comes.

      3. aunty1960

        See 551,000 wiki. and memberships will not be renewed next year, they took the money, purged, removed and told people they wont get their money back. Full annual subs stolen from disabled, low paid, carers, pensioners. but person snuffed out as nothing.

        They are going, and not turning up.Momentum has lost it, alienated normal folk and become a small closed closet social circle again or same names and same faces. and the purging and nasty pms and emails go on.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        The SNP did all the things you mention in the first paragraph, there? Gosh. Why has nobody reported it?
        Oh, you mean Labour? The article is about the SNP; try to keep up.

    2. Ron Wilson

      Mike you demonstrated nothing of the sort re NP. Shouting in a vacuum don’t make it so, readers can make their own minds up. In the meantime I recommend this piece on the WoS site from a woman who had been a ‘looked after’ child.
      Elaine’s heartfelt anger towards a Labour party – a party that voted for austerity, for Trident, for war in Yemen and abstained on Tory welfare ‘reforms’ – that leeched off Scotland for decades is palpable and is shared by many, many people. Campaigning with the Tories in 2014 was the last straw, compounded by a woeful Slab that is once again joining the Tories to put an English Brexit before the wishes and interests of the Scottish people. Which goes some way to explaining why ‘Scottish’ Labour was decimated at both the Holyrood & Westminster elections – and why they are currently heading for single figures in the polls.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        So you reject a balanced news site’s report and put forward an SNP propaganda site’s version instead – and present an outdated image of the Labour Party, to boot!
        When did Labour vote for war in Yemen, by the way? I think that one passed us all by, apart from you true-blue SNP adherents in search of another smear.
        Your arguments are tired, old, inaccurate and demean you in a way that nobody else ever could.
        Instead of putting up these tired excuses for these people, why not actually check out their activities.
        You are making a fool of yourself here.

  5. Joan Edington

    Oh dear, Mike. I can see you filling your Falsehoods of Scottish Nationalists section again. I am not going to partake in any “expected knee-jerk backlash”, since that would imply the article was worth it. There sre a couple of points that could be considered true, agreed, but most are simply retreads of the typical, UK unionist media, anti-SNP rants. Most of us Scots do realise that the SNP are far from perfect, but they are by far the best option to us at the moment. If they are authoritarian, what on earth are the current Westminster crop?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Tories, you mean?
      Yes, they’re authoritarian too. But comparing them is a false argument. The Tories being nasty doesn’t make SNP nastiness acceptable.
      You have taken part in the knee-jerk backlash, by the way. You have complained about the article without providing any evidence to show it is wrong.

  6. Ron Wilson

    Labour are split top to bottom & are unelectable Mike. Take Yemen – your PLP was all over the place giving the Tories carte blanche, see here and never mind Labour – hello Hilary Benn – voting to bounce more rubble in Syria. What a disgrace.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You do realise that the vote on Yemen that you mention could not have compelled the Conservative government to do anything?
      You are correct that it shows up the right-wingers in the Labour Party for what they are. They are the authoritarian side of the party, of course – very similar to your SNP in that respect, according to the article we are discussing. Labour members are working to have them removed as they do not represent the membership.
      Now, please don’t try to shift the focus onto Labour when this is about the SNP.

      1. Ron Wilson

        By that token Mike Labour should simply sit on their hands – but wait, that is exactly what they are doing. As much use as a chocolate fireguard.
        You know nothing – choose to know nothing – about the SNP or the Yes Movement which of course your prerogative, but it does drain away any credibility your blog may wish to seek north of the border.
        I do wonder though that your touching faith in having fellow Labour party members purged – ‘removed’ in your words – will work out as sweetly as you seem to think. The game is still in play and the Right within Labour, having erected a gaudy cage for Corbyn, will strike when the moment is opportune. Watch this space!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I know plenty about the SNP; your problem it seems is that you don’t like what I know. That’s your prerogative, of course, but it does drain away any credibility you may claim at all.
        Your lack of faith in your fellow human beings is interesting. Is it indicative of the SNP attitude, I wonder?

      3. Ron Wilson

        BTW Mike, the political dynamic in Scotland is Independence vs the Union – and that means the Tories, which is why the leader of the Scottish branch of Labour, by putting Westminster rule ahead of Scotland in the EU, will be seen as blowing the same Brexiteer trumpet as the Tories who are already sweeping up the old Labour right wing sectarian Orange vote. Here’s a link to another Labour figure moving over to Indy which I humbly suggest you read

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        So you’re saying people who support the SNP will choose to see the parties in a certain way, whether that is the case or not.
        What an interesting way of putting on the blinkers!

Comments are closed.