Disbarred 250


Upset and depressed after being barred from the SNP candidates’ register by the hierarchy for “lack of commitment to group discipline”.

I was asked at assessment whether, as part of a Westminster deal with another party, I would agree to vote for the bedroom tax if instructed by the Party. I replied “No.” End of SNP political career. Problem is, I really believed we were building a different kind of politics in Scotland. I also knew that a simple lie would get me in, but I couldn’t bring myself to utter it.

I had very, very strong support from ordinary members to be the candidate in Falkirk or in Airdrie, and had 17 requests to stand from other constituencies, several from branch meetings. I wonder what the SNP new membership will think of this?

I had intended to keep this a private grief if possible, but I was phoned at 8am this morning by the Scotsman, who had plainly been briefed in some detail from within the party hierarchy. I was also phoned by the Sunday Herald, who were coming from a different direction, having picked up a whiff of Tammany Hall about the SNP selection process in several constituencies.

In the interests of full openness, these are the complete communications I have been sent regarding my rejection as a candidate:

Craig
Thanks for coming along to the Assessment Day on 6 December and apologies for not being able to get back to you before now.
I’m afraid to say that the Panel did not feel able to recommend you for approval as a potential parliamentary candidate at this time. While you showed excellent qualities, you could not give a full commitment on group discipline issues, and for that reason the Panel could not recommend approval.
There is scope to appeal this decision, and if you wish to do so then contact my colleague Susan Ruddick – (email address deleted) – who will be able to put that process in train.
Best wishes
Ian
Ian McCann
Corporate Governance and Compliance Manager
Scottish National Party

Then:

Dear Craig,
Thank you for attending the Appeals Panel yesterday.
Unfortunately your Appeal was not upheld.
I wish you luck in your future endeavours.
Sue

That is it. I have asked for more detail of why I was refused, but been given none. All I have is “you could not give a full commitment on group discipline issues”, and the only question to which I gave an answer that could possibly be interpreted that way, was the one above on the bedroom tax. There was, incidentally, no corresponding question designed to test the loyalty of right wing people.

I should note that I was astonished by the hostility of the appeals board, chaired by Ian Hudghton MEP and flanked by two MSPs. They could not have been more personally unfriendly towards me if I were Jim Murphy: their demeanour was bullying. They were less pleasant to me than was Jack Straw or anybody in the Foreign Office when they were sacking me for blowing the whistle on extraordinary rendition and torture. It was a really weird exercise in which these highly taxpayer paid professional politicians attempted to twist every word I said to find an excuse to disqualify me. I found it a truly unpleasant experience.

My analysis is that those in the SNP who make a fat living out of it are terrified the energy of the Yes campaign may come to threaten their comfy position. I think there is an important debate here on how the 80% of the SNP who are new members can affect its existing gatekeeping structures. No new members were involved in deciding if I was a fit candidate, and the 1500 new members in each of Falkirk and Airdrie were denied any chance to vote for me as their preferred candidate.

This also makes a complete nonsense of the SNP’s much publicised move at the Perth conference to allow non-members to stand as SNP candidates in an “opening out” to the wider Yes campaign.

I do worry that the idea of Whitehall ministerial limousines in a coalition is of more interest to some in the SNP than independence. I also am really concerned that the SNP has become, like other parties, a source of lots of taxpayer-funded careers. A significant proportion of those that do pass the vetting process are Special Advisers or work in SNP MP’s, MSP’s or MEP’s offices. The SNP is developing its own “political class” which is the opposite of the citizen activism of the Yes campaign. It became clear to me that a lot of SNP insider thought around the selection process is not about furthering independence, but about jobs for the boys (and girls).

Every candidate for selection is allowed a 350 word statement including cv to be given to members with their ballot paper. This is the 350 word statement which I had submitted to HQ for distribution to SNP members in Falkirk, prior to my disqualification. It has never been distributed, but I would like every SNP member to read it. If you know one, send it to them:

My aim is to achieve Independence.  The Smith Commission shows we will never be given the control of our own economic resources required to achieve our aims of social justice, or to stimulate the economy, within the Union. 

I think we have to avoid the trap of managerialism – of being just another political party but a little more competent and fair.  We should maintain a firm thrust towards the goal of national freedom.

I will vote with the SNP group, but my voice within the party will be against any coalition agreement with Labour or Tories.

I want to defeat Labour, not sustain them. I want to end the Union, not to run it.

Within the SNP we must guard against success leading us to develop our own careerists. Professional politicians in Westminster have become a parasitic class with interchangeable beliefs, out for themselves. There are too many of them – Special Advisers, research assistants etc. The number of politicians paid for by the taxpayer has quadrupled in 30 years.

