The SNP is a social democratic political party committed to Scottish independence. The party has been at the forefront of the campaign for Scottish independence for over seven decades.
The early years
The SNP's origins can be traced back to several organisations advocating home rule for Scotland in the 1920s and 30s. In 1928 The Scots National League (formed in 1921) and the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association (formed in 1927) combined with the Scottish National Movement to form the National Party of Scotland.
In 1934 the National Party amalgamated with the Scottish Party to become the Scottish National Party.
A new sang
When the Scottish Parliament met for the first time on the 12th May 1999, it was given to Winnie Ewing, as the oldest member present, to open the proceedings. She did so with the words:
'The Scottish Parliament, adjourned on the 25th March 1707, is hereby re-convened.'
When the Act of Union was given royal assent in 1707, the Earl of Seafield commented: 'There's the end of an auld sang.' The election of a Scottish Parliament almost three hundred years later represented a new sang and a new start for Scotland. Expectations were high that devolution would deliver a real difference and MSPs were cheered into their temporary offices on the Mound.
The 2007 Scottish Parliament and local government elections represented the breakthrough for the SNP. After 8 years of low ambition and low achievement from the Labour/Lib Dem Executive the Scottish people were ready for fresh thinking and a new approach. The SNP provided both.
The SNP’s positive campaign was based on the key theme of making Scotland more successful, with vital health services kept local; more support for small businesses; safer communities; and lower and fairer local tax, leaving more money in peoples’ pockets at the end of every month. The party also had the benefit of a new online election tool which enabled members to target electors with the SNP’s positive message from the comfort of their own homes.
When the votes were eventually counted, the SNP emerged the largest party in terms of both the popular vote and number of MSPs. The SNP had 32.9 per cent of the vote – the highest in the party’s history - compared to Labour’s 32.2 per cent and 47 MSPs compared to Labour’s 46. The SNP had won the election and went on to form a minority adminstration.
Following the election, SNP leader Alex Salmond pledged to lead Scotland with humility and passion and always in the national interest, not for party advantage, quoting the words of Scottish writer Alasdair Gray 'Work as though you lived in the early days of a better nation'.
Together we can make Scotland better
The Scottish Parliamentary election of 2011 marked a turning point in the history of Scottish politics and the Scottish Parliament. Following a hugely positive campaign, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats - a feat made more significant by the fact the electoral system was specially designed to prevent any party gaining overall control of the parliament.
Following the historic win, Leader Alex Salmond announced that the SNP Government would hold a referendum on Independence within 5 years.
During an address in Edinburgh, he said the SNP had "a majority of the seats, but not a monopoly on wisdom". He added that the SNP would carry the hopes of the nation and make it proud.
Once all results were in, the SNP totalled 69 seats, Labour had secured 37, the Tories had 15, the Lib Dems won five, and others totalled three.
Mr Salmond said: "I'll govern for all of the ambitions for Scotland and all the people who imagine that we can live in a better land.
"This party, the Scottish party, the national party, carries your hope. We shall carry it carefully and make the nation proud. Thank you very much.