HOW TO TAKE OVER A PARTY
It should not be easy to do. It represents a huge risk to democracy if it is allowed to happen. Particularly if it is a Party of Government.
Here in Scotland we have seen it happen over the course of a few years. The Scottish National Party, a well established Party with a record of exemplary democracy in its long history and justifiably regarded as having one of the most open and Democratic systems of internal organisation and operation has witnessed a ruthless and unfaltering series of “internal reforms” , which has distanced the control the ordinary members and branches previously exercised in its decades of operation.
The impact of these “reforms” have already been disastrous, leading to thousands of members leaving and the creation of several new rival parties aligned to the policy of Independence for Scotland. The impetus for this being directly associated with other issues, promoted by minority groups who were the big winners in the “reforms” grabbing control of the Party’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC).
This control of the NEC was accompanied with the removal of the Party’s National Council which was the crucial quarterly meetings where delegates from the branches met to question office bearers and to openly discuss various policy and tactical matters. By getting rid of National Council accountability in the Party was effectively ended, leading to a much more authoritarian leadership who have felt free to impose policy. Policies of their choice not the Party.
Examples of this are GRA, HATE CRIME BILL etc which are described as SNP Policy but which have never been discussed or voted on at any Party Conference, the ultimate policy decision body in the Party. Worse, issues that were debated and passed at Conference on issues like currency and maritime policy development have been ignored simply because they were decisions a handful of people at the top of the Party did not support. The leadership just ignored the votes as if they had never happened.This would have been impossible to happen before these “reforms”
The “Missing” Money
Organisation has also been ruthlessly amended to the detriment of accountability. Concerns were correctly voiced about the missing £600k that was raised from members and non members alike. At first it was denied that it had been spent, members got letters explaining it was “woven through the accounts”.The National Treasurer responsible for that letter was judged at the subsequent Party Conference election and he was replaced as National Treasurer by Douglas Chapman MP who was elected by delegates on the promise of discovering the whereabouts of that money then advising the membership of the truth of the matter. This did not go well, when he requested sight of the full accounts on behalf of his Audit Committee, the Chief Executive Officer, Peter Murrell, the husband of the current leader, refused to let him see them. This despite his clear mandate from the Party Membership for him to do so. When it became clear nobody was going to tackle Murrell over this Douglas, plus three others on his audit committee resigned on the basis he was not being given access to the information he and his committee required to carry out the tasks. SHORTLY THEREAFTER THE PREVIOUS TREASURER, WHO HAD BEEN REJECTED BY CONFERENCE WAS REAPPOINTED, MINUS THE REQUIREMENT OF ANY ELECTION. The recent secret Governance Report, of which more later, suggested Party officials I.e. Mr Murrell were more suited and able to maintain the accounts that any elected Treasurer, what’s more it set strict conditions on who could sit on any Audit Committee insisting on NEC oversight of membership and a condition that any committee contained a majority of NEC members. Pretty much guarantees an “innocent verdict” if investigating the financial management of the NEC!
MORE TO COME
Earlier this year I was leaked, from several sources, a copy of the Governance Report which were the planned future “reforms”, initially scheduled to be implemented at this Conference however the furore raised by my article and some mrmbers reaction to it, resulted in the leadership taking fright and relegating it to a sub committee for further discussion. Note, it has not been ditched, just delayed. Clearly with the current unrest and dissatisfaction in the Party now is not the time to be further relegating members input and handing even more control to the Woke faction on the NEC, INCREASING their unelected numbers while HALVING the number of elected area representatives across the country.
The political influence of the Woke faction led to highly irresponsible actions, like ignoring legal advice and fiddling the list rankings for the SNP across Scotland that ensured placing Woke candidates in the number one slot in every region in Scotland. It passed the NEC on the Woke chairperson’s casting vote. It was a tactic designed to get rid of one person, the very popular MSP and best supported MSP in the Borders region Joan McAlpine, who was guilty of supporting women’s rights. The “ election results” that determined these placings were never made public. The legal advice warned to do this could lay the Party liable for “damages” amounting to a six figure plus amount if someone affected in the way it happened to Joan McAlpine chose to sue the Party for damages. Knowing the state of the Party finances this was a very big consideration for those NEC members who had assets, like owning their own homes which would be vulnerable if the Party lost any expensive court case and NEC members became personally responsible for the debt. I know, for certain, that this was a big consideration for some of the NEC members who resigned shortly thereafter and who can blame them? It was clear to them they were on a reckless committee that had no compunction in endangering the wellbeing of the other committee members. The legal advice suggested the Party would be likely to lose, so they should all be grateful that Joan McAlpine did not choose to take the matter further.
