Evading the issue

There may be very good reasons for a resolution failing to make it onto the final agenda for the SNP conference. It is inevitable that people will feel aggrieved when a resolution is rejected that concerns a matter of particular interest to them. It is pretty much part of the pre-conference routine for there to be complaints that the agenda is being ‘rigged’ to avoid topics that some of those on the platform might consider potentially embarrassing. Folk have their ‘pet subjects’. Their personal estimation of the importance of that subject is likely to far exceed that of a dispassionate committee. It will be difficult for them to understand how a resolution on what they hold to be a topic of central importance can fail to be included in the agenda.

It may be that a topic has already been thoroughly debated at a recent conference. It may be that party policy on the matter is so firmly settled that further debate is seen as pointless. It may be that the resolution itself is not well drafted, or that the procedures and guidelines for submitting a resolution have not been adhered to.

I found it very easy to understand why the ‘Plan B’ resolution submitted by Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny was not accepted. Many others, perhaps being less objective, are incensed that it has been rejected. It would be an extraordinary agenda setting process that didn’t offend someone.

What, for me, was most disappointing about the MacNeil-McEleny resolution was the fact that it didn’t address the issue of urgency. If the party managers are keen to avoid discussion of independence it is not because the matter of a ‘Plan B’ might cause the leadership some discomfort. It is because any debate around the topic of independence has the potential to lead to awkward questions about ‘Plan A’. More specifically, about the timetable for ‘Plan A’. That’s what the SNP leadership desperately want to avoid.

Perhaps a more effective tactic would have been to submit a resolution directly – if, perhaps, subtly – addressing the evident lack of any sense of urgency in the Scottish Government’s approach to resolving the constitutional issue.

Alternatively, an appropriately worded amendment to the resolution in the names of John Swinney and Maree Todd might have served to get the issue of urgency before delegates. One advantage of such an amendment is that rejection would be tantamount to an explicit admission that the party leadership doesn’t want the issue debated.

There may be very good reasons for that too.

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7 thoughts on “Evading the issue

  1. I’m not sure it is even a matter of a lack of urgency anymore, Mr Bell. Something else is at play here: it seems to be a backing-off from what was always going to be inevitable. The inevitability of facing down the British State in the event that there are not overwhelming polls for independence, albeit there might well be a majority now, if only marginal, where all demographics are concerned.

    Lord Wallace, Lib Dem peer, I believe, is part of a Lords delegation who are intent upon introducing a new Treaty of Union for the UK (Lord Wallace is an eminent Scottish lawyer and even the possibility of seeing this on the statute books is a surefire indication that the original Treaty of Union still holds sway and still holds efficacy, not to mention that it must be perceived as a barrier to the One Nation State, the Lib Dems being the lighter version of the Tories in the British Nationalist parties list).

    The articles or terms of this new Treaty appear to have been kept under wraps, but we can safely assume that it will strip powers from the three Celtic parts under the disguise of giving us more. A new written constitution, based wholly on English law, precept, etc., and including Magna Carta principles, but none from Scottish Constitutional Law (the Claim of Right, The Declaration of Arbroath, etc.) or from any principles of the other two parts either, is also being mooted, and, again, it would not be mooted at all unless it afforded the English part of the Union excessive powers over the rest of us, sleekitly, no doubt.

    Just who precisely do the English/British Nationalists and the seried ranks of Sir Humphreys behind the scenes think is going to sign the new Treaty and agree to the new written constitution? It would certainly have to be the devolved administrations in the three satellite parts (Stormont in NI is suspended, currently, so who would sign for them, the DUP?). It would have to be the SNP government that signed off on these at Westminster on Scotland’s behalf. So, not only are we threatened with financial disaster to the Scottish economy, a downgrading of devolved powers, others stopped away never to be seen again, after Brexit, but these new constitutional time-bombs await, too. Just what is the SNP leadership going to do about them? Why are all these things not being debated at Conference or at least being brought to our attention? Why do we have to rely on the trumpeting English press for even tiny drops of information? WTF is going on?


