The Aldi SNP 93

There is one particularly worrying mindset among some fellow SNP members which has repeatedly recurred across social media, particularly Facebook, in response to my observations. It is what might be seen as the apotheosis of political corporatism.

I take these comments from my last post to illustrate the point, though the same meme can be found in hundreds of comments this last couple of days on many sites and tweets:

“Perhaps it would have been better just to accept you didn’t get the job.”


“If the guy can’t even handle a very polite rejection for a job without blogging about it for 3 days, then he shouldn’t be near politics. Period.”

And most tellingly:

“This is the retail equivalent of going for a job interview at ALDI, being unsuccessful and then deciding to set fire to the store on the wayout.”

There is something very worrying – and I really do mean very worrying – about people who believe that a corporation hiring staff is the correct comparator for somebody seeking to enter a democratic process. I was not asking corporate managers acting on behalf of shareholders to give me a position as an employee.

A political party is not a company. It is not owned by shareholders. Its members are supposed to be, within the party, on an equal, democratic footing. I was seeking to put my view of the correct direction for the SNP before the members of the party in a constituency, where I had spoken and been questioned at four hustings meetings. The members in the constituency could then take a democratic vote on whether they thought I was the best candidate or not. I was prevented from remaining in that democratic process and my name was removed from the ballot, due to a decision at HQ. Had I been selected I would have wanted to put my vision of an independent Scotland – consistent with the programme of the SNP – before the electorate as a whole, and conduct a most vigorous campaign and debate.

The idea that this exercise in democracy is a job interview at Aldi clearly is inappropriate. The people who put that idea forward have no feeling for liberty or democracy. For them, seats at Westminster are jobs for the boys in the gift of party managers, and the ordinary members have no more say in it than the staff do in the policy of Aldi. I find some of these attitudes genuinely worrying. I was concerned that the SNP contains a very strong democratic centralist tendency, which we members must guard against. I now see I was wrong. I should have deleted the word democratic from that sentence.

93 thoughts on “The Aldi SNP

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  • Resident Dissident

    Quite apt – I understand ALDI is a family owned business. I could also add that the tendency towards “democratic centralism” is something of a feature of Scottish politics and politicians regardless of their party – I am told that religion and the clan system have played no small part.

  • Marc

    Craig, I know of other people who have been through the vetting process successfully and were asked some very similar questions on scenarios relating to party discipline – they didn’t say no outwith for example if Scotland was to be given devo max in exchange for supporting the bedroom tax would you still reject it? This would mean the Scottish Government could abolish it in Scotland but you may be inflicting some pain on rUK. In line with doing what’s best for your constituents and for your parties goals this would be something you would probably support? Devo Max helps the party to achieve it’s end goal and would undoubtedly be beneficial for your constituents whereas the bedroom tax would not effect your constituents in this hypothetical situation. Perhaps the problem was with your response to the question being poor and a one word answer.

  • craig Post author


    I didn’t give a one word answer. The first word was no. I was asked then whether I could agree in return for something else eg power over corporation tax. I said you would have to be a great believer in trickledown to imagine that a reduction in corporation tax would do anything to help the disabled and vulnerable who would particularly be hit by the bedroom tax, and that sacrificing the most vulnerable in society was not my aim in politics.

    I am not a fan of devo max at all. We will never be given real economic autonomy; it is all smoke and mirrors. We will still be tied to neo-con UK foreign policy. I am not interested in managing the Union. I am interested in ending it.

  • giyane

    In fairness to Aldi, their staff to manager relationships always seem very healthy and their manager to customer returns service was excellent when I used it, so please don’t tar Aldi with the same brush as the SNP. I like Aldi.

    SNP appear to have two intrinsic faults as far as I can see, firstly that they are unfortunately nationalists not pluralists and secondly their independence when it comes to quiet words in the ears of senior members( which have been glowing judging by the amount of SNP coverage today on Radio 4 ) by the Westminster Establishment seems a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.

    Sorry SNP you are not the winners of the 2014 sandwich award. I’ll make my own in future.

  • Robert Crawford


    It all boils down to an “Inferiority Complex”.

    Those who rubbish others feel inferiorn and will try to bring you/others down to their level.

    Thought analysis does not come into it.

    As someone who is very new to your blog and computing, I have been attcked on here too.

    I would not touch Facebook with a barge poll. My instincts tell me it is very dangerous. This of course down to the users or is it abusers?

    Unfortunately words are sometimes used as weapons. They can hurt just as much as real weapons.

    You will have misfortunes great and small, keep your heart above them all. You will.

    You are a SURVIVOR. Your history proves that, time and time again.

