A saltire backdrop and the monotone voice of John Mason launched the SNP Manifesto this morning in Glasgow. Elected in July 2008 in the Glasgow East by-election, Mason attempted to position the SNP as Scotland’s champion – whilst it was clear from the lacklustre atmosphere that the SNP are struggling to be anything but the invisible party of the 2010 election.
A brief glance at a breakdown of the language used in the manifesto shows a pretty clear narrative. The SNP may claim to no longer be a single issue party but it is very hard to see beyond the national interest in terms of the way they describe what they are setting out to do. More than any other major party, the SNP also managed to mention themselves a significant number of times in their own manifesto:
Word cloud courtesy of Wordle
Building on the nationalist theme at the manifesto launch, Alex Salmond positioned the people of Scotland and Scotland’s finance as a priority in the SNPs election campaign, reclaiming the phrase he had been using widely at the weekend, saying that he wanted to protect Scotland from cuts being made by "tweedle dumb, tweedle dumber and the tweedle Dems".
He urged Scotland to vote SNP and achieve a balanced parliament, saying that he would use influence in a hung parliament to ensure that key projects such as the new high-speed rail networks should start in Scotland at the same time as in London.
The SNP is hopeful of returning 20 MPs in the election, and Salmond welcomed the idea of a hung parliament, presenting it as an opportunity for Scotland. He said that a hung parliament could be "an opportunity our nation can seize by voting for more than just a politician". Nick Clegg will be pleased.