Vote Neale Hanvey!

Neale Hanvey is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Especially when the allegations against him are so dubious. His suspension from the party and the withdrawal of SNP support for his candidacy in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath amount to a pusillanimous knee-jerk reaction to appease a small but clamorous mob of self-appointed morality police. The charge of anti-Semitism has not been proved and does not stand up to scrutiny.

Despite this, and regardless of what Hanvey himself said in his hasty and ill-advised apology, it cannot be right for Nicola Sturgeon to declare him guilty before there has been the disciplinary hearing to which he is entitled. She has preempted and prejudiced that hearing by telling The Courier that “What Neale Hanvey said was anti-Semitic…”..

The SNP has form on this. Several people have fallen victim to their crude summary ‘justice’. The idea of reciprocating the loyalty shown by members doesn’t seem to feature in the thinking of the party’s officials or leaders. The message is clear. If you are an SNP member and you are accused, do not expect the party to be there for you. No matter how vexatious or malicious the allegations may be, you will be instantly abandoned and disavowed.

Anti-Semitism is a form of mindless bigotry no less repugnant than any other. It is because it is such a serious charge that it should not be lightly accepted. Intent must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is not possible to be accidentally anti-Semitic because anti-Semitism is an attitude. It requires that the particular mindset be present. If an individual shares an image or makes a comment totally unaware that others find anti-Semitic connotations in them, that individual cannot be guilty of anti-Semitism because they cannot possibly know the content of everybody else’s mind.

To see anti-Semitism in the puppeteer cartoon the viewer would firstly have to recognise George Soros and be aware of his reputation. They would have to know that Soros is Jewish. They would have to object, not merely to economically powerful individuals manipulating politicians, but to Jewish people in particular doing so. The viewer who comes to this image lacking any of this knowledge and without that attitude cannot be guilty of anti-Semitism. It could very easily be argued that posting that image proves that Neale Hanvey is not anti-Semitic. Because if he had the slightest trace of anti-Semitism in his mind he would have recognised the connotations that those others see.

There are things which are clearly anti-Semitic. And there are things which are only anti-Semitic because somebody has defined them as such. None of us can possibly be cognisant of all the things that everybody else deems offensive. We cannot hold that database in our heads. We certainly cannot update it minute by minute as ever more individuals and groups deputise themselves in the morality police.

If we allow others the power to label things at will then we better be prepared to see that power misused. Never more so than when that power is totally unaccountable. When someone yells “anti-Semitism!” the accusation invariably goes unchallenged. Those in power tend not to question the accuser or scrutinise the allegation. They more commonly behave as the SNP does and consider the charge proved until it is disproved and without the accused having the opportunity to plead their case.

The dictates of simple fairness demand that Neale Hanvey get the benefit of any doubt that may exist. And the circumstances of the allegations against him which are in the public domain suggest that there is considerable room for doubt.

Hanvey is still a candidate in the Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath constituency. He is still on the ballot paper as the SNP candidate. The party may have withdrawn its support, but it cannot now withdraw his candidacy. For that reason alone, the party should have stood by him. They should at least have considered the possibility of doing so. They owed him that.

SNP activists and pro-independence campaigners in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath must follow their conscience. If their first loyalty is to the party, they may feel obliged to follow Nicola Sturgeon’s orders. But if their priority is to elect an MP who will support the fight to restore Scotland’s independence while serving constituents, then they may campaign and vote for Neale Hanvey with a clear conscience.

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14 thoughts on “Vote Neale Hanvey!

  1. Great piece, Peter.
    I’ve been a bit out of the Twitter loop. With so many so-called SNP civil wars etc. I just avoided it all for a bit. I’ve got to say I’ve never heard of George Soros–I still have no clue as to who he is.
    But I have heard the rumour that the accusations were made by someone who themselves had anti-Semitic tweets–before locking their account. And, that the reason behind the accusation was that Neale Hanvey had signed the Women’s Pledge.
    To be honest, I keep questioning the motives of a lot of party members.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I sympathise with your decision to be “a bit out of the Twitter loop”. I’m something of a social media veteran, and I feat the need to take a break from it all earlier this year.

      The rumours to which you refer are strong enough that they should be of great concern to the party leadership. But they just aren’t listening to the voice of ordinary members. Those of us who have raised issues with the Section 30 process know what it is like to be totally ignored – at least until the party wants cash or foot-soldiers. There was an attempt at a revolt at conference in Aberdeen, in which I had a small role. A few people wanted some discussion of the independence campaign strategy. But we were brushed off. Even to the extent of ignoring a point of order. That would never have happened when Derek Mackay was running the show.

      Of course, we still vote SNP out of loyalty to the cause. But for that, a lot of people might be looking elsewhere.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s not quite the same party as it was when I was a teenager—not the 3 gens before me . Then again, SNP weren’t in power then. But as you say, loyalty. It’s the only viable party for indy.