    I am glad you responded the way you did. Well done.

  • Roddy Macdonald

    As a longstanding SNP member I’m glad that the party employs a vetting process before disbursing my and other members’ donations on backing parliamentary candidates. You failed to get through that process and, frankly, your subsequent actions have amply demonstrated the perspicacity of both the original selection panel and the appeal panel. You are now acting like a fully-fledged useful idiot for the Unionists. It is most unedifying and doesn’t become you.

    My original thought was that your best course would be to stand as an independent Pro-Independence candidate in a Labour constituency with such a tribal loathing for the SNP that they would never vote for an SNP candidate. However, I now begin to wonder whether you would be a liability to the wider Yes movement even in that role.

    It really is time to accept that you had no God-given right to be backed by the SNP, move on with your life and stop damaging the cause you profess to support.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Resident Dissident

    “Quite apt – I understand ALDI is a family owned business.”

    You wouldn’t be saying that to hint that you think the SNP has something of the family business about it, would you?

    Surely not a sly reference to Mrs Sturgeon, the SNP partei Leader and “Mr Sturgeon” who is the Chief Executive of the SNP?

    BTW, you probably know that the combined income of the Sturgeon household is well over £160.000 per annum. In your opinion, do the Sturgeons qualify for the appelation “troughers”?

  • giyane

    Des Res

    Aaah! the clans. Would that be the same clan system that runs the village politics mentality of so many Muslim countries. Everything runs by the mafia mentality that can kill 148 children in a school in Peshawar on a monitored phone call from Afghanistan. Very little trace of the religion of Islam in those societies, but the bullying, hen-pecking system of village politics is what many Muslims have come to think is Islam.

    Or is that the model of clan system T.E. Lawrence and General MacCrystal broke down by the ladder system, least powerful first until the whole society was co-erced into submission? And later by ISIS under General Petraus.

    Where’s the chilli in my scrambled eggs please?

  • Ishmael

    “stop damaging the cause you profess to support”

    Are we fighting for causes again now. I thought they did not matter much. Or if they did that’s a problem ?

  • John Goss

    It occurs to me Craig, even though you have probably added greatly to the membership escalation within the SNP, that the hierarchy of the party do not want you. There was a woman, Morag somebody, who every time you were mentioned on the SNP Facebook page, would chip in with how unsuitable you would be as a candidate. Now I do not know who this Morag is but I could hazard a guess. But most telling is the letter rejecting your candidacy. The interview, appeal sorry, had been on 6th December. They knew they did not want you and could have let you know the week after. Instead they decided to make a Christmas present of it – all planned I’m sure. Yes, your concern for an independent Scotland is sincere. But they have the party machine – which is right-wing. You are not, and do not fit. They are just another establishment party sucking at the tit of Westminster. This keeps their palms well-greased and their fat butts on the soft cushions. They do not want independence. But you do. You do not belong. The Liberal Party was much better than this shower of shit. Start an Independence Party. You are a fine orator when you get going, you don’t use notes, you can be very witty, and I reckon you could take all the new members you got for the SNP with you.

    Now you know my politics. My politics is the politics of Keir Hardie. The politics of Robert Tressell. The politics of Frederick Engels and Charles Dickens. I would advise you to join Left Unity and increase its profile. Somehow I don’t think you would be happy there either, but I live in hope. Politics is a dirty business. Delivering that intentional rejection on Christmas Eve was a dirty trick.

  • Marc

    Thanks for the response Craig, I’ve been a member of the SNP for a few years and it’s currently undergoing its biggest change due to the uptake in membership in recent months, in the branch meetings and in some areas of the party there was no doubt an old guard doing what they’d always done and this is being ‘disrupted’ now by the many new members and those engaged in politics for the first time. This can only be good for party democracy and I hope to see the party develop with new ideas and energies in the coming months and years.

    I’ve heard you speak during the referendum campaign and enjoyed your speech and heard you on some videos too I respect your whistleblowing etc and I agreed with most of your points and arguments during the campaign. I couldn’t agree with you when you slated no voters however, I feel many of them voted on false pretences and many were perhaps not very well informed but it’s our duty to reach out to these people and educate them and we did that to a great extent during the campaign but not quite enough. I think insulting them will only create greater divisions, of course there are some who are so blinkered they’ll never change their minds but for the vast majority we need to be reaching out to them, educating them and debating them. Insulting them isn’t the answer and I do wonder if this played any role in you not being approved.

  • giyane

    Roddy MacDonald

    Craig, like juliam Assange and Edward Snowden have achieved something extraordinary. Mixing the acetylene of dark political secrets and the oxygen of publicity, you get an intense brilliant, burning fire, if you have the craftsmanship to use it correctly.