The best MPs contribute from a wide variety of life experience.

I want the dynamic citizen activism we saw in the Yes campaign to lead to a new kind of politics in Scotland. Bubbling up from ordinary folk. And I want that energy from the people to defeat the forces of the mainstream media and the unionists here in the coming election.

Together, we can do it.

If selected as our candidate I will immediately move my family home to Falkirk and begin campaigning. Once elected MP, my home will become my constituency office and open to all, and no MP will work harder for his constituents. No Scottish MP will have lower expenses. I shall regularly attend the Commons and speak in debate.

Craig Murray
Writer, Human Rights Activist.
Chairman, Atholl Energy Ltd
Rector, Dundee University 2007-10
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Lancaster School of Law 2006-10
British Ambassador Uzbekistan 2002-4
HM Diplomatic Service 1984-2005
MA 1st Class Hons Modern History

Declined LVO, OBE and CVO as a Scottish nationalist and republican

Maybe that statement is what really got me disqualified?


250 thoughts on “Disbarred

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  • Peacewisher

    Political parties are what’s wrong with politics, Craig. Bit like organised religions being what’s wrong with spirituality.

  • fred

    “In what way or what aspect of it is ‘Marxist’ Fred?”

    I told you, If you are too stupid to understand that is your problem.

    I let your personal insults go once, I will not let them go again so just fuck off and die retard. When you can partake in civilised debate without ad hominem attacks I will debate but for now you can go fuck yourself cunt.

  • ElaineS

    For the first time I’m wondering whether I should have joined SNP with this kind of attitude….I left Labour because of their sheep mentality and do as you are told attitude and now with this shunning of Craig I am left with a bad taste for SNP. What else have they got up their sleeve? Is it just SNP Falkirk that have the mentality of Labour mindset? Kirkcaldy would love to have had Craig stand for us..Craig has principles, give me someone like that any day, seems Falkirk need to look at their principles or they alone will be seen to blame for the drop in polls for SNP. Craig has a massive following,someone we could trust and Falkirk don’t think that’s what the fine folk of Falkirk deserve?

  • Alex Gallagher

    @Calgacus,

    right wing as in right wing. Like Tory. Like CT Freeze, Corporation Tax Cuts, cutting 140,000 college places while reducing the number of working class kids that go to uni? Shall I continue? Do you care? Really?

  • Scouse Billy

    Fred perhaps you could enlighten the rest of us what you meant.
    Maybe we are all stupid here and you could actually do us a service by explaining what you meant with or without the expletives, your choice.

    Ball’s in your court…

  • Keith Crosby

    Bourgeois slags, they’re all the same, hence them in and you out. There’s no reforming the spoils system short of abolishing it.

  • Anon

    So a quick round-up of some of the lunacy so far…

    RepublicofScotland’s intriguing theory that Whitehall ordered the SNP to deselect Craig.

    John Goss’ talk of a secret service plot to disrupt the blog and his own inconsequential witterings.

    Tony M claiming that myself, Res Diss and Habbabkuk and are all the same paid MI5 agent sent here to defend fascism and Israel!

    (Sincere apologies if I’ve missed anyone out.)

  • fred

    ‘Fred “each according to his needs” although used by Marx was not originated by him. More relevant today is the massive gap between rich and poor which would not have happened without war-criminal and Tory, Tony Blair, who removed a basic tenet of Labour Party philosophy, proposed by Fabian, Sydney Webb, which is called clause 4 and reads:’

    I know Marx wasn’t the originator but it is part of Marxist doctrine.

    The media has focused on where the policy fell down in implementation, the practicalities but in principle the legislation is saying that some people shouldn’t have more bedrooms than they need at public expense when there might be people with fewer bedrooms than they need.

    Labour and LibDems managed to get sweeping exceptions to the legislation at Westminster, the SNP in Scotland blocked legislation proposed by the Labour party to prevent council tenants in arrears from being evicted which would have alleviated much of the injustice.

    The bedroom tax isn’t bad in principle, it’s bad in practice.

  • Fedup

    Craig,

    Those inadequate forming the panel, were far too busy protecting their concession from any probable usurper, hence the; “hostile attitudes”.

    “Discipline” another word for “compliance” to the principles (ie what is deemed mandatory from high on) and not to the reason, logic, conscience! This is the kind of mentality that fights wars, and creates mayhem just because of the orders. In Nuremberg this was not a sufficient grounds for defence, nonetheless the creed lives on, as does Ebola, Typhoid, etc.

    Your best bet is to go independent and get your own sit. This will need a lot of effort and and be prepared for the nasty briefings in the media, but it can be done, judging from the results of the referendum. Scots have awakened to their people power, and this genie is not back in the bottle yet.

