It is one of the most important jobs in politics. It determines who the candidates will be for your Party. 

In Scotland at the moment it probably means picking the next Government. So it’s a very important task and it is crucial it is carried out fairly and without bias.

Back in the day I served on the Vetting Committee and I frequently supported the applications of people who represented different views and strategies to my own. My consideration was solely “Is this person a credible and capable person who can represent the Party effectively in any election contest and would be a diligent MP?”

How the process worked at that time was the Party created a Central Approved Candidates List, once you were on the list you could approach constituencies you were interested in. Likewise Constituencies had access to the list and could contact you and invite you to apply to their constituency if you were interested. Neither the Vetting Committee nor the NEC had any say in which seat you contested,  that power was held entirely by the membership of the individual constituencies. There was never any question of any public statement about a potential candidacy until you had been officially selected as the candidate.

Boy has that all changed. Social media is full of people claiming they are standing for individual seats, launching campaign videos all long before they are selected as the candidate for the seat. I can’t help but think this is very confusing to members and the general public as well. 

The whole set up has changed and the NEC seemed to have muscled out a much greater role for itself, at the expense of the ordinary membership. Candidates at vetting are now expected to declare which seat or seats they are interested in. This is a recipe for NEC control. If you want to apply for a seat where one of their favourites or members are planning to contest you may, more likely you will, face a tougher approval process, particularly if you would be a strong candidate and threaten their favoured runner. Timings can come into it, a Woke candidate can be passed quickly and out there with their local campaign well underway while their rivals are still held back at vetting. I mention this because a few constituency office bearers from various constituencies have mentioned this to me that they have experienced those problems. They are not happy!

That would be bad enough but I am hearing that on top of the all women shortlists that have been imposed on a number of constituencies, the NEC have also given themselves the power to review shortlists and add further candidates from the BAME section of the Party if the chosen short list does not provide sufficient places for minority groups. This in my view is completely outrageous given the shortlist has been selected by the constituency members. It is their candidate for the area they live in they are selecting, not the NEC’s choice. What do they know about your local area?

This is what happens when the Party falls into the hands of a well organised clique, led by senior figures in the Party not necessarily fronting it up but controlling it in the background. That is what has happened here.

Not only have they gummed up the NEC they are also using the Vetting Committee to promote their own and disadvantage those who don’t share their vision of a Woke agenda.

This is no small matter, who MP’s and MSP’s are will shape and influence policy for years to come. If that policy is alien to the population of Scotland there will be an adverse reaction that could destroy the political fortunes of the Party. The social architects and brains behind the clique efforts are not as clever as they think. Trying to achieve social engineering change through taking over and abusing a few committees of a political party is not a sustainable position. As sunlight breaks through and more and more people will realise what has being going on, then there will be a reaction. I hope a strong one because that is what is going to be needed. This clique has a firm grip, a very firm grip. It’s going to take a lot of delegates to organise properly and work together to replace the clique with members whose main interest is delivering Independence 

Now if the Woke candidate has used their timing advantage properly they will have their campaign videos out to the local members and will have been campaigning internally for weeks. This of course hands the Woke candidate a huge name recognition advantage, not available to their delayed rivals. They wouldn’t do that you ask? Too late, that is exactly what has happened.

The NEC in the past would never have allowed this type of thing, too many experienced folk wise to those sort of tactics but the rerganisation of the NEC, the number of non elected members, the free seats allocated to minority interests, the influx of regional representatives, many first timers on the NEC and unsure of the procedures, the Covid crisis which dramatically reduced the number of meetings and removed adequate time for discussion, has all created the opportunity for the clique to pounce. They did not miss the opportunity and the division in the Party, which is only beginning is the direct result. It will be a bumpy road for a while, these are not people who will give up their grip on the Party easily.

So what can you do, presuming you want your Party back? Well you could try to become one of your branch or constituency delegates to Party Conference. Often people find it hard to be so because of work or the expense involved. This year it is a virtual conference so that might make things easier. Even if you are not a delegate encourage your branch to send in resolutions. I would encourage resolutions to change the NEC back to a more manageable size. There is no need for any Groups to be gifted seats. There are already places for elected Conveners for Women, Equalities, Bame,Disabled and Local Government.

At election hustings identify the Woke candidate (s) then make up your own mind, was he or she handed a timing advantage, were good quality local candidates failed or delayed at vetting? Get it out in the open, then decide.

You should also mandate your branch delegates to vote the way your branch or constituency want. This can be decided at a meeting called after the Conference Agenda is released. The same with nominations for the NEC. IT CAN ALL BE OR GANISED IN A ZOOM MEETING. The more people involved the better. That is democracy’s best safeguard.

Identification is obviously a challenge but work is underway that will hopefully supply guidance to help delegates avoid the risks of unknowingly supporting members or supporters of the clique.

