People wonder why all these elected SNP MP’s and MSP’s say nothing about the Stonewall takeover of the SNP? Why they went along with the obviously ineffective S30 strategy for so long? Why they sat and said nothing while the NEC became increasingly appointed rather than elected? Why small fringe groups were given way in excess of the representation their true numbers justified? Why they allowed National Council to be scrapped allowing a Presidential level of control and a pathway to introduce policies without any scrutiny or input from the branches and ordinary members of the Party?
The answer is they all knew this because it was all planned. Nicola Sturgeon became leader in November 2014. At the first Conference after her appointment the first part of the plan went before Conference in April 2015. Everything was going well and the SNP were on the verge of winning 56 seats out of the 59 available in Scotland.
The following resolution was agreed unanimously by Conference “No member shall, within or out with the Parliament, publicly criticise a group decision, policy, or another member of the Group”
So there you have it. All possible independent thought was removed by this decision and anybody raising any concerns about any matter, policy or otherwise would be wide open to the most severe disciplinary action, perhaps even including expulsion and deselection. Absolute power was thereby handed to the leadership cabal and they were not slow to exercise it. What followed was the lunchtime resolution which came later where in a sparsely attended session Angus Robertson got National Council scrapped, a complete reorganisation of how the NEC was put together and before anyone realised the powers of ordinary members were neutered and the way was clear for the leadership to do what they wanted without challenge. Power was moved ruthlessly from the branches to the centre with strict control on candidate selection procedures being taken under the wing of the NEC and severe manipulation of timings, including rejecting candidates for refusing to support “policies” no members had ever voted on like GRA and self ID.
So what had been the most democratic of all parties suddenly became Stalinist in its behaviour. All of a sudden party discipline replaced debate. Anyone who raised opposition was ruthlessly stamped on. Joanna Cherry became the target of the Woke youth for the “ crime” of opposing GRA and supporting Woman’s Rights. Selection rules were amended to ensure Joan McAlpine could not possibly top the list because like Joanna she also supported Woman’s Rights.
So fiddled was this procedure across the country the SNP followed legal advice and could not even reveal the results of the contests as they were warned they could face massive damages in court if they did from candidates who were not BAME or disabled and who lost out in selection despite polling much higher levels of support from members than the “successful” candidates. The whole process was a joke, people who were already in elected positions, found relatively minor ailments that allowed them to be classified as “disadvantaged” and therefore to be guaranteed the top position in any area list, irrespective of the number of votes cast for each candidate by the ordinary membership. So we had the ridiculous situation where members voted, then were refused the right to know the election results, only to be informed of the “winner” on a “trust” basis. Third World Banana Republics would hesitate before adopting such a system but the Nu SNP had no such problem with it.
There is nothing more certain than this will eventually all come crashing down. They have got away with it because the SNP have been electorally successful since 2015 and members have been willing to let it go. That however is changing, as often happens in these situations, those in power, having got away with this type of abuse, become overconfident, push it too far and they create an adverse reaction. It can be gradual but can explode without warning as a realisation spreads that their loyalty has been exploited in an unfair and damaging way. I would argue that the gradual realisation is already well underway, and while still not organised, is becoming more serious and gaining ground.
About time would be my reaction. When I was active in the SNP it was a true joy. Yes there were different views, often very serious debates within the NEC, but that debate was enjoyed, celebrated even. Conferences where policy outcomes could not be forecast and where a good quality debate could change outcomes was the norm. It created the feeling that being a member really mattered. That ordinary members were directly involved in policy and campaign development. Compare with today where everything is stage managed. Controversial policies get nowhere near a place on an Agenda because of the fear of rejection. Where Conference’s main role is as a fundraiser.
So the above explains why the Leadership have enjoyed unchallenged power. Where they hold many in the Party in check by strict discipline that does not tolerate any challenge to what is dictated from the top.
It is disappointing because it reveals that those current elected members of the NuSNP are never going to deliver Independence for Scotland. If they cannot stand up to defend the rights of the ordinary members of their own Party then they are never going to stand up to the might of the British State. So easily bribed with salary, so easy intimidated by their own leadership are not the qualities required for victory.
So, in my opinion, it’s all change for Independence, that is now the top priority.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
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