VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE

The NEC have cut the Dumbarton Constituency Executive off from their membership by denying them access to the membership list via Headquarters. You might remember me mentioning this in a previous post on the matter. What follows is the letter to members which the Executive are trying to circulate. Please post and share widely on Facebook, Twitter and all formats. I warned earlier the Party was losing control to an out of control Woke dominated NEC. What do the heads in the sand brigade say now?

Dear Member

You may have received a communication from the National Secretary advising that the hustings organised by the CA will not now take place.

The National Executive of the Party has insisted that it will arrange a hustings.

The CA executive has been in constant discussion since Friday 16th October 2020 and met by Zoom this afternoon to respond to an email which I received late this morning from an employee of the Party, a Mr Chris Jones.

Following a further exchange of emails late this afternoon we were informed by Mr Jones acting on behalf of the National Secretary that our ‘event’ as he referred to it, must not go ahead.

I am instructed by the CA Executive to explain this matter to you.

When the National Executive Committee (NEC) issued its Candidate Vetting and Selection Rules (which can be read on mysnp.org) the Constituency Associations were excluded from the process except for the arranging of a hustings. Every other aspect of the selection process was handled by the NEC unlike in previous elections.

The CA organiser/ secretary emailed online members an invitation to a Zoom hustings for 19th October. You were invited to submit questions beforehand to raise with the candidates. We also indicated that we hoped to record the meeting so that those who couldn’t attend would be able to view the hustings in order to assess the nominees before voting.

Following that invitation it was a matter of some concern to the CA executive that around 140 of our members (who are not online) would not be part of the hustings or have access to a recording of it. It occurred to us that there would be insufficient time for each nominee to adequately answer the questions put to them as by that point we had received a large number of questions.

To ensure the widest distribution of (A) all seven presentations and (B) answers to members’ questions, the CA executive explored the possibility of an exclusive Question and Answer session of 15 minutes with each of the seven nominees. All of these sessions would be recorded UNEDITED and made available online to all the members with online access (around 950).

This recording could be viewed immediately after the last session on 19th October 2020. Sadly as the NEC has made no provision for those members without online access, your CA executive had made arrangements to transcribe each session into a written format and post copies to all our non-online members.

Until we had put in place the recording and transcription we couldn’t advise the membership of the proposed changes. In the meantime the sixty members who have indicated as of today a wish to be part of the hustings have received an acknowledgement from me.

On Thursday, when we were confident that our proposal for seven interviews, unedited recording and transcription could proceed I was authorised by the CA executive to email all nominees with our proposal. None of the nominees offered any objection to us.

On Friday afternoon I had a telephone call with Mr Chris Jones who advised me that we could not hold the hustings as he said that in his opinion it wasn’t a hustings and we had to adhere to the guidance set forth by the NEC.

I interrogated Mr Jones at some length. (A) why the National vetting and selection process was generally viewed as “a shambles” ? (B) what was his authority for his claim that NEC guidance was obligatory? (C) was he not aware that the dictionary definition of hustings includes campaign meetings involving one or more speeches? I(D) why was the NEC treating the members without online access with such disdain when the NEC had a means to include them?

Furthermore I asked him who were the complainants were. At first, he said members but strangely later in the conversation he admitted it wasn’t members but candidates. I asked which candidates, but he refused to name them. He said that the event had to be live so that the members could see the nominees’ answer in real time but failed to appreciate that as the seven sessions were being recorded our members would have even more opportunity to consider each nominees’ answers and would also be able to ask each nominee to clarify any point through the personal email and telephone number of each nominee which some nominees have already published.

He then volunteered that there were a few known ‘hotheads’ (his words) in our local membership who might concentrate their attack on one or two nominees over a certain issue which is currently the cause of heated debate within the Party and beyond. He insisted that a strong neutral chair was required. I replied that members were entitled to have opinions and to challenge the nominees on any issue which could impact on their selection of a candidate. I also commented that if a nominee had to be protected from the scrutiny of party members it did not augur well for his or her prospects as our candidate in the cut and thrust of the election .

I explained to him that the CA executive has had to change its proposed hustings three times to accommodate the changes which the NEC had made to the vetting and selection process, and that our proposal for individual Q and A sessions with each nominee, would give them the opportunity to make their responses without interruption in order that all members could witness the nominees’ arguments. Indeed the CA executive’s proposals ensured one topic, however important, would not dominate each interview. As the interviewer I had made it clear that I HAVE NOT AND WOULD NOT voice any personal preference for any nominee. I have already undertaken to abstain from voting in the selection process to ensure complete impartiality.

In the course of the conversation Mr Jones volunteered that the conversation was causing some amusement in the SNP HQ office. Members can draw their own conclusion as to whether this was an appropriate matter to be the subject of some amusement amongst SNP employees who are paid through members’ subscriptions when the highly important selection contest for our constituency in the forthcoming Independence Election was being discussed.

