LETTER OF THE WEEK.

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Originally published in the National. Easily the best letter I have read this week.

Dear Sir,

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.

Yours Faithfully

Edward Andrews. Nairn

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8 thoughts on “LETTER OF THE WEEK.

  1. Would agree with most of that, but I think it could have been challenged much earlier. It must have been obvious that large numbers of people coming from Labour, in particular, would bring with them the same mindsets that have brought Labour low – aspirational, yes, but almost universally and humanly impossible to achieve, in reality, without bloodletting. In the end, they became an end in themselves.

    Had the loss of the referendum been tackled very differently, with new avenues to independence explored, none of this could have happened to the extent it has because independence would have remained at the centre of the SNP, and we would have been looking to attain it well within the six years that have elapsed between 2014 and 2020. Instead, the whole party machine swung in behind the NO voters when the result showed that the demographics were the real problem, not the message. I know I’ll be slated for saying so, but the truth has to be aired if we are to change things at all. The indigenous Scots won the referendum (53.7% to 47.3%) but still lost, a deplorable state of affairs in a supposedly democratic state that is a founder member of the UN.

    That should have told the SNP analysts and strategists that it was at this indigenous Scottish demographic that it should have been aiming, looking at constitutional alternatives that were still democratic and legitimate in international law. Instead, it let the NO voters by trying to persuade them, call the tune, and independence per se slipped off the radar, and the party’s attention turned to identity politics and other purely domestic interests. Given that the mass of previous Labour newcomers would have had many within their ranks – certainly not all, of course – who had been Militant, for starters, this was a recipe for disaster. Young SNP careerists and entryists swelled their ranks, so much so that the party of independence looks like Labour in Scotland just before it imploded. The party became a mere vehicle for these people to realize their ambitions, and the leadership and the coterie around the leadership did not challenge any of this and actively engaged with these elements to the point that they became an entitled elite and inner circle.

    If there is nothing in the 2021 Manifesto (and before the end of this year, 2020) to suggest that independence is back to being front and centre, with a pledge to introduce it within a short period of election win, the election win itself becoming the democratic mandate instead of another pointless pre independence referendum – which I fear we will lose again, despite all the indications to the contrary – and a ratifying referendum pledged, along with a case based on the Treaty breaching, against the UKG, to be used as either/both a reserve and back-up, and placed before the UN, I think we can be assured that independence will not come within the next electoral term or, indeed, at any time thereafter, by democratic means. We will either disappear off the radar of the world’s nations and become another Greater England region or we will take the Irish route.

    Again, I expect to be castigated for saying it, but the truth is that the second referendum seekers helped to engineer this mess we are in because they allowed the waiting period to extend, allowing the Unionists and assorted identity politics pushers, careerists and entryists time to gain the ascendancy, and the vast majority of those do not put independence as a priority. A second indyref was always going to be refused. Insisting on this route as the only viable route, never mind a S30 Order, that’s another story, any PRE independence referendum at all, has helped to derail independence. The is the horrible irony at the heart of this almighty mess.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Again , absolutely spot-on , alas , I haven’t yet succumbed to utter dejection at the current state of our aspiration , but I fear what needs to be done won´t be , This has become a survival-at-all costs strategy for the FM , even if the cost means tearing the Independence movement apart

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up in England, having been born in Edinburgh to a Scots mother and Geordie father. Ive always wanted to see Scotland independent.
    We moved to Scotland in Summer 2019.
    During 2014 we were on holiday, staying with my cousin, but spent a few days on Skye at a b&b. I got talking to the landlady about Indy, she was undecided but leaning to No as her husband was on the rigs. As my wife, born & bred in London, watched on we discussed the oil industry and how Scotland had not benefitted from the profits of its black gold. How the Country could prosper both in terms of social, educational and economic terms from being independent. I explained our experience in England (London) and the challenges we faced with our son being Down Syndrome, loss of services, support and how the various Governments had failed to redress the societal challenges for people with special needs, despite the wealth from oil, but the City of London had not suffered. By the time we left she was firmly YES and fully committed to turning her husband to that position.
    I was CLP Secretary of my local Labour branch and saw how vested interests turned it and the wider Labour movement into what it us now. No longer representative of the very people it was established to protect.
    I joined the SNP when we moved to New Cumnock as I have always followed it from afar. I can say in the short time I have been a member it is clear there has been a shift towards issues that are not Independence and which will ultimately see that aim fade.
    The YES movement gained much momentum in the latter stages of the campaign in 2014, as it was grassroots driven, despite the SNP providing the political vehicle for the referendum, that kind of momentum will be very much needed to drive the delivery of a YES vote in the next referendum.
    The apparent disconnect by the SNP leadership from that movement is becoming glaringly obvious, from the charges of racism when the border protest took place, I happened to be there and it wasn’t racist or provocative, to the way SNP MP/MSP address support on social media when awkward questions are posed or alternative actions are called for, S30 won’t happen under any Westminster Government. The closing of comments on Twitter accounts.
    The failure of the SNP hierarchy to support the current crowd funded legal case shows there is an apparent lack of will to pursue alternatives. This in turn is frustrating the grassroots movement and understandably so.
    The senior indy voices in the SNP need to speak out and inform the vested interests within the SNP that if they want to see social improvements in their rights, especially gender based matters and hate speech then Independence is what they too need. These matters are not separate but linked.
    A written constitution will enable these changes, Westminster will not make these changes no matter who controls that Parliament. Nor will they devolve more powers to Holyrood even if we fill it with fully Indy supporting MSPs.
    Despite this unprecedented time and threats from a global pandemic the SNP needs to maintain a focus on its primary purpose and have someone, who is committed and capable and speaks with authority to reassure the YES movement and wider population. It is possible to work on both fronts.
    Lets not become the Labour party, that ends badly and our Country suffers as a result.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Even without the persecution of Salmond for the last three years I would have to say that Nicola Sturgeons leadership has not been good enough. She, as the leader, has to take responsibility for the current situation. Loyalty can be a strong weapon but it can also be a strong weakness. Too many SNP members seem to be acting as fan club members rather than clear thinking adults.

    We need a new leadership and a revitalised SNP and yes movement. There is an open goal in front of us and it is criminal that the leadership are looking the other way. If we do not take this opportunity Westminster will roll back devolution and take us back to almost direct control again.

    Liked by 2 people

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