    Good luck mate, and god speed.

    Remember the wise words of Archbishop Jenkins (the only bishop worth listening to) in Stockton; nil carborundum illegitemis

  • fred

    “Fred perhaps you could enlighten the rest of us what you meant.
    Maybe we are all stupid here and you could actually do us a service by explaining what you meant with or without the expletives, your choice.”

    Is it is right for a family with no children to have a two bedroom house at tax payer’s expense while a family with children live in a one bedroom house because there are no two bedroomed houses available?

  • John Goss

    Good to see you back Scouse Billy. Happy holidays and come more often. Can you still get copies of “The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists” in the ‘pool? That’s where I bought my copy. Can’t remember where I bought “Good morning brothers” by Jack Dash. I think it was Accrington.

  • ElaineS

    Are you going to single handedly build the new one bedroom flats then Fred? I know my ex party didn’t build many homes in their terms like they promised so what you are saying you don’t care is those folk on very little money who can’t afford for the extra bedroom is then made homeless, that’s okay then as long as families who need bigger houses get their vacated home. I’m guessing you are Labour or Tory voter?

  • John Goss

    “Is it is right for a family with no children to have a two bedroom house at tax payer’s expense while a family with children live in a one bedroom house because there are no two bedroomed houses available?”

    Yes, certainly, and people who need an extra room will tell you so: wheelchair users for example. I know you support Farage’s fascists but I did not know you were so incompassionate!

  • philw

    A great pity.

    There is nothing wrong with party discipline per se, the question is where you draw the line. If SNP policy is to be open to going into coalition with Labour, then it is reasonable to require any prospective candidate to support that, but it is unreasonable to demand that support no matter what the terms. There has to be a certain amount of freedom of conscience. More and more political parties are demanding blind obedience from their MPs.

    Would SNP really demand that their candidates vote for the continuation of the bedroom tax in certain circumstances? If so the public has a right to know. What would they be prepared to countenance if the price is right?

  • ElaineS

    I’d also like to add it was Labour councils that put single people into 2 bedroom flats/homes because they hadn’t gotten round to building the homes like they promised. Funny how its the folk already struggling wishing they could move in to a one bedroom flat so folk like you demonising them would just go away and leave them alone.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    @Alex Gallagher Here are some right wing policies for you.

    PFIs – not one hospital or secondary school built in the entire UK under the last Labour government except by PFIs, a tory policy (renamed PPPs because it sounded nicer, but still resulting in the same exorbitant annual payments and so less beds and staff in the new hospitals than in those they replaced).

    Privatisation – with Labour Health Ministers like Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt among those who gave NHS services over in contracts to private firms, and then obscenely took on paid employment as advisers to some of the same healthcare firms on leaving government.

    De-regulation – continued across every economic sector, another tory policy of New Labour, which left us wide open to the banking crisis. And even after the crisis Labour didn’t re-regulate the banks to prevent savings banks also being “investment” banks any more than the Coalition has since.

    Subsidising privatised railway firms at 4 times the level British Rail got, nationalising the costs (especially Railtrack which, as a purely infrastructure, maintenance and repairs firm, could not possibly make a profit) while letting the private rail operators keep the profits

    Joining every US led war going, getting members of our military killed purely for profits for arms and oil companies and Cheney and Rumsfeld’s pals. Getting us involved in systematic torture.

    The SNP are far from perfect, but for anyone who sat through all that and still supported the party leadership to accuse anyone else of being right wing or adopting tory policies is ludicrous and laughable. Get that lumber pile out of your own eye before pointing to the mote in your opponents’ eyes

  • Iam Scott

    @Craig

    “Iam Scott in particular is very misguided in blaming me for tomorrow’s press when it was the SNP hierarchy and not me that called the press in to this story.”

    Well, I personally don’t know how the Scotsman got hold of the story, but your reaction to it is the bigger issue.

    Let’s be realistic, you are someone who doesn’t hold back with your opinion, and that’s something I admire you for.

    However, in the harsh reality of party politics and especially in the circumstances of an independence party operating in the context of a unionist dominated mainstream media, as a SNP candidate you would have found yourself as the go to guy for quotes to spread stories of disunity and in fighting within the SNP.

    So in that context I think the SNP made the right call.

    I don’t think you are suited to party politics, which always involves some compromise to work, but as an independent you can be far more effective.

  • fred

    “Are you going to single handedly build the new one bedroom flats then Fred?”

    Why do you feel the urge to have to talk about me?

    I didn’t talk about you, I talked about political doctrine. What I do, and how I vote has no relevance whatsoever.

  • cearc

    Less commented on than the financial aspect of the bedroom tax is, the not inconsequential aspect, that it changes social housing from being homes for people to being temporary accomodation until their next change of circumstances.