    The world of warmongering politicians is so threadbare, the only thing they can do to retaliate, rather than reform themselves, is take out civilian airplanes belonging to their Malaysian accusers. Wow! How do they do that!? Wow! How did they blow up the WTC!? Wow! can we see that in 3D?!

    Your tone reminds me of a Radio 4 discussion with David Steele this evening. I have sat on my bum and done nothing my entire life except pontificating and surviving. By doing this for my entire life, I am now a guest of the BBC.

  • Resident Dissident

    Given this may be the shape of what is being negotiated with Labour post election perhaps Craig and others might wish to say whether or not they could stand on a platform supporting such a stance. One can only speculate what sort of deal the SNP might be looking for with the Tories

    I should add that I do think it is right that political parties should make their coalition negotiation stance public before the election rather than after – otherwise you get the position where the Lib Dem leader is in private taking a different stance on fundamentals like deficit reduction from that which they are seeking to put to the electorate.

    As for Craig joining Left Disunity – LOL – I think you will find that Scotaland has it own telephone box tendencies.

  • Brian

    Craig do not dilute your principles whatsoever, you and thousands of others are not sheep, we will keep our integrity, that is why, even though I thought about it, I did not join the SNP, our country needs free spirits, with open minds, stand as an independent candidate, go against Murphy, you would win easily by everyone being informed of your high morality, compared to the Zionist backed Smurph. Go for it Craig, and Nicola, be a true leader, put Scotland ahead of party, and give him your wholehearted endorsement.

  • Resident Dissident


    Scotland does not have a monopoly on clan systems – and yes their chiefs often misappropriate religious and other belief systems to support their aims. You could also point to how Putin and the Russian oligarchs use the Orthodox Church as another example.

  • giyane

    Harbinger of Doom

    “BTW, you probably know that the combined income of the Sturgeon household is well over £160.000 per annum”

    i.e. about a quarter of that of my local G.P.’s family.

    Shaken, even stirred, by the presence of dignitaries from the SNP, the butler whisks the dandruff off the velvet collars, silently burbling, your majesty, your majesty.

    The office of President of Turkey, I would have thought, and most people would agree with me, ought to be above the harbouring of terrorists and syphoning of money from USUKIS state terrorist arms deals. But no, it’s the 16 year old who hasn’t understood that the office of presidency is beyond having to act legitimately.

    Telling the electorate you are going to do something, and doing the opposite for political expediency, is , in my book, beyond legitimacy. In the case of the SNP, they are telling us they feel no compunction about betraying the electorate. I heard it from the lips of one of the leaders of the SNP on radio 4 today.
    Who do they think they are? President of Turkey? Too much Xmas Turkey driven them barmy!?

    Anyway the butler will smooth things down, won’t you Harbie?

  • John Goss

    Roddy MacDonald at 10.57

    I clicked on your name-link and found this charming wee poem the like of which I thought had died out with Hugh MacDiarmid and the ‘Lallans Makars’ though not of course the sentiment. You must be the last. Very witty. I near ‘kieched ma breeks’ laughing.

    “The Thirldom Come Hauf o’ Ye
    Dreich the haar in the dim day’s dawin’
    In the clouds, tapsalteerie in dismay.
    And there’s still just a wee fart blawin’
    Through the bum cheeks o’ Scots the day.
    Ye were feart! Cowed ahint the sofa,
    And at freedom, got a few keeks
    And ye gawped like daft wee laddies,
    Sulked and sat doon and kieched yer breeks.”

    But you are wrong about Craig. It’s the old faction of the SNP that is the barrier to progress.

  • nevermind

    Not at all apt, forever rigid dissident, as if there was no low cost Scottish supermarket such as Londis to slate?

    I deplore the blatant and irresponsible use of a reputable German retailer by a Westminster/Labour obsessed political party, to express their wholly inept publication of Craig’s selection procedure in a unionist publication of ill repute.

    Once again, go for it, I’m sure there are others who think alike Craig, time to tango and change politics as it was, decentralising power into the most open and communal hands, social justice in an Independent state, and good riddance to a bedroom tax, however much Labour is wedded to using a housing market for their petty social engineering, shame on them for accepting this Tory Yoch.

    I helped before and I would help again, I can walk, listen and speak and be friendly all day long. I’m sure there are many potential electoral teams, dare I say, Independent minded possible candidates who would support each other.
    There’s enough hope to conquer fear.

  • Clark

    Roddy Macdonald, 10:57 pm, you seem to have skipped over the bit in between, where prospective candidates debate, and then the constituency party members vote… In fact you’ve just illustrated Craig’s point perfectly.

