The point is that the vast majority of clubs do not want to "step up". The main reason for that is that the players do not want it. Look at the current Threave / St Cuthbert situation. Think about why Hawick Royal Albert aren't even the best team in Hawick. Playing football at non-league level, certainly in Scotland, is a social thing. Getting one over the guys you went to school with, or who come from the other side of town, is far more important than progressing up a pyramid. There's much more kudos in winning a local league against your rivals than winning one against people you don't know and have no connection with.
Recent changes to the structure of football in Scotland - the Lowland League and the Junior Super and Premier Leagues - have already had a detrimental effect on clubs. Those that don't want to participate are protecting themselves.
Conversation at the Oakley v Dundonald match the other night, involving committee men from several clubs, was all about trying to return to a Fife League. The Juniors have a "working" pyramid system, albeit with a glass ceiling, but it's not that popular. Burntisland, Lochore, Lochgelly, Dundonald and Glenrothes are within ten miles of each other, yet could all be playing in different leagues next season. The view of the people that matter, clubs and players, is that this is stupid. The views of pyramidistas, armed with spreadsheets / reprieves / sideways transfers and goodness knows what should be confined to Fantasy Football.
If you really must open up the SPFL to promotion / relegation, then let those winners from each of the six old junior regions, plus the Highland and Lowland Leagues who want promotion to play off to decide an opponent for the SPFLs 42nd side. Quite possibly none of the eight would be interested.
Alternatively just expand the SPFL to 44 by letting Spartans and East Kilbride in. Nobody else is that bothered.
But that's not the point. Nobody has to step up if they don't want to, but they have no right to stand in the way of those who do. As I said before, Scottish football is awash with options for clubs who want to remain in local/regional football. What it has lacked is a way for those who want to move towards the SPFL to do so. Actually it is mandatory top take part in the play offs. Brora didn't want to take part but had to.
Scotland is no longer awash with leagues for clubs that want to play local football. The destruction of the 6 Juinior Regions and the emasculation of the East Seniors has seen to that.
The Lowland League was setup to facilitate clubs like Edinburgh City moving up the system and, ultimately, into the SPFL. Whether they fall flat or not remains to be seen but is not the point anyway. The point is that a club that wants to join the main system has a way of doing it which doesn't involve sitting on its hands for 20 years waiting for another club to fold. Correction, the Lowland League was set up a) to get Spartans promoyed and b) get Regan his bonus. Edinburgh City officials themselves were not that bothered about going up. They realise it may well end in tears.
As for opening up the SPFL to promotion/relegation, that's already happened. I don't see why the juniors would be involved given they are so furiously against it. The Juniors should have the right to qualify for and then refuse to play in the play offs. They are, after all, overall the highest standard of football outside of the SPFL.