SNP Students

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SNP Students
Chairperson David Buckley
Membership 5,415
International affiliation European Free Alliance Youth
Website
snpstudents.com

SNP Students (also known as the Federation of Student Nationalists) is the student wing of the Scottish National Party, representing students in Scottish higher education. It was formed in 1961 when various student organisations supportive of Scottish independence and the Scottish National Party in particular decided to join forces into a new constituent body.

Unlike Young Scots for Independence, which is the youth wing of the SNP, the group is for those in higher education and membership is not restricted by age.

The organisation has branches at most of Scotland's universities, and regularly campaigns for independence and a host of other policies across the country.

It is an autonomous body of the SNP and as such can devise its own policies, publicity and campaigns. Unlike the SNP it is expressly republican, and has in the past exhibited socialist sentiments.

History[edit]

The organisation was formed in 1961 and key figures were Neil MacCormick and Allan Macartney who would both later become SNP members of the European Parliament.[1] By 1975 the group had around 1,500 members in Scotland.[2]

It has played an active part in the affairs of the SNP and is represented on the party's National Executive Committee, in the past with a representative position shared with the Young Scots for Independence, but now each organisation has its own representative. The SNP Students can send up to 15 delegates to the SNP Annual National Conference and 6 delegates to meetings of its National Council.

In the 2000 SNP leadership election the organisation supported Alex Neil[3] who lost to John Swinney. In the two subsequent leadership campaigns the organisation did not officially endorse any candidate.

It has informal links with Cymru X, the youth wing of Plaid Cymru, and is an affiliated organisation of the European Free Alliance Youth, campaigning for autonomy in stateless nations across the European Union.

As of February 2015 they had a membership of 5,415 people who were at colleges and universities across Scotland.[4]

Activity[edit]

The SNP Students has been very active in recent years, organising high-profile campaigns on issues such as Equal Marriage, zero-hours contracts and the stripping of charitable status from fee-paying schools.

In September 2008, during a debate at the University of Edinburgh, a student member stated that the SNP Students executive was opposed to the proposals from the SNP-led Scottish Government to raise the minimum purchase age for alcohol in off-sales from 18 to 21.[5]

In 2012, during the SNP's policy change on NATO membership of an independent Scotland, SNP Students publicly came out in favour of retaining the anti-NATO policy,[6] however at SNP conference the vote was lost despite SNP Students delegates voting against, and as a result the SNP is now pro-NATO.

At the SNP students conference in 2015, they voted in favour of reintroducing rent controls in Scotland.[7][8]

Organisation[edit]

Past National Convenors include Nicola Sturgeon, Jamie Hepburn and Rob Gibson. Former SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond was the organisation's National Organiser in the 1970s in his time at St Andrews University.

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacCormick, Neil (26 August 1998). "Obituary: Allan Macartney". The Independent. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Student paper pledged to fight Left". The Glasgow Herald. 21 October 1975. p. 4. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "SNP members take sides". BBC News. 27 July 2000. 
  4. ^ Burden, Louisa (20 February 2015). "Students are engaged in politics - but the system doesn't let them show it". The Independent. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Philip, Andy (20 September 2008). "We oppose the SNP plan to raise alcohol buying age, says party's student wing". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Whitaker, Andrew (7 August 2012). "Guerrilla campaign plotted by SNP rebels in Nato row". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Armour, Robert (17 August 2015). "Rent control campaign gathers momentum". Third Force News. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Gray, Michael (17 August 2015). "SNP students call for Scottish Government to back rent controls". Common Space. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 

External links[edit]