I have no idea of how extensive this fight back will be. That will be determined by the ordinary membership of the SNP. Expect to be wooed, told how everything is going brilliantly, to beware of those who “seek to divide”. Translated this means those who oppose the Woke. Critics of the Woke can expect to be smeared that it is all to do with personal advancement/ a wish to damage independence/ a natural desire to argue and divide/ M15 agent /massive ego’s etc..The things these people will ignore is that a lot of them should be looking in a mirror as they invent these smears about others. They are there to control you, to bend you to their will.

This all does enormous damage, quality candidates are kept out the race for seats, some for purely no other reason than a concern they would beat the Woke candidate, others because they don’t support GRA or the Hate Crime Bill or some other part of the Woke agenda. People who have devoted decades to the Party fighting for Independence, Even some elected councillors are rejected, while the children of the Woke are promoted in their place.

I have done what I can to make sure ordinary members are aware of what has been going on. I can do no more, it is now up to you what happens next. I have but one more question to ask but I have to wait for vetting to close . Good luck.

This current state of the NEC is not on the route map to Independence.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland

If you support fairness and Justice why not take out a free subscription to this blog. They are available on the Home and Blog pages of this website. You will be very welcome.


A common tactic when the evidence begins to stack up against what you hope for, is to resort to character assassination as a defence. I have been running this blog since June, at the end of last week I was accused for the first time of having a big “Ego”.
Within twenty four hours, on a host of different threads, I was being accused of having a big Ego. Other bloggers were also getting called the same, as was Kenny McAskill. It seems these ego’s were all being discovered at the same time. My advice to my opponents, you are trying too hard and getting a bit carried away. It was obvious to a five year old that the word had been put out to go down this route. Just a bit clumsy and obvious. Ziltch points!


  1. You are so right Iain…the Branch used to be the foundation of the snp power. The HQ collection of membership subs seemed kike a good idea but the downside was dilution of branch power. The right of the NEC to put forward motions as a body was simply wrong and created a them and us mentality. All motions should be from the branch and after all….NEC members should be active in their own branches. I dont accept that the huge increase in membership required these new NEC designs….the easy answer was more smaller branches.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Have the SNP got a death wish? They’re making it increasingly hard to vote for them.

    Of course they could always dangle the independence carrot in front of ordinary voters like me and, once they’re safely elected for the next few years, get on with what’s really important to them.

    There’s hope though. The papers have had no choice but to go with the “civil war” stuff they were hoping to keep under wraps until the most opportune time so let the blood-letting commence. An independence party might arise once it’s over.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Iain for trying to RESCUE INDEPENDENCE, Dave like you I am not a member of ANY political party BUT I and my family are VOTERS and we are ALL against the GRA and HCB which ARE being pursued relentlessly , whereas the VERY thing at the core of the SNP reason d’etra is being sidelined and IGNORED in favour of these science denying eejits, as far as i’m concerned ANYONE who puts their name forward for selection MUST live within the constituency, to do otherwise only indicates to me their DESPERATION to board the GRAVY TRAIN, and all this nepotism being shown by senior members of the SNP in wanting spouses, cousins and relatives to be elected is SICKENING and treating the electorate as MORONS

      Make NO mistake voters are NOT STUPID take a LOOK at what liebour has become, it is TIME NS and her coterie of wokesters were removed from the SNP to permit real independence supporters to achieve independence, we have a country to build


  3. Hi Iain,
    Isles of Arran Branch have submitted resolution in line with your thoughts on reorganizing N E C. We wait to see if it is accepted

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Wasn’t Big Eggo a cartoon character in the Beano or some such comic? It was an ostrich if I recall correctly but it was a long time ago…. Oh wait. I may have misread that…Naw ! if it is anything connected with the NEC big Eggo it is..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think the electorate should do their own vetting. They should ask candidates:

    1) Do you think we can only have a referendum if a Section 30 order is granted?
    2) Were you involved in any way in the prosecution of Alex Salmond?
    3) Will you vote for the Hate Crime Bill in its current form?
    4) Will you vote for the GRA?

    I would also be wary of a candidate selected from an all women short list. There are some excellent female MPs and MSPs but it’s their talents that distinguish them, not the fact that they happen to be women.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. That’s a great article on the machinations, the power-grabbing and control of the NEC. Frankly, it’s scandalous how the SNP has gone from Salmond’s vision of an independent Scotland to the corrupt – yes, utterly corrupt – SNP of today.
    All that work, Mr Salmond, all that good work, the changing of attitudes and the brilliant manoeuvring of bringing the country to the cusp of independence, the normalising of the idea of independence, and of building a wholesome, accountable Party to represent Scotland’s independence – look what’s become of it all. Those power-mad, arrogant, useless wannabees “We rule” – damn the lot of them.

    Excellent post, Iain; the sooner the issues described in your post are identified and addressed, and back to a Central Approved Candidates List, the better. A blind man on a galloping horse can see this Party’s busted, from the top down, and is clogging the stank. It needs flushing out with a strong bleach.