The amount of bullying and intimidation on the NEC was ridiculous and completely ignored (supported) by the Party leadership. There was a very good reason for this. At the previous Conference there had been a reaction to the Woke takeover and several of their leading members lost their elected positions. There was a successful campaign, headed the “good guys”, which promoted non Woke male and female candidates which commenced the minute the nominations were published in advance of the Conference. Leadership favourites took a trouncing so their surviving unelected Allies on the NEC made life very difficult for those that were elected in their place. This resulted in several of them leaving and joining Alba and surprise, surprise those leadership favourite candidates, who were beaten for the positions in the full Party Elections the previous year, were reappointed to their previous positions, just like the replacement National Treasurer, all without the need for any election!. The favoured few eh?
THE NITTY GRITTY
That is enough background let’s get down to the nitty gritty what is happening now and who are these people who hold such power and how did they get there?
Well let’s start with the Conference and Annual Elections due later this week. The leadership have determined there will be no “good guys” campaign this time. How is this achieved? Well you don’t know whose standing yet, do you? As I write this we are days away from the Conference but the names of the candidates are only going to be released in the Conference Handbook, unlike previous years where this information was available well in advance. Close of nominations was in early November so there is no reason this information could not have been posted on My SNP letting members and branches know in advance and have some discussion about whom they should be supporting. That would be way too democratic for the current leadership, they were badly burnt the last time elections were held. You are supposed not to notice this intentional shrinking of the time period. Clever manipulation is it not? You will get the required info a handful of days before Conference, too short for any organised campaign to be operated successfully, leaving the organised Woke faction with a big advantage. This is the current leadership treating internal democracy with total contempt, playing the system to disadvantage the ordinary membership, while helping to promote and defend the Woke wing. It is blatant when its pointed out but it seems nobody else but me was willing to do it. It now operates on Stalinist lines where folk go along with it out of fear. Freedom fighters, I don’t think so!
Now here is some fresh information that I personally find quite stunning. I have highlighted before the incredible number of places on the NEC that are non elected by the Party membership. These are places that have been crucial in several key votes yet what is the justification for them being on the NEC in the first place? For back ground when I served on the NEC there were only two appointed positions, everyone else was elected directly by the ordinary members at Party Conference. The non elected places were handed to the Young Nationalists and also the Student body. This is how I first met Nicola Sturgeon she was one of the appointees.
To put this into context the latest published total of SNP membership is 119,000. There are currently 16 elected Area Representatives meaning each rep is there for approx 7500 members. Note that the Governance Report recommends halving that number of Regional Reps to one per region effectively meaning that one position in each area would be representing 15,000 members each.
LETS HAVE THOSE NUMBERS
So how does that compare with the other groups that have unelected seats on the NEC?
Let’s start with BAME. They have two seats on the NEC and have had them for the last few years. One of these positions is a Vice Convener making whoever holds that post a Senior Office Bearer. A non elected one.
In figures leaked to me they currently have less than 250 members. Yes for less than 250 members you get two places, One a Vice Convener and another one for good measure.
And it’s not just Bame, let’s look at Out4Indy who are also in receipt of a Vice Convener and another seat on the NEC as well. How many members do they have to justify those two places?
Out4Indy have under 400 members
Let’s keep going, the Disabled Group have one NEC place. They currently have just under 500 members.
Likewise Scots Asians for Independence have a place on the NEC. They currently have just over 100 members. That figure may be substantially reduced given the recent Indian Council in Scotland decision withdrawing support from the SNP because of the actions of Mr and Mrs Yousaf.
I think many members will find the number of seats and Vice Convener positions available against those numbers quite astonishing. They should, this is blatant political engineering handing exceptional favourite status and influence to a very small number of people. All at the expense of the ordinary membership. It’s a fix and now that I have made the official numbers public it has been brought into full view. There can be no doubt of this.
The reality is it could well be even worse, there is a significant number of members who are members of several of these groups and are therefore double, or even treble counted. How do I know that? Well Fiona Robertson, having being kicked off the NEC in the last elections turned up as a “substitute” delegate to the NEC for several of these different organisations in the course of the year before being reappointed without an election to her previous post after her elected successor left to join Alba.
Now of course it can be argued these groups represent important issues, but others are as well. For instance the Trade Union movement involves just under 30,000 members but they have no automatic place on the NEC.
My suggestion is all these groups should form a sub committee of the NEC and the chairperson of that sub committee should have a seat on the NEC. THAT WOULD BE FAIR AND BALANCED. Excluding the Trade Union figures that would give one place on the NEC for at most, ignoring duplicate membership and counting them all, of 1250 members covering all these groups. One seat would still be much more generous than afforded to ordinary members in any region in the country. AT THE MOMENT THESE TINY AFFILIATE GROUPS HAVE SIX SEATS INCLUDING TWO VICE CONVENERS (senior office bearers). Of course there are many others appointed in addition to these groups as well.The need for ordinary members votes and support are increasingly a thing of the past when it comes to the NEC! I think we all know why that is.
Now the leadership have been anticipating this information eventually becoming public as they knew from previous posts that I was working on getting those secret membership numbers, so readers may remember they recently sent out a message to encourage members to join these groups. I am sure I will get an update on the “success” of that recruitment campaign in due course but it has an incredibly long way to go to provide evidence that these Vice Convener and NEC positions are in any way justified.
There is no doubt that the actions of the representatives of some of those elevated to the NEC VIA THE APPOINTED FROM GROUPS route has been hugely divisive and disruptive as they dominated NEC discussion with a very different agenda to those who were there to forward and deliver Independence. I know of several well respected and long serving party members, serving on the current NEC who will not be re standing for election partly because of this and witnessing meetings turning into pointless events that do nothing to advance the Independence cause.
Another issue that needs attention is the increasing role of paid staff in the Party Organisation. They form a key voting block at any Conference and while not yet being able to outvote the ordinary membership can when organised be very effective in forcing through leadership, as opposed to members wishes. This is a particular danger at online conferences. Limits to this need discussed and a quota system introduced. Given the number of Mp’s and Msp’s there are potentially many hundreds of people involved.
THE NAME REVEALED
So I promised a name, the key architect of these “reforms” that removed members influence and power, helping to create an unchallengeable leadership, empowering a staff takeover in the form of Peter Murrell to take responsibility and control for issues that were previously, normally the remit of elected Senior Office Bearers of the Party. To cut out any ability to question the leadership on any issue and enable the leadership to introduce new policy measures like the HCB and GRA without any input or challenge from the ordinary membership whatsoever.
Now of course it wasn’t one person alone who did all this because common sense ensures the Party Leader must be involved and in support as must her husband, the Party CEO, but the person most responsible and in my view the key architect of these moves is ANGUS ROBERTSON. It was no coincidence it was him who introduced these “simple” alterations to the constitution at a sparsely attended lunchtime session at Conference a couple of years ago. Ever since the entire Party and Yes Movement have paid a heavy price for delegates not realising the significance of what was happening and going for a cup of tea at the vital time. He is a master puppeteer and manages to stay in the shadows while pulling all the key strings. He of course accompanies these moves with another quiet programme to establish himself as a shoe in when Nicola stands down. He then hopes to enjoy the Stalin like total control of the Party he helped create for Nicola.
Let’s all hope the WORKERS Revolution takes place before that disaster befalls Scotland and the Independence Movement.
This is a democratic outrage, tiny numbers of Woke people have been handed power over the ordinary membership through the introduction of corrupt reforms precisely designed to create this outcome. Those responsible should be deeply ashamed but so should all the elected members enjoying high salaries but ignoring these conniving measures being introduced to sideline the ordinary membership and establish dictatorial power for the Leader to ruthlessly control the Party to her whims. Past members who worked and died to further the Independence cause and built this once great Party have been betrayed. I can never forgive those responsible for that. The SNP have their conference later this week, is there any chance some are brave enough to raise the content of this article or are they all enjoying life being re educated and bribed in the political gulag?
In conclusion I wish to pay tribute to a few senior members of the SNP WHO SHARED MUCH OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE WITH ME IN THE HOPE THAT THE WIDER SNP MEMBERSHIP WOULD FIND OUT WHAT WAS REALLY HAPPENING. IN STURGEON’S SNP. THAT TOOK SOME BRAVERY AND TRUST. THANK YOU!
I am, as always
YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.
BEAT THE CENSORS
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