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:

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 McCann
Corporate Governance and Compliance Manager
Scottish National Party


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

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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  • John Goss

    Neil MacKenzie, I agree Craig has made future selection less likely – I actually think impossible. However I detest your gloating attitude of having possibly been duped by a journalist (1.11 a.m.) and proof that your assumption was right at (1.30 a.m.) which stinks of pre-knowledge and the reference in both comments using the verb “played” reinforces my belief that you came here with an agenda. Congratulations on your wicked subterfuge and triumph over one good man’s distress.

  • Jives

    And so politics-as you ought well know Craig-is a duuuurty game.

    It’s all about being whippable Craig-and to your great credit you’re clearly not.

    Fret not.

    In the long run your principles and belief in the power of truth will get you much further.

    Fuck ’em Craig;they’re none of them worth the compromises to your integrity.

  • Jives

    Funny word whippable innit?

    For years,in a political context,i always thought it about power,influence etc..

    These days it has associations to the likes of Savile,Dolphin Square.Elm Guest House etc..

  • Neil MacKenzie

    John Goss, no gloating just reflecting. I have the utmost respect for Craig but believe he isn’t cut out for party politics.

  • Jemand

    What chance does a party have when it is in disarray, each member thinking he knows best and each variously refusing to push in the same direction because they “can’t lie”. Anyone heard of compromise? You don’t need to lie in order to compromise and you don’t have to bang on, on the public stage, about every division between you and the party. Borrowing from the lexicon of the liberal progressive – it’s all about tolerance and harmony. I mean, when ordinary people refuse to compromise on objectional cultural differences, they’re branded “racist” – another favourite term of the liberal progressive.

  • Jemand

    However, in relation to the so-called “bedroom tax”, it is plain for any to see that it is all about the cheapest way for government to wiggle out of their responsibility to produce more infrastructure to meet the demands of an unrestrained, growing population — something Craig supports.

    This tax is certainly a rude imposition on many and an overdue correction for others. But it is the predictable result of everything we have observed in the past about scarce resources and human nature.

    Population growth demands more bedrooms, someone needs to pay for that, they need to be built somewhere otherwise you must accept homelessness, government squatting or a “bedroom tax”.

    With 250,000 new migrants each year entering the UK, and the population growing by around half a million (that’s one new city that needs to be built EACH YEAR) what clever ideas do the supporters of endless growth here have to offer by way of a viable solution that doesn’t involve holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’?

    We’ve known this for more than 30 years :

    Some stats – ignored by the ignorant :

  • Tony M

    When the government is prepared, even eager to push people around, by forcing them out of their homes against their will, especially in Scotland as doing so would be illegal under existing so-called ‘Secure Tenancies’ by public sector landlords managing ex-council i.e. formerly publicly owned housing, now run as housing associations operating as charities with social obligations, who’ve acquired tens of thousands of houses at token or at no cost, by pursuing tenants as debtors, in rent arrears accrued for the difference between their existing rent compared with a notional figure paid in housing benefit based on some bureaucratically determined figure for their ‘entitlement’, a figure less than their actual rent, then it is simply a swingeing social security cut, dressed up in what they hoped would be an opaque manner, we’re only a short step away from simply herding inconvenient people into camps or euthanising them. It seems almost calculated to maximise distress.

    People generally have that extra room through changes in their circumstances, such as a child leaving home or an elderly relative or parent dying, though I can remember as a single person, the first offer of a house made to me by my local council after years on a waiting list, being a large flat having three bedrooms, as it was all that was available; I declined this and not so long afterwards, a few years, the entire building and street was demolished. Society is not made up of nuclear families of conveniently pigeon-holeable two parent and child households, and neither is it written anywhere or sensible that people must live in the smallest possible area footprint and government must oblige by herding sigle people into cold damp cells. Such attempts to enforce through housing policy or economic measures, such rigid conformity are doomed to failure, this was and still is monstrous social engineering, it seems calculated to cause maximium dislocation and distress, for negligible gain, began by New Labour’s and taken up with glee and enlarged by their soul-mate Tory comrades, brother and sister comrades in sadism. The whole of government housing policies has been to enforce indeed to create scarcity, with every conceivable largesse given to home owners and feckless wannabees; galloping inflation alone will not rescue those who owe several times more in mortagage debts than the actual value of their property on a good day, but house prices do need to, and will fall drastically to their realistic worth, and some will be caught when the music stops and the lights come up, the ‘clever’ money will have long got out of the game and the bandwagonesque mugs who thought class solidarity was a negotiable tradable asset will be all on their own. Why should the whole of society including those who are not debt-slave homeowners pay dearly to sustain this artificial bubble, subsidising those who bought into the whole Thatcherite one-upmanship delusion, who rightly should now be preparing for the reality of negative equity up to ten or more times the actual value of ‘their’ property. Will the media command we give them our sympathy, with quite the same vigour the characterised bedroom tax evictees as scroungers?