Sadly Mr Jones threatened to request the National Secretary to arrange a hustings if the CA executive did not change to the one which Mr Jones indicated was required by the NEC.

I indicated that I’d seek the views of the CA executive and revert to him.

I immediately contacted the CA executive and over the weekend there has been much discussion and outrage at the attempt by the NEC to interfere with our practical proposals to offer all our members an opportunity to engage in the democratic process. I have still not received any complaint or adverse comment from any of the nominees to our proposal.

Late this afternoon I was instructed by the CA executive to advise Mr Jones that the CA would not deny our members the widest involvement in the selection process and change the format. This I did.

I then received a response from Mr Jones, on behalf of the National Secretary, NOT to proceed with the hustings tomorrow evening and that the NEC would arrange its own hustings under what he termed a ’neutral’ chair.

I regret any inconvenience to members and the nominees as we all wish to ensure a fair and informed choice when selecting our candidate. However the CA executive is firmly and unanimously of the view that manipulation of the process is afoot. We strongly urge all members to register for the NEC hustings and submit robust questioning on the topics which matter to you.

As you know the AGM of the CA which was delayed as a result of the Covid 19 crisis, is taking place shortly . If delegates disagree with the actions of the CA executive they are free to vote for others to replace them. . Equally National Conference at the end of November will give all branch and CA delegates the opportunity to register their satisfaction or otherwise with the membership of the NEC. Please use your vote to maintain the democratic rights of all members.

Yours for Scotland

Graeme McCormick.
Convener

28 thoughts on “VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE

  1. “What do the heads in the sand brigade say now?”

    Probably the same as before, i.e. that you’re an attention seeker while insisting that we all just look the other way. I see one accused you on FB of being a “foreign agent”! Got to say that one made me laugh! Sadly, these folk are going to cost us independence if they don’t wake up to what’s going on. There’s loyalty and there’s what they’re doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As a member for fifty years, former branch convenor/secretary etc, councillor for 25 years and twice a Westminster candidate my comment is ‘Why are people surprised’? The NEC as always behaved in this way. It is interesting to note that some who colluded in this in the past are now caught up in difficulties in being re-selected

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh my goodness, though have a question, if the CA was able to send that to the members don’t they therefore have a list? Also given we know Caroline McAllister was turned down NOT by the NEC but the CA, that Cllr Karen Conaghan, who is also standing, was on her selection panel, that it’s clear the CA wanted this email leaked, surely we have to deduce neither the CA OR the NEC come out of this well? From what I hear Cllr Conaghan is the CA’s favoured candidate, now that can’t be right either?

    And presumable the Chris Jones referred to is the one I’ve been looking at in relation to the further Carol Cadwalldr revelations on Cambridge Analytica yesterday. We knew that Kirk J Torrance had been to the meeting, when in fairness he told them where to go but a Chris Jones chatted to them as well.

    He is currently the SNP’s ‘Head of Data and Technology’ a post created in 2014? He started in Dec 2014. And why is he involved with hustings and branches?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed, he was interviewed recently by Alex Salmond for RT. He has a new company.
        He left not that long after Salmond stood down along with all the other talented backroom people, Stephen Noon,
        Kevin Pringle etc.

        The problem, from what I can see, is that the Sturrells have surrounded themselves with less able people.

        As I said above I’d love to know if this Head of Data and Technology job that Chris Jones currently holds was a new creation in December 2014, when he started, and of course how much of members subs, individual donations are paid.

        Does anyone have a clue just who the SNP employs at HQ and what the costs are?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. No matters what else happens we SNP voters will vote our own candidates in no matter what, if their names are not on the ballot for any reason then we will vote for OUR alternative and isolate these who would try to take illegal control of our S N P. We wll notbe denied.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And yet they expect people to vote for them, I’d rather not vote at all than vote for these crooks because that is exactly what they are, the party that I voted all my adult life for no longer exists, Covid has certainly saved Sturgeons arse, for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel exactly the same way, I will not vote for corruption, & that is what the SNP is today, they have replaced LABOUR for sure in EVERYWAY under this present leader..

      Like

  6. Under what rules are they trying to do this, certainly this seems clear to me though i’m only a councillor

    Online Hustings and Campaigning by Candidates
    8.1 The only permitted means of campaigning are—
    (a) participation in online hustings;
    (b) contact with members through the authorised email system;
    (c) the use of a website, a personal Facebook page or a personal Twitter
    account; and
    (d) communication through a candidate’s own personal contacts.
    8.2 Constituency organisations must ensure that at least one online hustings
    takes place before ballot papers are issued to members and that all
    candidates and members are advised of the arrangements for the hustings.

    Like

  7. At least one online hustings…

    So why not go ahead with their planned format, as well as the NEC mandated one? Inform all candidates, if some choose not to participate, on their own head be it.