    As usual, I’ll say that there’s a ton of good people within the SNP, working hard and getting on with the day job of trying to achieve Scottish independence – we know who they are.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Meant to say; kudos to those trusted SNP individuals – we know who they are – tweeting endorsement for independent-minded candidates, for how else are we to know who’s on Scotland’s side and who, like Angus Robertson, has been engineered to look good?

      Liked by 4 people

  7. The good thing about not being a party member is that I do not feel a loyalty to the party. My primary concern is independence. I have already written to my SNP MP saying I will not vote SNP until there is a change of leadership and all those complicit in the persecution of Salmond are gone.

    I cannot vote for liars and criminals. Not once in decades of voting SNP did I ever think this could happen. As I do not think Sturgeon has any intention of gaining Scottish independence I do not feel any guilt over this. Quite the opposite – the quicker she is gone the quicker independence will be delivered.

    What are the SNP doing about the internal market bill – Blackford stands up in the H of Commons and says you are a bad man Prime Minister – in other words zilch.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Cubby , I completely understand your ( and many others ) disillusionment/anger with the current SNP leadership and NEC – I share it ; however , I would counsel against not voting for them next May , however much it sticks in the craw to do so . I know people fear a victory for the SNP would only result in more mindless , maddeningly self-defeating repitition of ” S30 , Gold Standard , Johnson must ( ? ) cave ” mantras and further advancement of GRA and Hate Bill idiocy , and these are legitimate concerns , but we still have a degree of leverage in whether this becomes the case or not , and , who knows , maybe change will be forced on the leadership ( no sign of any voluntary change of course / worldview from within or without ) in other words ….Independence is still a possibility , whereas , if we allow the Brit Nats to take Holyrood we can forget Independence not just for ” a generation ” but possibly permanently , the stakes really are that high . It’s immensely sad and frustrating that things have been reduced to such a sorry state , the optomism and energy of 2014 ,the bruised yet wholly admirable ” down but not out , we continue the struggle ” spirit shown after the loss squandered on nonsense policy priorities and career advancement , but we can’t give-up or allow personal dissappointment to colour our decisions , resulting in self-inflicted wounds , we come too far . We go on fighting for our cause

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Castanet2020

      I know you mean well with your post but after Sturgeons performance on Sky and her speech in January I cannot support her cabal. I have not given up on independence the SNP have given up on independence. I will be looking for a new home for my vote if the SNP do not get a grip and become the party it once was. I will never vote for any of the British parties and Sturgeon and her “soft yes ” pals are looking more like a British state party of devolution every day with less and less devolution powers likely to be the case in future. The SNP has been taken over.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Iain.
    Not sure if you have come across this pretty extreme example of just
    how utterly flawed and ludicrous the vetting process has become.

    A Michael Sturrock, over a month ago, launched a fundraiser saying he was
    standing for selection in Edinburgh Southern.
    He was told a couple of days ago he hadn’t passed vetting!
    Two MPs had even publically endorsed him, John Nicolson and Stewart McDonald.
    Utter madness. Makes a real mockery of the SNP, not at all a good look.

    Here the links to his crowdfunder and the story on his vetting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Albalha, so the guy is raising money before he has even passed vetting. Sounds dodgy to me. Nicholson and McDonald look like idiots endorsing someone who has not yet passed vetting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes he did, Seems to be close to the Robertsons as well. Having failed vetting he’s now saying the cash raised is spent on his website but he’ll give the winning Ed Southern candidate whatever is left over and if there’s no cash left over he’ll give them some money himself. It’s bloody carry on political parties. And have you seen the latest in Cunninghame North, we’ve had the Kenny Gibson is a bully hitting the press well now Humza Yousaf’s cousin Osama Saeed Bhutta has suspended campaigning as a branch emailed its members saying they should vote for Kenny Gibson.

        The SNP need to take a damn good look at themselves before it’s too late.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Iain, I heard yesterday that Michael Sturrock, who had that fundraiser and then failed vetting and was endorsed by MPS John Nicolson and Stewart Mcdonald ahead of that, was actually told on the QT he failed because he did support GRA. Funny old world, appears to depend on who is on your panel.

      And apparently he helped Nicolson out in his 2017 selection bid where against ALL rationale beat Jim Fairlie to become MP for Ochil and South Perthshire.

      Can only hope the good people of Perthshire South and Kinrossshire come to their sense and select Jim for Holyrood next year. Exactly the sort of MSP the SNP needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Not being a party member it sounds pretty horrifying the state the SNP is in but your article helpfully gives advice to party members as to what to do to put the SNP back on track as the party of independence and not the party of corruption and wokerism. Is wokerism a word? Should it be a word? Can people be called wokes? Are they the Walking Wokes?

    The NEC seems to be a party within a party.

    Liked by 2 people

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