  • Tom Platt

    If Craig is still willing and still interested, I would hope that the following party rule surrounding choice and removal of suitable people for SNP candidature, might be considered relevant to allow Craig’s value as an SNP candidate for Westminster to be recognised:-
    9.5 There is no appeal against the decision of the National Executive Committee on removal of a member from the Register of Approved Potential Parliamentary or Local Government Candidates. A member may be eligible to re-apply for consideration as a potential parliamentary or local government candidate on the guidance of the Panel.

    Peter Curran has blogged:-“…Nicola recognised this instantly, and responded rapidly by opening up the way for new members to offer themselves as candidates for the immediate challenge – GE2015 – and for Holyrood in 2016.There can also be little doubt that this sent a chill down the spine of two categories of party members: long-serving, worthy activists who had paid their dues to the party and aspired to candidate selection …and the party favourites – talented activists, not necessarily long-standing members, who were being assiduously groomed for imminent stardom, many of whom had made their bones during the long referendum campaign. It is probably fair to say of the second category that their backers were more than a little uneasy about the prospect of their protégés being challenged by the nouvelle vague.”

    SNP has much to gain by using this rule, or finding some other way, of obtaining Craig’s services as a candidate. Even though I have read all of the objections to Craig’s candidature posted to this blog and many posted elsewhere, not to do so seems to me like crass folly and a rejection of Nicola’s stated advice and intentions after the passing of the change at the last Conference. As a decent, reforming political party we should surely be willing to give our eye teeth to secure candidates like Craig. Persistence on our present course on the CM affair suggests to me that SNP is itself in need of reform.

    I hope that someone in SNP National Executive Committee is authorised by a large group of members to contact Craig and invite him to re-apply. Hopefully a “nod and a wink” would be considered appropriate too.

  • nevermind

    Bravo Tom Platt for pointing to a much needed reform and how much better if it comes from a new leader, rather than a nod and a wink.

    One can guess, by his previous talk about standing up for principled politics, that Craig would like to be considered as fairly and as friendly as all the other candidates, regardless of last minute missive’s being pulled out.
    But its not for me to guess, he has said so many times before.

    I fully agree with your description, Tom, of it being a crass folly and diversion of Ms. Sturgeons first thoughts on opening up the party to fresh and energetic activists.

  • DB

    The Aldi metaphor may be a bit off in a company sense, but the part about setting fire to the building may be valid if the attacks on the SNP continue.

    Personally, I agree that it should have went to a members vote, but most people accept that the leadership of a party have built up trust to take the party in a certain direction, and should also have influence over strategic decisions.

    Some of the comments here are totally out of order.
    SNP members who support a gradualist approach, STILL WANT THE SAME OUTCOME.

    John Goss – Who do you think got us an independence referendum in the first place?

    We all wanted a YES vote, but have to accept that the leap was still too far at this time.
    If we don’t get more powers out of it, then we have achieved nothing.

    It’s not about jobs for the boys, or propping up Labour – it is a strategy that recognizes that change comes slowly in Scotland – partly due to the huge media bias.

    Every power devolved is a step closer to independence, and makes it easier to achieve next time around.
    Why do you think unionists are so reluctant to devolve significant powers?

  • craig Post author


    There are a lot of genuine pro-independence people who believe a gradualist approach continues to be a steady road towards independence. I don’t; I think at this stage it is both a diversion and a trap. The discussion is a perfectly legitimate one for the independence movement to be having. I don’t think that supporters of either view should be purged from parliamentary ranks.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    There is something very worrying – and I really do mean very worrying – about people who believe that a corporation hiring staff is the correct comparator for somebody seeking to enter a democratic process. I was not asking corporate managers acting on behalf of shareholders to give me a position as an employee.

    Errr…you were asking corporate managers acting on behalf of party members to give you a chance at a job. I’m a little worried that you think a corporation hiring staff is not the correct comparator. What alternative do you suggest? Public acclamation? Granted, the constituency might have held a democratic ballot, but as the SNP has plans for Westminster, the suitability of candidates in the wider strategic context has to be given some weight too. Anyway, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again, and keep an eye on that spider. Bear in mind that a realistic figure for the number of failed job applications made by a new graduate is in the hundreds….now that’s corporatism at work….and half of them end up stacking shelves anyway.

    DB’s just said the rest of what I was thinking. No I’m not now, though I once was, and have never regretted being, an SNP member. Accepting the referendum, analysing the situation, regrouping and moving forward with a working compromise between the various shades of opinion looks much more like realpolitik to me. And if romantic fantasies get dropped overboard on the way, so much the better.

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