    1. You point to one of the reason the MacNeil-McEleny resolution was a non-starter. ‘One Nation’ British Nationalists aren’t only intent on abolishing the Scottish Parliament, they want to lock Scotland into a political union unilaterally defined on their terms. They will impose this new Union on us if we don’t forestall them.


  2. The polls won’t really move till a referendum campaign gets going. Simply because the reality of brexit hasn’t hit home for most folk yet. That is one of the reasons why WM won’t permit another S30. They know if it goes to the polls in Scotland the union is over. As for the snp. They are not stupid so they must know all this that’s mentioned in the article and Lornas respond. Which means their lack of any action whatsoever is treasonous to the indy cause.


    1. I honestly don’t believe it’s that either, ISC; I wish I did, then it would explain a great deal. I think that the SNP leadership is frozen in inaction because it cannot find ‘legitimate’ ways to tackle the problem. By ‘legitimate’, I mean ways that will not bring the wrath of the British ruling elites down on their heads, as the Catalan politicians’ perfectly peaceful dissent brought the wrath of the Spanish ruling elites down on theirs, with little reaction from the EU or the wider world. The UN has made some effort to chastise Spain, albeit belatedly. Some SNP politicians might even once have been willing to do a short stretch in aid of independence, but there is now a real sense that all radicalism has gone out of the party at the top.

      As I have said before, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I will speculate: has the SNP been infiltrated to head it off course? If it has, the best option for misdirection would be those surrounding the leadership and the Cabinet, rather than the leadership and Cabinet themselves. Poison constantly whispered in ears does work or propaganda would be jettisoned. It is even understandable after 2014 that a second lost indyref would be disastrous, but there just seems no will left to actually counter anything that the British Nationalists bring on, no matter what weapons are at our disposal. It is ‘do it the British State way’ only. No country ever gained its independence in this way. Very few, if any, have won their independence by means of a pre independence referendum, the ratifying referendum being the favoured kind, and after independence. Something has stalled Scottish independence, and it wasn’t either the 2014 result or Brexit.

      This is what really tickles me: we are told to wait to see how Brexit will pan out when that has been obvious for three years; and, while we wait, the English/British Nationalists and the ruling elites carry on regardless, undermining, being perfidious and bringing misery in their wake. They have not been immobilized by Brexit, not on the domestic front. It is only the refusal by the EU to let the Tories and the Brexit party (more Tories) all their own way in the breaking of international agreements that is preventing movement on Brexit; if they had been allowed to skip off into the sunset, we’d be out of the EU by now and straight into that Tory One Nation State, without the slightest chance of independence. Instead, they have been allowed, domestically, to lay the foundations unhindered, and, once we are inside that Tory One Nation State, there will be no getting out without severe bruising. If there was even some movement, or will, towards creating a UK that was in parity and equal, taking into account England’s far larger presence, that would show statesmanship. Instead, we are treated with utter contempt and overweening arrogance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ” has the SNP been infiltrated to head it off course? If it has, the best option for misdirection would be those surrounding the leadership and the Cabinet, rather than the leadership and Cabinet themselves.”

        Neal R Stewart is linked to Integrity Initiative, the UK Military Intelligence cut-out. Why is he an adviser to the SNP MPs at Westminster?


  3. I don’t disagree with what you stated here. There likely is deep infiltration into the party. It would be naive to think otherwise but then the snp are a dictionary definition of naive 🤔 You’ve hit the nail on the heid. They don’t want to get the wrath of the British state. There’s no way of getting independence without doing that. We are their last & biggest meal ticket. So the snp are deluding themselves at all levels. And by doing that I believe they are betraying us. What exactly is it the snp are waiting for now. I’m bewildered & glad I left the party. It disgusts me.


  4. & here was me thinking I was being very paranoid but yes it has been infiltrated that makes a lot of sense & yes they are afraid to get into the bear pit, things are even worse than I thought & im pretty sceptical when it comes to politicians. This reminds me of a mark twain quote. Children’s nappies & politicians should be changed often & for the exact same reason…


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