Originally published in the National. Easily the best letter I have read this week.
In 1984 in Oceania there was the inner party. In Scotland in 2020 there is the inner party. Kevin McKenna suggests that it is without pity. My concern would be that it appears to have a lack of morality.
In a way, it was a misfortune for the SNP to grow so quickly in the aftermath of the Referendum. What has previously been a small but active party grew into a party of which the headquarters were simply unable to deal with the growth, and for which the local branches had not the support to integrate the new members.
The much-vaunted direct democracy actually fell down in that while in the past the membership had known each other and could make informed choices, many members when confronted with a list of candidates for office in an on-line election, could almost pick them with a pin. A reasonably small number who are united could in fact make choices which may not reflect the general feelings of the members. We have the same with the choice of the placing of list candidates by on-line voting.
The problem is that, first of all the SNP is the only viable party for the efficient government of Scotland, and secondly, the SNP is the only political party which has both got a real political profile in that it can win first past the post seats, and which has at the centre of its policies a commitment to an Independent Scotland. The result is that if you either want Scotland governed effectively, or you want an independent Scotland, and especially if you want both, you have to vote SNP at least in your constituency.
The effectiveness of the SNP government when compared with the mess which is demonstrated at Westminster easily makes the argument for independence.
However the people at the centre of the SNP – the Inner Party, are ordinary human beings. They are not perfect and none of them are the Messiah (and we remember Brian McNeill’s comment about the Tartan Messiah in “No God’s and Precious Few Heroes”). Unfortunately there is no effective challenge to the present situation, and there is a level of linked families which is concerning. So many of the leading lights (not just the Leader and the Chief Executive) are partners of each other, or have been, or are children of past luminaries, that having it shown diagrammatically would be informative. It is very easy for people to get comfortable, and suffer from a feeling of entitlement.
George Robertson (Lord Robertson of Port Ellen) is often mocked for saying that Devolution would kill nationalism stone dead. The problem is that in its present situation there is a danger that the aspiration for independence will get lost in the daily struggle of the Party to provide a cogent government.
The questions about the activities of the Inner Party in the prosecution (or persecution?) of Alex Salmond and the behaviour of the NEC, are opening divisions in the party, and the blatant immorality of some of the reported actions demonstrates fissures which if left will destroy what has been an exceedingly successful political party into which many of us have given considerable commitment.
It is essential that those who care about Scotland becoming an independent nation at the earliest moment possible, act to stop the Careerists, Entryists, and Special Interest Advocates from taking the party in directions which will very quickly lose the support of the people of Scotland and mean that it will truly be generations before Scotland can become an independent country.
Edward Andrews. Nairn
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