  • lwtc247

    Happy Christmas Craig. Sorry about this which you consider to be bad news.
    Sad also that the SNP seems just as thuggish vis-a-vis the Orwellian “the party comes first” (note, not the people!) tripe. Anyway, If you really must persist in this political charade – and despite you tan curve like fervour/disillusionment for it, the answer is staring you in the face. Form your own party. “The Independent Scotland Party” (although I shudder that I tagged the word ‘party’ on at the end there). I know you’ve tried it before but the Scottish electorate is different enough from the English one to find a home there, and doubtless you could be the nucleus of like minded Scots.

    Anyway, all the best to you and yours.

  • fred

    “So this Fred is a UKIPr…that figures. ”

    Fuck off and die retard.

    Does anybody actually think that gaining 50,000 members will benefit the SNP or Scotland when they are 50,000 knuckle draggers incapable of either rational thought or civilised debate.

    When you can talk about the issues not about me I will talk to you but for now you can just fuck off you nasty little cunt.

  • fred

    “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”

    Yes, now we are talking about the practicalities of implementation not the political idealism, political ideals often do turn into practical disasters. Legislation often does have the opposite effect to that which was was intended.

  • Tony M

    What was the political idealism behind it oh wise one. Labour introduced the bloody thing to feather-bed buy-to-let wannabe Rachmanite landlords, probably incuding yourself, and sustain the housing and property bubble, the Tories extended to it to the remnants of the public sector for the same reasons, filthy lucre and resumption of reckless risk-free lending, with the tax-payer at large as the guarantor again when it went inevitably goes tits up, and the poorest and have-nots in society further marginalised and victimised, humiliated, thrown into the street with their possessions, the detritus of their lives, as a further bonus for their tormentors to get their jollies and a kick from.

  • fred

    “What was the political idealism behind it oh wise one.”

    I have said it several times why do you keep on asking?

    It’s Socialism, equality, or lack of it. Someone who works and pays rent and rates themselves has to decide if they want to pay for a bigger house than they need. It wouldn’t follow Socialist principles to have an elite class who didn’t would it?

  • Summerhead

    The party system is totally at odds with real democracy. I suggest reading Muammar Gaddafi’s Green Book on this subject.

  • Oneironaut


    From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

    You missed out a rather important part of the quote there…

  • Haver

    “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).”

    Yes that is the case in my experience, and the reason I left the SNP. It seems to be the case that only the wee favourites who are eminently controllable lobby fodder will be considered. Anyone who shows modicum of independent thinking will not be considered as acceptable.

    The SNP has now become just like the London parties – a magnet for political careerists and ‘Yes men’. I know people like me who have spent decades campaigning for independence who have become disillusioned with the way the party is going.

    Craig, you don’t say if you were the prospective candidate for Falkirk East or Falkirk West.

  • Jemand

    Mary – “Ooh, ooh.. I’ve got nothing intelligent or relevant to say so I’m going to highlight the fact that Jemand takes exception to being a prescribed target of violence by a terrorist cult that dimwitted old cows like me support because I hate my country and white people.”

    Well said, Mary. You haven’t learnt a single fucking thing this year.

    *little clap*

  • Calgacus

    @ alex gallacher, oh I care that’s why I am NOT in the disgusting labour party who lie, lie and lie again. I have a child at University who couldn’t have gone if the fees that you support had to be paid. As for corporation tax Brown reduced that twice, very socialist, you hypocritical red tory.

  • Jemand

    “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

    Pithy, but a bit sticky, isn’t it? Do people volunteer their abilities or have them extracted with a threat of life-destroying penalties? Are they supposed to break their backs while others lie back and enjoy the ride? Who decides who receives concessions and benefits “according to his needs”?

    Communism – R.I.H. (hell)


  • nevermind

    Sorry to hear of the backstabbing SNP tactics informing the MSM before they inform you. Lets see what the wings over Scotland spine is all about, whether they agree with the SNP Westminster line, what they think of becoming Labours light lunch?

    Why is the SNP, who knows of labours potential losses, licking their feet before the contests has started?

    Looks like the multiple posting SNP members, so they say, anxious neil’s, Iamscot, cahangawk and David Lyons will only accept arse lickers and yes sayers as SNP members, people who duff their caps when they see the local careerists pass by.
    If the SNP is not big enough to incorporate Craig Murray as he is, and I absolutely agree with Tom Platt, nothing you said has anything to do with not showing enough discipline, then they have shot themselves in the foot.

    The Scotsman probably also knew that the interview questions to candidates should have been the same, in each case, something to find out maybe whether this was the case.

    I would appeal and also find out in which constituency your largest potential lies and who would actively help you in a possible Independent campaign. It would look great to have SNP members supporting a pro Independent candidate, what have they got to loose?

    Lastly, Alex Salmonds remarks regards to a Labour SNP coalition, trumpeted all over the news, leaves one to belief that they already have had their speed dating session and have set their main markers,talked about what possibly might happen in this coalition.

