There is no Common weal Group in the SNP


By Brenda Steele:

Yesterday  I received an e-mail from a friend with this link:   

SNP internal election results may cause problems for Nicola Sturgeon

My friend thought that  “Overall this report sounds quite fair” but not being an SNP member wanted to hear from someone closer to the action.

My reply started off with this.

Overall, it has some validity, but it betrays bias in the idea that these are highly organised factions with traditional allegiances.

In particular, this:

The left-leaning Common Weal group has secured 11 seats on the party’s ruling body – the national executive committee (NEC) – in internal party elections.

It  is quite entertaining to think think of there being an organised SNP group under the Common Weal banner. It is not just a stretch, but a leap of the imagination beyond Robin McAlpine’s wildest dreams.  Anyway, Common Weal claims to be non-Party political these days – more of a (left-leaning) think tank and Dr Craig Dalzell. aka TheCommonGreen is a regular and (in my opinion) valued contributor.

Common Weal did publish a list late on.  They were the last to do so – that I know of, anyway . As someone who was involved on the margins of the list(s) being passed around, I would have updated my own list (compiled from various other sources) – but I didn’t find anybody on the Common Weal list I didn’t already know about.  The BBC piece does not mention SNP members for Independence on Facebook – a loose group that combined for the purpose of dealing with the problems on the NEC.   They were instrumental in getting information out.  The name they chose to give themselves is telling of what the situation within the NEC had become – given that for decades the stated manifesto aim of SNP has been Independence.

My final comments on the BBC article to my friend were these:

The claim about a low turnout is deceptive.  It is true that many delegates did not vote on the resolutions but

a) they were not what the branches submitted, and

b) there was no opportunity to “remit back”. 

Many therefore abstained. The voting for the NEC is the grass roots asserting themselves. 

The BBC is right about how Nicola responds being a measure of her leadership.

Today (3rd December)  I came across this piece :

Ordinary members owe Dot [Jessiman]a great deal. She made their victory possible.

They [ordinary members] were aware things had been going wrong, they were concerned with the lack of urgency in driving Independence forward, they were incensed at the selfish and destructive minority interests that were elbowing the rest of the Party and moderate members of the NEC aside, the attempted bullying by these same groups of Joanna Cherry, Joan McAlpine and others. The drive to takeover and control the Vetting and Selection procedures and to centralise everything removing a huge range of powers from ordinary members.

My thanks to Dot Jessiman for her courage and persistence in getting this out into the open

and to Iain Lawson for his excellent piece describing what has happened much more accurately and succinctly than I could.

4 thoughts on “There is no Common weal Group in the SNP

  1. I was in the SNP a while ago now and first met Dot travelling to the inaugural Gathering (if I remember correctly) and was very impressed with her seeming honesty and integrity. On subsequent meetings through the Yes Movement, I having left the SNP, Dot Jessiman confirmed those initial impressions to be good and true. I trust her wholeheartedly.


  2. Pingback: Peter A Bell
  3. If all SNP delegates were ordinary volunteers who wanted Independence, then the article doesn’t make sense. The pace of progress has been stymied by various threats and lies from Westminster and gradually many of those lies – shall we inaccuracies? – are being corrected into the minds of Scots, slowly but surely.
    I know there are folk in SNP with sharp elbows wishing to get to the top. I guess there are those who would wish to control groups to safeguard their livelihood and position. I’ve always been shown kindness and understanding as an ordinary activist and for 10 years as a local councillor. I felt my job then was to show support for all my constituents, leaving my constituents in no doubt that we could do better if everything was devolved. I would explain how the issues could be better with Independence, but I never marched around the ward with a saltire. But folk knew what I stood for.
    So having driven 30,000 miles every year for 10 years around NW Highlands, it was particularly galling when an elected member chose to stand for Holyrood having only been in the Westminster job for 6 months or so. The drain on our resources would have been immense if every elected failed to go the distance in order to progress their careers.
    I believe all this so-called rush to IndyRef2 stems from that time. How on earth could we have a referendum during this pandemic when I for sure might be self-isolating. Then there’s our election which gives us yet another mandate, but this one should be decisive.
    Although the YES vote polls show we are at 56% that doesn’t seem enough. Pensioners need to be sure their pension is paid in on time. Those on benefit need that cash yesterday. Will they know/feel they can vote YES and eat. I’m not sure AUOB etc have made that clear. Few here has even heard of them. But one word from Nicola Sturgeon and they will believe. I do. And I’m too old to wait…


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