“Simply astonishing. And we’re on 54% for Holyrood. Often see people on here saying we’re finished or they’re leaving the party. The Scottish people seem to like what we’re doing.” – Pete Wishart
Poor Pete! He just doesn’t get it. Maybe if he actually listened to some of the people who are “saying we’re finished or they’re leaving the party” he’d know that it has nothing to do with the SNP’s performance as an administration. As it is, he evidently hasn’t a clue why so many members are in despair at or angry with the party. More disturbingly, perhaps, he appears not to care. So long as the SNP is doing well in the polls, all is right with Pete’s wee world.
More troubling still is the fact that this disdain for what is rapidly becoming the pro-independence wing of the nominally pro-independence party extends all the way to the top. The higher echelons of the party have come to define success as being ahead in the polls and/or winning elections. Progressing the cause of independence has ceased to be a measure of success. Those who continue to consider it the principle measure of success are now seen as an impediment to ‘real’ success of the kind that delights Pete Wishart.
Of course, winning elections is important – as a means to an end. Being ahead in the polls is at least pleasing – to the extent that it suggests the means are being secured and the end made more certain. It’s not that the pro-independence wing of the SNP grudges the party its success by other measures. We just want the constitutional issue restored to due prominence.
As far as it’s possible to tell from his comments, Pete Wishart is unaware of this. He is oblivious to the concerns of the pro-independence portion of the membership because he has consistently and stubbornly refused to listen to those concerns. He has flatly refused to answer questions, even from his own constituents, and instantly blocks anyone who expresses the smallest doubt about his perspective or the wisdom of the party leadership.
You would think that members threatening to quit the party would be a matter of grave concern to the SNP hierarchy. But the reality is that the members who remain focused on the restoration of Scotland’s independence are viewed by the party leadership and senior management as at best a bit of a nuisance and even as a serious embarrassment. I have previously defended Wishart and his colleagues against charges that they were only interested in saving their seats. They make it increasingly difficult.
And please don’t bring up Covid-19. The situation I describe has developed over a period of around five years and was well established long before the current public health crisis. It didn’t happen overnight. But we have now reached a situation where some of the most influential people in the SNP are looking at the polls and attributing the party’s performance to the fact that the constitutional issue is being sidelined. And along with it those who deem Scotland’s cause to be of primary importance.
There we have the third measure by which the SNP leadership and management gauge their success . Along with winning elections and staying ahead in the polls, success is measured by how effectively they close down discussion of the constitutional issue and sideline the party’s growing pro-independence faction.
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