    You might have been part of a horse deal and jack Straws bloody fingers had something to do with it, why does this rejection come so close after his grandiose talk of a Labour coalition. Labour is already devouring the SNP for breakfast, they are bending over backwards for them, long before the public had their say.

    Those who say that it is essential for labour to agree with Scottish independence to achieve such a goal, are fooling themselves. No Westminster party will deliver real Independence, they can’t even deliver what they promised and well done to those three cllrs. who publicly burnt the Smith report, it was cobbled kackshite.

  • Mark

    There are many within the SNP ranks who are actively alienating those who want independence but don’t submit to being ‘SNP to the core’.

    I do wonder where this perspective of the SNP being the be supreme voice on independence comes from. Why do some within the party dismiss those who share the same ultimate dream but do not want to be part of a political party? ANY political party for that matter.

    I have read with disappointment some of the holier than though comments on forums, incidentally forums which where not party politically driven throughout the referendum debate but which have now turned into SNP cyber branch offices.

    It even went as far as a local tactical voting site in my area, which was set up with the explicit reason to oust Labour from every level of government. Nothing was decided, the question was thrown out to all and initially very good debate was had but which was quickly overtaken by party politics, and that of one party, the SNP. If you went on to it you would be forgiven for thinking its the local SNP website which even went as far as having prospective SNP candidates self promoting themselves.

    There is a simple problem in this, in my opinion the SNP cannot ever gain independence without being welcoming of other party supporters and indeed those who are non party political. We will fall short of the required vote, that is evident, but the SNP roadshow seem oblivious to all of this and are too busy patting one another on the back.

    I am personally non party political but people need to remember one thing, it was the SNP’s shambolic approach to the currency question which allowed the unionists to hang them out to dry and in my opinion swung the vote.

    We all know they wanted their own currency in time but where terrified to say it and BT knew it and hammered on that point.

    p.s, I have to date only ever voted one party, SNP, but they are fast undermining my commitment to them as the party of independence.

  • Mary

    Cut the language Jemand.

    ‘The boot’ as you call it, is on your foot. ie disliking Muslims and immigrants.

  • Graham Ennis

    Craig, I am deeply shocked at what has happened. there is, regrettably, a section of the SNP whose ideas and behaviour make me despair. The “Falkirk Effect” seems to have got to some of the local party hierarchy.I think the great majority of SNP members would be astonished at what has happened, and I think the SNP Falkirk branch have damaged the parties standing and image. It smacks of local small minded mediocrities exercising their local powers in a very irrational way, not supported by the mass of either local members or of the national membership. They have given the Unionist media and the BBC and SLAB a free stick with which to beat the SNP. Very bad. May I suggest you do not give up. A petition supporting your right to stand would be a very good thing. it would attract mass support. keep up the struggle.

  • Gordon M

    I’ve only heard you speak once and you appeared to be slightly tipsy. Could this be a factor do you think?

  • Rose

    Craig, if it’s true that it was because of your answer re Bedroom Tax then I’d consider leaving the SNP, having only recently joined, simply because if I wouldn’t support Bedroom Tax for my own country, I wouldn’t change that principle by supporting it to the detriment of another country (i.e. rUK). But that issue is not clear in terms of your interview, as you say yourself.

    I have to add to comments above – I feel your voice as a human rights activist with much experience and integrity is more effective outside of party politics.

    Maybe the SNP want political players/tacticians given the complexity of the upcoming election and potential results. After all a party politician, bound by party rules, is a different ‘animal’ from a freelance activist. Speaking for myself, I might be an SNP member but I’d never pursue a career in politics, I feel it’s a behavioral thing.

    I would like more answers/facts on this whole issue though.

  • Mark Yule

    This stinks and you are quite right to be disappointed. It makes a mockery of the “opening up” they spoke of…

    Your statement was principled and I believe any voter would hope their mp/msp/mep had such resistance to the cancer of real politik. This is what has caused Westminster to become so dysfunctional.

    I hope you take heart from your support and stand as an independent (or with the ssp or greens). The 45% and growing don’t want to “run” Westminster by way of some coalition agreement, we want self determination. Nothing else!

    Keep fighting the good fight ☺

  • Jemand

    Mary Xmas –

    “Cut the language Jemand.

    ‘The boot’ as you call it, is on your foot. ie disliking Muslims and immigrants.”

    Cut the bullshit, Mary. I have never written anything from which intelligent people, of which you are not one, can interpret as “disliking Muslims and immigrants.” That is just a mischievous lie from a confirmed Jew-hater in place of the debate that you are incapable of presenting for having failed to finish school.

    For your remedial education can I direct you to a dictionary to find the denotations of the words “Islam”, “muslim”, “immigration” and “immigrant” — you will find that each of these words have their own nuanced meanings. And also, to an encyclopaedia for discussions on population, economics and immigration policies. Again, you will find that your simple-minded conflation of two different, although related, things is preventing you from making progress.

    So go off now, you need to do a bit of catching up.

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