With the announcement that Joanna Cherry MP has quit the SNP's National Executive Committee (NEC) coming hard on the heels of Douglas Chapman MP resigning as National Treasurer Nicola Sturgeon may consider that any "problems" caused by last November's elections to the party's (nominal) ruling body have now been well and truly solved. In fact, … Continue reading Problem solved?
Rule number one in conflict resolution - don't tell people to calm down.
The underlying issue here is not just different views on the strategy to gain independence. It is different views of what Scotland is and should be.
Joanna Cherry cherry has earned the virulent hatred of this clique not by betraying the the principles on which the SNP was founded but for upholding them. Not for flouting the standards which the party is supposed to operate but for insisting on them. Not for a lack of integrity but for having integrity in a measure which embarrassed too many who today are responsible for managing the party's affairs. Not because she is unpopular with 'ordinary' members but because she is so detested by those jealous and fearful of that popularity.
We will only gain the respect of the international community if we demonstrate a willingness to assert for ourselves the attributes of a normal independent nation.
Most importantly, members were regard as a resource. Not merely as labour for election campaigns. Members were valued a source of ideas. Members' participation in the policy development process was so essential as to be taken for granted. It was a good way of running a political party. It was a sensible way of running a political party. Looking at this conference set-up it is difficult to find any trace of that sense.
So! The SNP sets up a 'working group' to study stuff that should have been the subject of constant and intense study for at least the last couple of decades. This, we assume, won't happen until after the party conference at the end of this month. Then we're into December and the holiday season and then the January 1 2021 plunge into the Brexit unknown and then the election campaign and always there is the public health crisis. So, maybe this 'working group' gets grouped and working sometime in the first half of next year. Or maybe, the second half. Or maybe, like so many SNP 'initiatives' which have been launched in response to some clamour from the independence movement, the whole thing just peters out.
That's the whole story. The Scottish Government wants to address a situation in Scotland with measure tailored to the situation in Scotland. The British government doesn't want that. Not that they actively want more people to die. Just that they actively don't care if more people die. It is not a factor in their political calculations. Other than that it suits the British establishment's agenda if a situation worsens under an SNP administration. The situation worsening bit is a factor. The people dying bit isn't.
Why would we empower their deviousness? Why would we pander to their lack of principle? Why would we facilitate interference in our constitutional referendum by what, if we heed Joanna Charry's advice, we must regard as an unfriendly foreign power? Am I missing some impenetrably cryptic irony here?
The issue to be decided in our new constitutional referendum is not what Scotland will be like for future generations of the people who live here, but whether those future generations will be able to decide for themselves what kind of Scotland they want. Or whether those decisions will be made for them by a government they didn't elect in a parliament where they are effectively unrepresented.