THE reality has sunk in. We are facing a General Election. Rarely have I felt so unexcited by the prospect for the UK as a whole.

In Scotland, however, there is a real power struggle because, unlike almost all constituencies in England, there could be a real ideological divide between the parties fighting to win. Whether things develop in this way does really depend on how the SNP plays its hand in this election.

As I see it, the SNP has two choices. It can either defend its record in Holyrood. Alternatively, it can fight this as a General Election, setting out its stall to highlight those policies it would promote in an independent Scotland if only it was given the chance to do so.

I say this is a choice, but it isn’t really. The Unionists will want to highlight issues at Holyrood, where the rigged devolution system means that the SNP always governs with one, and often two, hands tied behind its back.

With such little room to manoeuvre within the inadequate budgets that Westminster permits, of course, the SNP track record in Holyrood is not all it could be. It is irrelevant that no other party could make a success of the debacle that is devolved government in Scotland.

However, it is so long since they had a chance to be in power there that everyone has forgotten that fact. In that case, of course the Unionist parties will want to focus on SNP failings at Holyrood.

That is precisely why the SNP has to keep pointing out that this is a General Election, and that this is about determining what happens at Westminster. In that case, it has to promote the agenda it thinks that the people of Scotland would want it to promote there and not rehearse squabbles around Holyrood.

So, the SNP has to talk about Tory failure.

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Then it has to make clear that Labour is destined to fail in the same way as the Tories because it has adopted exactly the same fiscal rules as the Tories – and they are operating within the same, failed, neoliberal economic construct that the Tories have used.

Thereafter it has to point out the cost of this policy choice by Labour, whether that be to the NHS, education, climate change, housing, social care, child poverty, or whatever. The SNP has to make clear that Labour has answers to none of these issues.

Critically, though, it has to make clear it has got those answers. If it hasn’t, what is the point of voting for the SNP in Westminster where they have a very good chance of being the most effective opposition to Labour in the Commons?

To achieve that the SNP has to say it is opposed to austerity. In other words, it has to say it wants more spending.

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It has to say, in that case, where it might tax more, because that will be what the pundits will demand. In other words, it has to set out a policy for taxing wealth which is irrelevant in the context of Holyrood, where it has no power to do that.

And it also has to make clear that it is willing to give people the opportunity to save with the government in exchange for a promise to use the resulting funds raised to invest in the infrastructure and Green New Deal we all need.

It also has to demand proportional representation and an end to the House of Lords.

In addition, it must explain why Scotland needs migration to staff its essential public services, and it must explain how it will properly reward those who work in them.

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At the same time, it has to lay out a genuine green industrial policy, as well as plans for energy, agriculture and so much more.

In other words, it has to fight this election as if it is an election it can win to form a national government that the people of Scotland could be proud of, and want.

The Unionists will want to fight this election both low and dirty. If the SNP succumbs to their demand to do so it can only lose.

What it has to show, instead, is that it has the vision to be a proper government for an independent country. Nothing less will do. It is also the only way it can win.

And, if it needs any ideas, it could take a look at my Taxing Wealth Report. That’s overflowing with them.