The SNP lost the referendum, but their support has not been diminished. The SNP will probably do well next year.
2014 will be remembered as an important year for Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom. To the SNP, it will be remembered as the year they held a democratic referendum and lost 55% - 45%.
Yes, the SNP lost the referendum, but instead of fading away from the political scene they have been re-energised with a increased support. Since the referendum, membership of the SNP has increased to almost 100,000.
Angus Robertson commented on the increase in November, saying:
“People in Scotland now know that it is only a vote for the SNP which will represent Scotland’s interests at Westminster and hold the No parties to account - which is exactly why support for the party is surging and membership now stands at over 92,000."
Additionally, despite losing the referendum they have seen increases in the polls, with many suggesting they could do extremely well in 2015 and beyond.
The SNP will aim to win a majority of Scotland’s seats next May, whilst Scottish Labour will make the effort to hold onto all their seats, in response to the SNP surge. One of them will be disappointed next May.
2014 was pivotal for the SNP, but 2015 could be just as important for the party, especially if they do get a majority of Scottish seats next year. Furthermore, if Alex Salmond returns to Westminster - along with a large block of MPs - then the SNP will be well placed in the event of a balanced parliament.
But the party will face some challenges. Jim Murphy will take the fight to the SNP. He has high hopes and could prove to be a formidable figure. His election mirrors Alex Salmond’s year’s ago when Mr Salmond was an MP and became party leader, before going on to become an MSP and First Minister.
Jim Murphy has a tougher fight on his hands as the SNP hold a majority in Holyrood, but he could prove to be a tough fight for the nationalists.
Additionally, whilst polls put the SNP on a high, the getting a majority of Scottish seats could prove to be incredibly difficult. Firstly, Labour have dominated Scotland in Westminser in recent years, giving them an advantage. And secondly, whilst the tide has turned in the SNP’s favour, some voters may switch back to Labour to help the party beat the Conservatives in becoming the largest party at Westminster.
But despite all this, the SNP are on the up. 2014 was a great year for them, despite the ‘No’ vote. 2015 could be just as important and could help set up what they hope to be another majority government in Holyrood in 2016.
Will the SNP manage to gain a majority of Scotland's seats in the 2015 general election? Or will Scottish Labour stop their surge?