THE PROBLEM WITH ASKING QUESTIONS
It is inevitable that there will be questions surrounding the activities of any political party. Normally these cause little problem and can be easily answered and explained to the satisfaction of all, or certainly the vast majority.
The problems only start when the questions are not answered and when those who should be doing the answering and explaining hide behind a wall of silence and evasion.
Such action makes things invariably worse than they need be. It convinces those asking the questions that there is indeed something here that can’t be answered without revealing something quite major, embarrassing or very wrong indeed. If the questions being asked are on very serious topics it is highly unlikely avoidance in answering will be a successful strategy. The problem will escalate with those determined to get the answers and seeking the appropriate measures taken to solve the problem.
I believe under the Constitution the National Secretary is obliged to investigate any member in the event of any serious complaint being made. This requirement seems to have been ignored. It is not the only one.
Parties have procedures for dealing with these situations, well established ones which often go back decades and have been used successfully with many varied disputes and disagreements to resolve any matter. It often starts with the suspension of those involved and a panel being established of widely trusted, experienced and respected individuals who examine the issues thoroughly, prepare a detailed report of the events and dispute and make recommendations which can involve reprimand and censure all the way up to expulsion in the most serious cases, or of course finding everyone being cleared of all wrongdoing.
Now let me talk about today’s problem. It is serious, very serious. It involves two major problems. The first and most serious is that there was most certainly a malicious plot, involving a number of very senior SNP members and staff, to fit up the previous leader of the Party, with the initial intention to keep him off the approved candidates list but which escalated until criminal sexual allegations were made and a very public trial took place.
In the course of the trial it became obvious that these allegations were not believable to a jury. Not remotely believable, and every single charge was thrown out by a jury comprising more women than men. Some of the allegations were disproved i.e. they never happened. The evidence proved that the most serious charge was shown to be a fabrication. A fabrication that could have resulted in the innocent person being jailed for an extensive period, perhaps the remainder of his natural life. Now if this despicable and dangerous behaviour is not worthy of a disciplinary investigation to establish the truth of the matter and take whatever disciplinary action is deemed fair by the investigating panel, then there seems little point in claiming that any fair and effective system still exists in the Party.
Now it has been suggested as an excuse that no action is possible because the court imposed restrictions to keep their identities secret. Any investigation and actions can be carried out effectively by using the same alphabet system as the court used themselves. There is no need to publicise their names, there is a need for justice to be carried out. It is a spurious excuse, the ruling refers to not making public their identities, not absolving them from confidential disciplinary proceedings. Anyway any investigation needs to be wider than just those who made the allegations themselves, but all those involved, including their male allies and they have no court ruling in place to keep their identities secret.
I know what the problem is. It is that these people are senior, the recent expose of the Party’s CEO being involved only makes it more difficult. I had no idea of this until it became public knowledge but it only serves to emphasise why there can’t possibly be a blanket refusal and cover up to deny the established disciplinary procedures of the Party, just because of the identity of those who require to be investigated are so senior.
People talk about this issue splitting the SNP and the Yes Movement and I agree it is but the solution is to use the well established systems within the Party, that have always been used in the past to resolve such matters, not allow those responsible to walk away without penalty, perhaps be candidates in next May’s elections, does that remotely sound like fair justice to you? It will not work it will infuriate, it will explode.
So the solution to achieve unity is not to hide but to act. Doing nothing is not an option. Sorting out the NEC will also have to be tackled as I would presume the investigation panel might include some of them and that would need to be a fair balance, indeed it might be better to involve members of standing outside the NEC perhaps chaired by a former senior figure. She will not thank me for the suggestion but the Former Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick has the reputation for honesty and fairness and the authority amongst the broad membership to be seen as an effective Chair. I am looking for solutions and peace in our time here. It can be sorted quickly if the will exists and it has worked in the past, including investigations involving senior people.
There really is no excuse unless you accept party democracy and the Constitution is there to be totally abused by the powerful at will. If that is the case, then you have surrendered to the powerful the one Party that was genuinely controlled by the membership. You will have betrayed all the members over all the years who fought to keep the Party free of such intrigue and in the hands of the Ordinary Party Members. You will have invited and welcomed the Westminster corrupt system of Political fixing into your own home. It will never be the same again.
Let’s get the investigation organised and underway, behind closed doors, and let us all unite and get back to campaigning TOGETHER for INDEPENDENCE.
I am, as always
YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.
If you enjoyed this article take out a free subscription to this site which is available on the Home and Blog pages of this website. You will be most welcome. As always my articles can be shared, indeed I welcome when this happens.