  • ElaineS

    So this Fred is a UKIPr…that figures. Its quite ironic that many of those people stuck in flats/houses too big for them but nowhere else to go that they can afford were once taxpayers too. I know of a woman who has worked 40 years, paid all her taxes and has been unemployed for a number of months and has a spare room……….this Fred is looking down his damned nose at her when she has probably paid more taxes than he ever has. She isn’t the only long time taxpayer now unemployed so his mindset is “I don’t care you have more than paid your fair share in taxes to get a little help for being down on their luck” The more UKIP grow the more ashamed I am of Scots with this hateful mentality. Craig Murray was right to say he would not agree with Bedroom tax. Fred needs to blame the UKGov in power and the previous one who built very few affordable/council houses so anyone who is trapped in this “can’t afford to pay for extra rooms,no smaller houses/flats in area because the UKGov didn’t build any, can’t afford private rent and jobs are so hard to find with enough hours to not be worse off than they are already in dire straits” should not be the target of folk like Fred.

  • Tom Platt

    Craig,

    As a recently joined member of the the SNP, I have long tried to practise openness..but at levels much lower than the high and courageous levels of your own exemplary and admirable experience.

    In the ideal world that I sometimes like to imagine that I inhabit there is no conflict between being in the SNP and being transparent. In the pre-Independence SNP though, judging from some of the responses here, there appears to be a perceived need for rigid party discipline from prospective MPs in the centrally important quest for Indy.

    FWIW, nothing that you have posted here indicates to me that you would fail to exercise reasonable party discipline in any real conflict situation that is likely to be faced in Westminster after May. If there is a way that one of the party “big wheels” can find a mechanism for providing room for another appeal, I hope that they will use it and that you would be willing to participate. Despite the poll results recently, SNP still needs, and always will do IMO, to demonstrate that it is a natural home for people of your integrity and openness.

    Failing intervention by party leadership, I hope that all SNP members attending candidate selection hustings will consider raising your name as a “write-in” prospective SNP MP for their constituency.

    Whatever happens, do stay strong. All the best.

  • Neil MacKenzie

    Craig, I’m not sure what you mean by SNP loyalists but the use of the term rather than simply members says more about you than it does about us.
    You feel aggrieved that your selection wasn’t rubberstamped and rather than learn from your experience you have publicly criticised the party making future selection less likely.
    Have you considered that the “journalist” may just have played you and achieved the desired outcome?

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Fred – their point is there aren’t even a fraction of the number of one bedroom properties available that you would need to put everyone who only needed one bedroom into a one bedroom flat. Only 4% of the number of one bedroom flats that would be required exist
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/big-lie-behind-the-bedroom-tax-families-trapped-with-nowhere-to-move-face-penalty-for-having-spare-room-8745597.html

    On top of that the bedroom tax defines any room other than a kitchen or bathroom which a single bed could be squeezed into as a potential bedroom.

    So when you talk about how it would be unfair if there wasn’t a bedroom tax it’s pretty ridiculous and out of touch with reality.

    And think – why would people building houses build large numbers with only one bedroom and so restrict who they could sell them to a minority of the population who live alone? Never going to happen.

    Bedroom tax is a ludicrous idea. MPs don’t get told that they have to have a single bedroom house when they rent on public money, so why should people on low incomes?

  • craig Post author

    Neil

    I wasn’t “played” by the journalist. I didn’t give him an interview. I said nothing at all to the Scotsman other than to confirm I wasn’t selected and that I was very sad about it. But it was very plain from what he said to me that he had been briefed in detail about the selection process.
    Other than that they have just lifted quotes from this blog.
    I did give an interview to the Sunday Herald when they called, it being a pro-independence paper.

  • Tom Platt

    In the ideal world that I sometimes like to imagine that I inhabit there is no conflict between being in the SNP and being transparent. In the pre-Independence SNP though, judging from some of the responses here, there appears to be a perceived need for rigid party discipline from prospective MPs as the centrally important quest for Devo Max en route to Indy moves to Westminster after May.

    FWIW, nothing that you have posted here indicates to me, as a recently joined member of the SNP, that you would fail to exercise reasonable party discipline in any real conflict situation that is likely to be faced in Westminster after May. If there is a way that one of the party “big wheels” can find a mechanism for providing room for another appeal, I hope that they will use it and that you would be willing to participate. Despite the poll results recently, SNP still needs, and always will do IMO, to demonstrate that it is a natural home for people of your integrity and openness.

    Failing intervention by party leadership, I hope that all SNP members attending candidate selection hustings will consider raising your name as a “write-in” prospective SNP MP for their constituency.

    Whatever happens, please stay strong. All the best.

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