  2. Excellent description of this ridiculous situation. Neale Hanvey doesn’t have a racist bone in his body and this procedural process has exposed a huge problem with the adopted definition of anti-semitism. This has damaged my trust in the SNP and although I don’t expect them to be 100% perfect, they have got this one completely wrong.


    1. Interesting that you say “adopted definition”. Because, while the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was adopted by the Scottish Government in 2017, it has never been adopted by the party and is not included in the Code of Conduct.


  3. Had a lot of information on Mr Soros, but I always thought he was Greek. Had no idea he was Jewish. I would suspect that many people either had no idea about who he is or about his nationality. I find the knee-jerk “anti English’ reaction to anything at all, down to the most innocuous reference, worthy of the sick bucket, too, because many of those who are themselves avowed anti Scots tend to be the ones who scream the loudest or they are those whose self-righteousness and pc self-congratulatory complacency ooze from them in a vicscous, oleaginous form.

    I can understand that many feel strongly, and rightly so, about anti Semitism, but any criticism of Israel’s government policy towards the Palestinian people cannot be taken to be anti Semitic or we must accept that certain groups within the global community have human rights that are way above and beyond those that are extended to everyone else.

    I really don’t give a toss if someone calls me a Jock or makes some derogatory remark about meanness, etc., but I do get extremely angry at the type of mental abuse that passes for fair comment about the Scots: that we exist at the behest and open-handedness of the English people; that we are less capable than any other nation on Earth to manage our own affairs; or that our ‘nationalism’ is Nazism by any other name instead of a perfectly internationally legal, recognized and moral right to our own self-determination. It is becoming quite appalling now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your comment about certain groups having extra human rights – it is rather that certain groups seem to have licence to disregard the human rights of others because we are effectively prohibited from criticising them, no matter how well founded that criticism.


  4. An excellent argument Peter. I particularly like your use of intention to turn it round. Of course anyone who sees Soros in the cartoon and who knows he is Jewish would never post such a thing without knowingly being anti Semitic.


  5. It would appear that Nicola Sturgeon in this instance reciprocates loyalty in the form of a deprecating and potentially libelous quote to The Courier, a publication not given to promoting the case for Scottish Independence! Not content with besmirching the character of Neale Hanvey, voters in the constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath are urged by Ms Sturgeon not to vote for him thereby leaving the door wide open for the present Labour party incumbent to waltz back in presumably with the full blessing of the Bute House brigade. I do not know Neale Hanvey personally but I do understand him to be a person of integrity and who apparently still shows loyalty to his colleagues in the fight to attain independence which is more than can be said for the First Minister and her handlers.
    I do not reside within this constituency but would urge all who do and who believe in fairness and the cause for Independence to vote for NEALE HANVEY on election day. He deserves no less!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You know what I find genuinely impossible to swallow, and certainly impossible to believe? Just how a loaf of parochial, local-councillor-level troughers have become, all of a sudden, in their own minds, moral and ethical arbiters. I have seen these dullards, only a few years out of the primordial swamp of local politics into Holyrood, sitting on Twitter making sniffy, caustic comments to others about what they should think and say and do – as if any of them are of any real intellect, or have anything original,useful or well-thought-through to say!

    They have clearly been told what to say from the top of the party, and parrot this lamebrain horseshit come rain or sleet or shine or shite. We all know who they are, so I will name no names, but the SNP thinks it’s far more cosmopolitan and internationalist than it really is and, given events like the sniffy stitch-up above, it has become pretty much impossible to take anything these halfwit dullards say seriously. Being dictated to by people with the intellectual level of teenage fools does not sit well with me. They know nothing about anything outside of their own wee enclaves, and anybody who would think or say anything else is a “Jeremy Hunt” who is a bigot, a fool, and should just shut up, whilst the Brave New Army of young Scots take the country as claimed for their own, and lock everybody else out. Smug, careerist wee pricks.

    Despite this, I will still be voting for the SNP at the GE. Correction – I will be voting for SCOTLAND’S FUTURE. The SNP will never again have my vote after this because, after the way they have acted recently, they have well overstepped their intellectual and political bounds, gotten power-mad and dizzy with their own self-importance, and I will never trust anything they say about anything ever again. Which may well sound extremist but, well, we’re not living in a dictatorship where we are made to think shiny happy rainbow thoughts 24/7 or the antisemitism police will crack down on us. Yet. Getting there, though.


  7. To be completely honest I’ve become very disillusioned by the antics of SNP officials in mid to high ranking positions for a while now. The smearing od both Neale and Denise Findlay have disgusted me.

    I don’t have a racist or sectarian bone in my body but totally agree that the state of Israel are committing state sponsored murder and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Ann are the Palestinians not Semites as well? How can this possibly be anti-Semetic for calling this out?

    I’m a contributor and member of the party but seriously thinking of withdrawing support over this. I’ll still vote SNP because they are the only option open to me but they won’t be getting any more of my money


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