WHAT CAN I SAY?
Other than thank you from the bottom of my heart. For the first time in many months I have genuine faith in the SNP. I am hugely impressed by the good sense displayed by the collective wisdom of the Conference delegates.
Before I go further I want to highlight the bravery and dedication of Dot Jessiman. If she had not had the courage to speak out from within the NEC and spell out what was really happening none of this could possibly have happened so spectacularly. Ordinary members owe Dot a great deal. She made their victory possible.
They were aware things had been going wrong, they were concerned with the lack of urgency in driving Independence forward, they were incensed at the selfish and destructive minority interests that were elbowing the rest of the Party and moderate members of the NEC aside, the attempted bullying by these same groups of Joanna Cherry, Joan McAlpine and others. The drive to takeover and control the Vetting and Selection procedures and to centralise everything removing a huge range of powers from ordinary members.
They had to find a way to change direction. A way that did not damage Nicola who remains a popular leader. Not an easy task as it was becoming overwhelmingly obvious that the NEC had become a very divisive force and the leader, for whatever reason, was turning a blind eye. It could not go on. They had to act.
They did and all that was stopped after last night. I hope to see the decision to kill off National Council reversed. Restrictions placed on the role of the NEC in future selection contests returning much more of the powers to branches and CA’S.
So before the new NEC sets out on their new and more productive path forward there are a few matters that need urgent attention. I was very impressed by the incoming Treasurer’s commitment that one of his first tasks was to establish what the true status of the money that the previous Treasurer had been unable to demonstrate still existed. Given that is almost ££600k it is no small matter. Clearing that up honestly, irrespective of where that truth may lead, will go a long way to reestablishing trust in the Party’s fundraising activities.
Given that during the Conference the previous Treasurer appeared to confirm that the Party had paid out what is reported as around £150,000 for legal expenses and a charitable donation to settle claims relating to some foolish public spat between Alyn Smith and the Brexit Party Chairman we need some information on how the Party arrived at that decision. What was the process that agreed this? Who had the powers to make such a decision? I ask because folk on the NEC state they were not consulted. What obligation, if any, did the Party have to pick up this huge bill? Is this a legitimate use of member’s subscriptions? Given we have so many elected representatives what is the Party’s potential exposure to this type of expensive mistake? I think the new NEC would be wise to create some fixed regulation to deal with this otherwise Mr Smith’s mistake could be repeated making huge holes in the Party’s finances. I may also point out the Party’s money is also being used to finance the Party Chief Executive’s legal costs with the Inquiry following his involvement in a WhatsApp group. It would be very bad news if subscriptions are regularly used to finance legal bills. This needs urgent NEC attention.
My advice would be to get these matters settled quickly and openly. Start off with a clean slate and then you can move forward with considerable Party unity and goodwill behind you. Being open and transparent, opening rather than closing down avenues of communication between the NEC and the ordinary membership will guarantee ongoing co-operation and support bringing about the type of constructive unity and effort across the Party that will make the SNP an unstoppable force.
As I survey Twitter today I am reading more and more people who had become disillusioned in recent years are now planning to rejoin. Faith is returning. You did that. The ordinary delegates did that and everyone in the entire Yes Movement owes you our grateful thanks. It was a very good day for Independence. Let’s all work together to create many more.
Wishing us all a brighter future
I am, as always
YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.