    Is it a democratic party or not? If it doesn’t have democratic processes at the lowest (most local) level, then it simply is not fit for purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JB.

      The local constituency association were instructed NOT to hold their arranged hustings meeting. The National Secretary then confirmed this to around 950 member with online access that the hustings was cancelled to be replaced by a hustings to be arranged by him as National Secretary.

      The email communication of local branch secretaries was then put in lockdown with access credentials to the party systems disabled, thereby denying all communication save for HQ sanctioned activity.

      Now when the leadership of a party suspends meetings, locks down and takes control of all communications then I think you can take it that democracy has gone. These are the actions of a junta of control and not that of a Democratic Party.

      And now with a replacement hustings arranged by the National Secretary with less than 24 hours notice has advised some, but certainly not all of the Dumbarton membership that there will be an online hustings to be convened by a chairman he is appointing.

      So JB, how many democratic selection meetings were people free to hold in 1930s Germany. Did the ruling party there not suppress political assembly. Did they not remove alternative voice leaders. Yes they did, and sadly JB that is where we are today.

      And by what authority does the coterie of control operate its diktats. By what authority does it suspend meetings, lock down local areas, remove local party structures, appoint its place men and women. By the authority of the raw power of control taken by unconstitutional means.

      The new Nasti Party with its Gauleiters in every town?

      Like

  8. Dumbarton Wingers post on the subject The Seizure of the Means on WoS October 19 @ 8:57 pm gives another side/version to this story.

    Like

    1. I should explain what appears in the Wos comment comes from an unidentified source. The decision in the Constituency came following a unanimous decision by the entire CA Executive including, according to what he writes, the delegate from his own branch. Not really hard to choose which has more credibility.

      Like

  9. Iain,

    If it was a physical meeting it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine party police breaking up the meeting because that is now the coterie of controls modus operandi to political opponents.

    Salmond, Murray, Hirst are all example of police intervention. And then of course there is Manny Singh who was jailed for organising the last 100k plus AUOB Indy March in Glasgow.

    These are dark times and the Dumbarton lock down is just another example a now out of control party clique. And just wait till the Hate Crime Bill hits to play its part in silencing the masses.

    Truly it is time we either took democratic control back. We must either kill or cure this cancer before it overpowers us all.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. ” Extinction Rebellion Scotland has dumped mounds of manure outside BP’s Aberdeen offices, proclaiming that BP “can’t be trusted.”

    The protest marks the third week of non-violent direct action campaign ‘Make The Connections’ to highlight the threat of climate change across Scotland and “putting profit before people.” ”

    Not hard to imagine a few places where Nation Extinction Scotland might do the same. But would they be in Edinburgh or London?

    Like

  11. BREAKING NEWS :

    Dumbarton Constituency still in chaos.

    Reports emerging suggest that members have been denied access to the NEC / National Secretary arranged Dumbarton Constituency hustings being convened tonight.

    Further reports suggest that branch and constituency secretaries are still in lock down being unable to access the party mailing systems and other systems having had their access credentials disabled.. Communication is therefore still in lockdown / under HQ control.

    Further details will be reported as soon as they emerge.

    Like

  12. Spent the evening fully engaged in a well organised Dumbarton Hustings all candidates seemed at ease and Mike Russel chaired it immaculately.

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  13. Absolute nonsense Bryan Ritchie.

    Dumbarton hustings was a totally stage managed show by Mike Russell. No one allowed to speak. Not one. Hundreds excluded from meeting. One candidate has already hit Twitter criticising the event.

    And that is why the local constituency hustings was cancelled by the National Secretary to be replaced by a hustings arranged by him.

    Like

  14. And for the folks denied access, denied questions, denied contact from their branch officers, to the candidates denied positive vetting, it truly is time to ask if its members SNP anymore – because that is what this is all about.

    Russell was put in to a stage manage a show. No local party involvement in a HQ communication lockdown. Russell fully understood the task he was charged with, and came supported by one of the party’s IT gurus. He knew the anger and resentment at HQ cancelling the hustings and even started the meeting saying that he wanted things kept peaceful. But of course no member was allowed to speak.

    A party political broadcast on behalf of the Nasti party, who motto is “ we ask the questions “ And yes Bryan Ritchie local branch officers still have their communication and access in lockdown.

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  15. Willie I’m sorry I don’t agree with you I know we all love a drama but it wasn’t my experience nor others I’ve spoken with.
    Anyway I not about to add fuel to the fire of this internecine wee war as I see the Herald is sniffing around always looking for SNP Bad stories if this shit goes on I’m out of the party putting up with the Tories and Labour and the Media is bad enough without it happening in the party.
    I’m sure you think it’s necessary however you’ll loose many along the way and end up like Labour after Militant…unelectable

    Like

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