I don’t care who wrote it. If the purported draft manifesto is an indication of the thinking of the SNP leadership then we should be worried. Because there is nothing remotely like the kind of commitment that’s needed to the kind of action that’s required.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I know who wrote the ‘draft manifesto’ published by Wings Over Scotland. Or should I perhaps say I have good reason to believe it was a particular individual. I will not mention names – not least because I could be mistaken. But also because it doesn’t matter. The article in The National is an attempt to make the debate about who wrote the document rather than the content of the document. It’s a rather clumsy diversionary tactic. Which suggests to me that the SNP leadership don’t want the content discussed.
Why would they be so concerned about it being discussed if it isn’t indicative of the thinking which will inform the manifesto? Why revisit the ‘controversy’ after at least a week in which it has barely been mentioned? Kirsteen Paterson’s piece strikes me as decidedly odd. It looks like it an attempt to kill a story that was already dead (or dying) which has instead succeeded in breathing new life into it. What is going on?
It also has all the hallmarks of something that was written at the behest of somebody in the SNP who is sufficiently highly placed to be able to have articles published at their behest. Somebody that headline – ‘Revealed: The truth behind the SNP’s ‘manifesto’ leaked to Wings Over Scotland’. That or something similarly negative about Wings Over Scotland. Something designed to undermine Stu Campbell’s credibility.
Something those who fear and hate Stu Campbell’s brand of forensic journalism can respond with when challenged to provided evidence of the dishonesty they allege.
There we have the explanation for this rather strange article. It’s not about the ‘draft manifesto’ at all. It’s part of an ongoing effort by the SNP leadership to smear Wings Over Scotland. They can neither deny nor disprove any of things Stu Campbell has been reporting about what’s going on within the party. They can’t respond meaningfully to his criticisms. They can neither refute nor rebut anything that is published on Wings Over Scotland; much of which is casting the SNP leadership in a very bad light. So they try to damage his credibility.
The story has been planted. It is as half-arsed a smear attempt as I have ever seen. I am not falling for it. I’m not being drawn in. Because, as I said at the outset, the precise provenance of the ‘draft’ manifesto (nobody is denying that it is an internal party document) is not as important as what it suggest about the SNP’s approach to the constitutional issue. And it suggests that there will be no commitment to a #ManifestoForIndependence.
Without that commitment we cannot have confidence that the SNP, if returned to government, will deliver a free and fair referendum. Which in itself is perplexing. If as they claim, they are determined to go ahead with a referendum regardless of the British political elite’s attitude, why would they be so reluctant to state that determination explicitly in the manifesto? And if that’s what they intend, why persist in the plainly idiotic commitment to a Section 30 process which cannot lead to a free and fair referendum?
Why is the SNP leadership so intent on silencing or sidelining anyone who asks this kind of highly pertinent question? Why are they propagandising against bloggers who do no more than insist that the SNP does what it is elected to do while pointing out the ways in which it is failing to fulfil its role as the political arm of the independence movement?
If the SNP leadership is as ashamed of its behaviour as this effort to silence criticism suggests, why are they not changing the behaviour instead of trying to shoot out the spotlights that are being thrown on it by bloggers whose allegiance is not to Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP, but to the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence?