It’s not ‘MY’ party and I certainly don’t feel like crying

I’d only just joined the SNP in 2016 when Nicola Sturgeon made clear her support for Hilary Clinton in the US Presidential Election, expressing her apparently unconstrained admiration for a woman already well-known to be accepting funds from oppressive regimes and almost certainly a war criminal, like all other senior US leaders, of course.

I was shocked and wrote to complain, below. I almost left the party again because apparent blindness to the reality of the bloody costs of US foreign policy seems, to me, a far worse crime than anything critics are currently raging against, whether it be the treatment of Salmond or GRA.

I’m going to be, unavoidably patronising here.

Any of you who think that the treatment of Salmond or the GRA are issues of such concern that they might end the Party or lose the next referendum are too close to see what is happening. You’re in a bubble of party constitutional affairs.

Though a working member, the SNP had never been my party but I’m experienced enough to realise that no modern political party could ever be just right for me.

I’m still not pleased about NATO membership. I think fox-hunting and land reform could have been done much sooner. I think we should have dumped the royals decades ago. I could go on but I don’t need to becasue I’m still standing back far enough to see around all the shit to the path, the only path we need to keep out eyes on, the one that gets us over the line into independence.

And, I’m not the only one. Luckily, the vast majority of the support either hasn’t noticed the internal squabbles, doesn’t care about them or accepts that nothing in life can ever be perfect, so they’re going nowhere electorally. They’ll be there in a well-washed horde on the 6th of May and whenever the get the change to vote in a referendum.

All the self-regarding twittering and journalist drooling about the end of the SNP doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

My letter:

Letter to First Minister Sturgeon re her support for Hillary Clinton

johnrobertson834

Ms Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister

St. Andrew’s House

Regent Road

Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Dear Ms Sturgeon

I write to protest in the strongest terms your pubic endorsement – ‘I’m with her’ – of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. For the record, I trudged the streets putting ‘I’m with Nicola’ leaflets through hundreds of doors.

I am appalled that you think it appropriate use your position to express support for such a deeply-flawed, corrupt, malignant, politician and by implication, associate me, SNP members and other Scots, with your, hopefully, ill-informed personal views.

Hillary Clinton is on record as being opposed to Scottish independence but, worse, she is a well know foreign policy ‘hawk’. She was instrumental, recently, in a series of anti-democratic acts in Honduras, Palestine and Libya. Who can forget seeing her sitting applauding the torture, rape and murder of President Gaddafi, guffawing and exclaiming: ‘We came, we saw, he died?’ This woman is like many leading politicians in larger militaristic, expansionist nations, a cruel psychopath. Is it really enough for you that she is a woman? Will any woman do?

As with Thatcher, just any woman won’t do for me. You could argue easily that the kind of women, macho psychopaths, able to break through the constraints of patriarchy in large imperial states like the UK and the USA (not Scotland) are the kind of women prepared to play its game. True feminists, female or male, might have the sense to recognise that the kind of politics patriarchy allows in these countries is just not for them.

As a committed supporter of Scottish independence, activist, and SNP member, I have tried to avoid comment which could be seen to harm the unity of our movement. However, there are limits. Is it possible that, in this instance, you have forgotten what the number one priority for the leader of the Scottish National Party is?

Dr John W Robertson

Professor (Retired)

Monday 7th November 2016

43 thoughts on “It’s not ‘MY’ party and I certainly don’t feel like crying”

  1. Did you get a reply John?
    As an S.N.P member for many years I agree entirely with your comments. Some of their decisions I didn’t, don’t support, but they, the party, are essential, in our drive towards Independence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Luckily, the vast majority of the support either hasn’t noticed the internal squabbles, doesn’t care about them or accepts that nothing in life can ever be perfect, so they’re going nowhere electorally.”

    I agree 100% with this. My wife is committed to independence but she is one of the vast majority who do not use social media for political information. She is not too much aware of what is going on behind these closed curtains.

    For my part, I have been becoming more and more nervous about this situation. It’s not healthy for the supporters of any political cause to have only one party they can vote for.

    I think that ideally we should have an alternative indy party, the ISP if you like, but with less than 10 weeks to go there is no time for it to make any impression in May.

    The SNP now seem to be assuming that they can do whatever they like with policy. With the NEC full of nodding heads they think that they are answerable to no one and that is not a healthy situation (as the present ongauns clearly illustrate.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The time for alternative independence supporting parties is AFTER indy has been achieved. Then their policies can be assessed by the electorate, just as those of SNP, Labour, Tories, LibDems etc will be assessed, and, with a PR system in place, our parliament will represent the voting of the people. Putting up alternative Indy-supporting parties before independence has been achieved will only split the pro-Indy vote and perhaps lose the election/referendum to the Unionists.

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  3. On Hilary Clinton I can’t say much, though Chelsea Clinton did praise the FM and Scotland for making life a bit easier for 51% of our population by making sanitary products free to those who need it.
    Much of the issues like the Windsors, land reform do come back to the institutionalisation of Scots by Labour over many, many decades.
    Instead of making Scots a nation with pride in itself, it made a region that cold only take pride in sacrificing itself.
    Wars we should never have been in, the promise that Scots would not be drawn into England’s wars ignored and never addressed when Labour came into power in Scotland and at Westminster.
    Deindustrialization was knowingly or unknowingly a boon to Labour as a Party.
    Keep the workers skirmishing and labouring in the industrial and political trenches and the never asked is this the right ‘war’, should we even be in it, could we not do something better with out future?
    Those questions are only now being allowed to be aired.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I didn’t leave the Party over any single issue.
    I left because the rules and procedures were changed to prevent members having a say on ANY issue.

    The ISP has a policy that ALL members will vote at conference. The members will vote on candidates. The members will have a say on the manifesto.

    The SNP currently argue about Westminster removing powers from Holyrood at the very time they have removed the members rights.

    Democracy is not something to pick up when it suits you. If Independence has to wait until we have a solid foundation then so be it.

    If we do not send a strong ISP contingent to Holyrood this year I dread to think what legislation will be driven through by a SNP Government with a majority of seats and no internal party membership controls.

    Sometimes you have to step back and not just look at what is being done but how it is being done. Democracy is a fragile flower that needs careful nurturing.

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    1. There is no chance of a large ISP contingent in May, much too late in the day. Is there not another new Independence Party , whose name I forget – crazy. For the present time the SNP are the only game in town , if you want independence. I only hope the SNP never forget what should be their no. 1 priority. Anything else should be a distant second.

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      1. Unfortunately for you I was in the SNP when that statement was made every year about them. I climbed that hill once and I’ll do it again.

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  5. I was going to ask the same question as Alex Beveridge.
    Up until recently I would also have agreed with the rest of his comment and with John’s post, but now, as party policy and actions appear increasingly driven by a small minority of entryists with little or no interest in independence, I wonder if the party, as presently constituted, that I joined years ago to help achieve independence, is still essential to achieve my aim. Of course, there is presently no other party capable of leading the drive to independence, but, because there is no other, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the current SNP is the one.
    Ignoring any disagreements is only justifiable if it’s a means to the end you want to achieve. Unfortunately, I am no longer as certain as I once was that the SNP will take me there.

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    1. Well, if SNP can’t get you there, who will? Pragmatism says that SNP is the only vehicle at this time to get us to independence and if we don’t get behind it we risk being chained to Westminster for decades.

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    1. I wonder who it was who knocked the doors, delivered the leaflets, raised the funds?
      Who put up the field posters, who stood at the polling stations, if you think the cult will do that you are in for a shock. I seen them once in the last 3 years. They took a selfie together and disappeared before the work started.

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  6. I think you are probably right John about folks turning out to vote SNPin May. But unfortunately as things stand at the moment they will not be voting for independence though they may believe that they are. The politics geeks see the close-up shot as well as the big picture and that is why they are worried about the party and independence. It IS MY party and I’m close to tears for it every day.

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  7. Trump was president tried to stop the illegal wars. Tried to speak to people. Jaw, jaw not war, war. That is why the Americans voted for him. Got nearly half the votes for re election. 80million.

    Hilary got 3,000,000 votes more. PR system.

    Biden could keel over on the job. Get involved in another illegal conflict. war/mongers. $740Billion of illegal, redundant weaponry has to turn up somewhere. Killing people in the US and worldwide. Illegally. Back to business destroying the economy and the world. A grand country can only come up with these candidates? Out to destroy the world. Beyond sensibility.

    Women should have enough funds for necessities as a right.
    Women who co habit (the majority), Have to raise a claim (1/3). It costs £thousands. There is little legal aid. There have been legal consultations going on for years but little has been done. It is the twentieth century. Legal structure not keeping up with changes in society. Rights and habits. Co habiting. Leaving women unequal with less rights, especially as women are main carers.

    Women can end up losing their house/home. An absolute scandal. Abused women have to stay in unhealthy situations because they cannot leave. Or become homeless. Rental agencies (solicitors) illegally demand 6 months upfront rent, plus deposit. Even of women with funds and excellent credit rating. A barrier to funding/finding alternative accommodation.

    The Law should be changed to give women equality. Either 1/3 as a right. Or more if they wish to sue. Or half as a right, the same as married women.

    The Law in England has been changed to give women legal aid. Without losing their house/home. Legal aid has to be paid back in any case if there is any settlement.

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  8. Members can have a say on any issue. Speak up. Join donated. Help in any way. Vote SNP/SNP. Vote for Independence to make Scotland and the world a better place. The light is at the end of the tunnel. Nearly there, after nearly 100 years. What is not to like. Worth another combine effort. How can people turn back now and be defeatist. It does not make sense. Just incredible. The tipping point has passed. Nearly over the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently not though Gordon (or is it Ken)?

      HCB and GRA were NOT voted on by members at conference to be Party Policy!

      Womens Convener and Equalities Convener were NOT allowed to speak at NEC meeting when this Loony definition of Transphobia was agreed – watch this space J Cherry will now be suspended/ expelled using this retrospectively.

      Also SNP HQ has issued a directive, months ago, to all their branches, saying that there will be no significant campaigning for the HR election. No ‘hubs’, shops, major leafleting!

      Any idea where the “ring fenced” IndyRef2 finds are – new treasurer yet still no answer?

      But “wheesht for Indy” is it?

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      1. There seems to be a great deal of misinformation being peddled about the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and the proposed reforms. Much of the misinformation/misdirection appears to be aimed at giving the impression that this is solely a Scottish Government initiative. It is not.

        The GRA Act 2004 was passed by the UK Government in response to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR). The Labour/LibDem Scottish Executive in Holyrood agreed to the Act via a Sewel Convention.

        So Gender Recognition has been in place since 2005. Around 5000 or so people have been through the process set out in the Act.

        In 2015, early 2016 the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee recommended reform of the Act. In the 2016 Holyrood Elections every party included reform of the GRA in their manifestos.

        The UK Gov held a public consultation on proposed reform of the Act. The Scottish Gov has held two public consultations the second of which coincided with the start of the pandemic. Both governments have now shelved the issue.

        If I remember correctly in October 2020 the House of Commons Committee opened a new inquiry into the issue. It is ongoing.

        It seems to me that this whole issue is being used by a group or groups who have an agenda that has little to do with reform of the 2004 Act and are determined to keep the pot boiling on the issue.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Pandemic, covid virus. Changes organisation. Obviously. Any agenda can be brought forward and voted on at Conference. GRA HCB. Is necessary to conform to Law. International Law covers political parties and Gov action. Or do people want to break it? Like Westminster. Be an illegal organisation. Challenged through the Courts.

        People have the right under International Law to be equal with others. Legal political Parties and Gov conform to certain standards. Or they can be taken to Court.

        A bit of compassion and understanding might help. People suffer and die, without support. Unnecessarily and unfortunately. Commit suicide because of lack of help and understanding. That is not right. A Gov has a responsibility of care.

        That is more important than hysteria about a shared toilet. A situation that can be overcome. Not insurmountable.

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      3. Gordon, you say, “more important than hysteria about a shared toilet. A situation that can be overcome. Not insurmountable.”
        1. Would that be the word ‘hysteria’ that’s generally only applied to women, dare I say in a patronising manner, when they protest about something of importance to them?
        2. Yes, of course shared toilets are an issue that is not insurmountable, and already is in many new buildings, i.e. separate cubicles instead of women’s and men’s.
        3. I’m pretty sure that many women are like me, i.e. I support the rights of trans folk; I don’t have an issue with shared toilets or changing rooms; but I do have an issue with long fought-for women’s rights (and those of lesbians and gay men) being diminished in favour of a group who are demanding more rights than others in society.

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  9. “I can’t divulge what’s said on NEC-
    however my own position accords
    with yours, Mike Smart’s and Neil
    Murray’s – WOS is an alt-right
    fascistic platform. Supporting,
    retweeting or writing for is
    incompatible with left social
    democratic, civic nationalist or
    socialist politics. I believe it should
    be made incompatible with SNP
    membership.”

    The above is attributed to NEC member Graham Campbell. You seem to be suggesting we should be more concerned about Hilary Clinton than him.

    It is unnecessarily patronising to tell your readers that they can’t expect a political party to be everything they might want it to be. By definition something that is patronising is something that doesn’t need to be said.

    I venture to speak for at least the vast majority of your readers when I say we have no need of this advice. We are perfectly well aware that a political party cannot be such as have our unfailing agreement with every aspect of its policy platform. I further presume to speak for your readers when I point out that this advice is not only patronising in the extreme but a puerile straw man argument – given that NOBODY has suggested the SNP must conform to their every opinion and attitude.

    I shal test the forbearance of your readers just one more time by suggesting that few of them would argue other than that there are certain minimum standards that they ARE entitled to expect. And certain behaviours which they cannot be expected to tolerate in silence. That would be the behaviour of a certain clique of crazies which has gained untoward influence in the upper echelons of the SNP. Graham Campbell’s statement being but one relatively small example by way of illustration.

    Does Graham Campbell have to be a war criminal before we object to his behaviour? Must this clique of crazies formally declare themselves Fascists complete with associated regalia before we attempt to stop them stealing our party?

    And yes! I DO mean “our party”. Because a political party is owned by its members and that membership is open to all who find the party amenable or it is not a democratic political party. With that ownership comes responsibility that cannot be negated simply by saying “it’s not my party”.

    But I suspect your readers may think it is I who am now being patronising.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And yes! I DO mean “our party”. Because a political party is owned by its members and that membership is open to all who find the party amenable or it is not a democratic political party. With that ownership comes responsibility that cannot be negated simply by saying “it’s not my party”.”

      I am a member of the SNP but not an active member, I am happy enough to give them my vote and a small annual fee without feeling the need to join committees or campaign on issues. If it comes to the point where I think the direction of travel becomes impossible to support I will leave the party

      I read this blog plus comments along with a few others including WoS on a fairly regular basis to see what folk are discussing. I can change positions umpteen times in the space of an afternoon if I come across an argument that strikes a chord, or a challenge to see things in a different light yet still feel ok with my choices

      I’m aware I am politically a mere dabbler in ideas with no strong allegiances or burning issues I feel must be addressed. I suspect I might be like the folk who loyally voted labour for decades regardless of what they actually delivered (which no doubt will horrify many of you) until a party evolves that appeals better

      I am a woman who leans more towards a slow & cautious approach that seeks to win enough folk over to get what I want . I am old enough to accept the weaknesses, mistakes and often duplicity that mar our political representatives and I can empathise equally with NS, AS, JC et al without rushing to support or defend any of them. I am young enough with young adult children to accept newer ideas and alternative ways of seeing life, gender and sexual mores without too much difficulty. I am Irish and have always been a bit of a rebel (by Ulster Unionist standards at least) – Indians over cowboys, republican rather than monarchist, Irish/Scottish rather than British but without getting too involved in any political struggle

      So what I’m sure you’re thinking. My main point in response to your post Peter and to many of those earlier ones is simply to reflect that all these issues that are causing so much turmoil just now a) happen to just about every overgrown party, church, state or establishment when diverse views become impossible to contain and b) that just about every party, church etc starts out with much smaller and nobler aims. ISP can afford to say just now that every person will have a vote on every policy decision and be democratic to their core. But what happens if they grow and have a multitude of voices clamouring for different issues to be addressed, different stances to take? What happens when one faction, unhappy with the direction of travel no matter how democratically decided, then starts using the media to air their grievances, insults fly, grudges build up and the leadership choices are to tighten control and limit debate or to fragment. Is there an in between process that we’ve missed out here or do we just accept it is time for the fall of the SNP empire? If its the latter, what bad timing for sure

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You make a good point about what’s happening in the SNP being a common disorder in organisations where particular conditions arise – such as rapid growth or unanticipated electoral success. Indeed, it is an observation I have made myself on occasion, when there seemed a need for a perspective adjustment. You are also correct in saying that it would be just as likely to happen to any other party were the circumstances to arise.

        It’s management’s job to prevent the kind of breakdown we’re talking about. Where this breakdown occurs it is a failure of management. Therefore, the failed management is the first priority. If the management isn’t sorted out then no ‘solution’ will take and breakdown is likely to be a regular ‘feature’ of the organisation. British Labour in Scotland?

        I am not personally inclined to “just accept it is time for the fall of the SNP empire”. Although I would dispute the appropriateness of some of your terminology there. I like to think people are clever enough to fix just about anything IF the will is there. There appears to be little will to fix the unquestionably broken SNP. Folk seem more inclined to walk away and pursue some political fantasy or concentrate exclusively on measuring out blame – without ever accepting any responsibility themselves.

        The timing could hardly be worse. This is why I wanted the referendum to be held in 2018 at the latest. When dealing with organisation – which includes political parties – it is as well to assume that they will go wrong if left long enough. I don’t pretend to have predicted the SNP’s disorder in any specific way. But I was certain there was a risk not worth taking.

        I don’t know how we fix the issues besetting the SNP at the moment. I can’t see a way of doing it because the organisation is almost totally unresponsive to efforts at repair. It’s like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle while in an entirely separate room. You can’t fix what you can’t touch. Just as you can’t control what you can’t predict. The NEC and the leadership are doing things nobody would have predicted. And not doing things most would have expected. That’s a serious challenge.

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    2. All the non members telling others how they should behave or run a Party. They are paying for it and for others. The burden of cost and activities. Either get involved or carp from the sidelines. It is patronising. Lecturing others how to organise a website.

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  10. I’ve never joined a political party as I view Scottish politics as pantomime, or as an ill-considered and neglected appendage defined through British nationalism. Though it must be obvious I don’t have much time for English Torydum, my politics are grounded in my appreciation of the bio-cognitive sciences, ethics, and a respect for international law. So I’ve only ever voted SNP, though I’ve only ever done so as a means for achieving independence. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue to do so, in good conciseness, as a party that denies biological reality is simply dangerous.

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  11. JOHN , that’s a much needed note of political realism you’ve struck there. I’ve stocked up on industrial strength nose clips , until this election is past .It’s never been about faith in charismatic leaders, or career bandwagon hitching for me . Leaders , like gods , are liable to have clay feet .

    Liked by 3 people

  12. US presidential election 2020.

    Pop 328million

    239 million electorate 66% vote. 158 million voted.

    Biden 81million. Trump 74million. Others 3million. Electoral college?

    Low representation for population. Small. State legislation important.

    Congress – election every two years, 2 senators from each State 100 House of representative. 435 elected every 4year? Senate. 6 non voting members.

    States legislation governs people’s live. At each State level. On average each State 6.5million pop.. 52States 328million pop. Divide 328 by 52. (6.5million approx). Some States have large pop. Some smaller. Vast country,

    10% Fed tax. Payroll tax. State taxes rate raised – Fiscal Autonomy.

    Low taxation regime. Private fees (or insurance) for education, healthcare. Paid privately. Elected Police/fire chief. Paid by state taxes. Low public services. Privatisation.

    No of MP’s Westminster 650. UK pop 65million+ HoL full unelected. Limited power. Stop a Bill twice. Then Law.

    US Congress – EU commission. (500million) – Akin,

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  13. I may not have been particularly successful in articulating the foundations and substance of my political beliefs, though I’m very rusty and there’s not the space needed to do justice to critical political and legal theory. That’s why I provide links to support my position, as I value the opinion of experts over my own rusty cognition.

    N.B. It isn’t possible to make effective claims to legal rights if you don’t have a legally defensible identity (see Scotland and women in Scotland).

    Click to access The-Significance-of-Legal-Identity-in-Situations-of-Poverty-and-Social-Exclusion-The-Link-between-Gender-Ethnicity-and-Legal-Identity.pdf

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  14. I seem to have lost the reply option on an earlier post so am making this new comment instead
    First thanks Peter for your polite and considered reply to my post. My initial thoughts are to agree this is a management issue but to add that typical management solutions to disagreement are not appropriate here – I know I would be out on my ear if I made public all my thoughts on the organisation I work for, and while there are channels in place for me to put forward complaints or grievances the only way to affect outcomes would be to either rise in the ranks or win support and influence. Im not entirely sure what mechanism you are thinking off that snp leadership should use to manage this current situation?

    Just reading Obama ‘s second book and came across this reflection on divisions in USA. ‘ not only did we disagree but we disagreed vehemently, with partisans on each side of the divide unrestrained in the vitriol they hurled at opponents. We disagreed on the scope of our disagreements, the nature of our disagreements and the reasons for our disagreements ‘ . It made me smile at least.

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  15. I’m afraid I have to contest the opinion that the Scottish government’s public consultation re. the GRA amendments, was in any way informative or just. Consultation is meaningless if the consultation is skewed by the use of misleading language. Justification of the proposed GRA amendments rest on the conflation of gender and gender-ideology, which was evident in the consultation.

    Women’s rights and gender equality in 2018

    Click to access womens-rights-and-gender-equality-in-2018-summary-update_report-long-version.pdf

    Like

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