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.

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93 thoughts on “The Aldi SNP

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  • DavidH

    Well, there’s the conundrum that’s been frequently observed in this blog – you may have a democracy where everybody votes but who controls the choice of candidates? What’s the point of voting if Lib/Lab/Con (and, it seems, SNP) are all part of the same dirty machine?

    I’ve said it before: it’s long been clear that the SNP are not crusaders for everything that’s right and fair in the world. At Leveson, we saw emails between Alex Salmond’s staff and Rupert Murdoch’s “government relations” people that clearly linked favorable editorials in the Scottish Sun with Alex lobbying his Westminster chums in favor of Rupert’s business interests. More shocking than hacks listening in on celebrity voice mails, I thought, but much less reported and certainly not prosecuted. And now Alex just can’t wait to jump back into bed with the whole scummy bunch and start trading on the SNP’s rising popularity. He’s like an old tart with a new set of plastic boobs. (There’s a cartoon in there if only I could draw…)

  • DavidH

    On the independence / devolution question, I understand opponents of the gradualist approach – you want it all and you want it now. But that still doesn’t excuse the SNP for not doing what they can for the Scottish people with what they have now. Particularly schools, which I think have been entirely under SNP control for a long time and are in an even more appalling state in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

  • ian foulds

    Until politics, politicians and their hangers-on grow up, ‘grow some’ (not wishing to be sexist – this applies to both sexes – the fairer of which does tend – generally – to be more mature due to possibly less testosterone than their ‘little boy in the playground’ counterparts) and give the people what we want, could we not revert to how ‘democracies’ allegedly worked before and have more independent representatives discussing and agreeing matters in the ‘Forum’?

  • sverdlov

    i think this whole affair with your interview and conseqeunces of it has carefully been orchestrated in order to devalue the SNP in the eyes of millions of youngsters. Many are dissapointed and disillusioned with the SNP now, and guess what, the Westminster establishment have no serious enemy on Scottish lands anymore. It takes some years to build a party but a planned tactics can destroy it in a matter of days.

  • Roger Ewen

    Hi Craig,
    I’m shocked you haven’t been selected, but I can also understand the “management” being reticent.
    You are a live wire, a possible distraction to be used by the opposition unionist parties.
    You will, I have no doubt, be in due time be a major asset to the Scottish political scene and the Scottish nation. But you have time.
    I can only commiserate with you, I and many people see your worth.
    Best Regards

  • Jives

    Cui bono?

    That’s the essential question in this stooshie.

    Certainly not Craig or the SNP.

    Labour and Tories most definitely.

    Cue SNP infighting,divisions,mistrust,paranoia…

    Classic stitch up.

    Trebles all round in PR Spadsville.

    Machiavelli would’ve smirked.

  • Tony M

    “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.”

    I don’t see how this is in an way applicable or relevant, or I’m missing something.

    Craig Murray was not even allowed on to the “Register of Approved Potential Parliamentary or Local Government Candidates” so cannot therefore have been removed from it.

    The criteria for being allowed at least onto the candidature ballot should be membership of the party and two or more nominations from within a constituency, including but not necessarily the would-be candidate’s self-nomination, so at least one other, after that it should be up to the members of the constituency area to vote between the nominated candidates who agree to stand and go forward and can win that membership ballot. What else and why would anything more be required. Once you get into the area of ‘vetting’ simply to be permitted to become a potential candidate – especially when membership support, not just in the one constituency but across the whole party, across disparate constituencies is strong – it ceases to be in any way democratic.

    Do we really want Westmidden MPs walking around in awe for an indeterminate length of time till they find their feet and can command their wits, like a group of schoolkids on a day trip to the “Mother of all Parliaments”, or people who see it as the blood-soaked house of horror and oppression it really is and wish to see it from the first instance figuratively torn down. It looks a dismal prospect, having to start all over again, build a new pro-independence party, divide the existing support coalesced around the SNP, but it might well be ncessary, how sad, how many more generations then are to suffer and never be free for the sake of some power-drunk party apparatchiks?

  • Tony M

    The parallel with seeking employment is so wrong, and I’m sure if Craig had been rejected as a candidate by a constituency ballot, he’d still have had a brief grumble, he lives in the public eye, uncomfortably, for someone so obviously a private and modest person, but with irreducible principles, and his polemical style is not only incisive, hard-hitting, but is often amusing and deliciously satirical with it. He’s to suffer now for his art too. Along with Bellacaledonia, Wings Over Scotland and Weegingerdug, Craig had put the fun back into politics, has single-handedly done far more than the dull-as-ditchwater official corporate Yes campaign, till the grassroots, the mavericks wrestled it from the desk-jockeys and the sky became its only limit. If that rejection had been by transparent democratic means I’m sure it would have been readily accepted, maybe to try and again some day, but this coming May election is special, there is a now or never factor, this is the moment in time when change will come suddenly or the realisation dawn that it will never in any meaningful sense come, or be too little too late for so many.

  • Ishmael

    If I was in a party in Scotland I couldn’t (after seeing the yes campaign) sit back and not remain engaged and receptive to that base. I don’t imagine many would feel like waiting around a good idea.

    On an individual level. I don’t see obsessing over the BBC a good thing (like the SNP). Though I can see the benefits, potentially, I often think why hasn’t Craig been on larger social media outlets more. RT, Democracy now, etc. I’m sure Russell would be honoured to have you pop in. The point is there are lots of ways whistle-blowers etc reach a huge audience. And with intimate connections to the movement in Scotland that could be a real boost to them.

    I just think sometimes, watching the diy videos (that are fine btw) that you are comparatively hidden…The opposite should be the case.

    I don’t think this something Craig should have to work on. And I do think we could be doing more tbh.

  • Juteman

    I have many issues with SNP policy, yet I vote for them at every election, and try not to give my enemies ammunition on social media.
    The sole aim that unites us is independence, and I often bite my tongue, or fingers, when I feel the urge to criticise the SNP or other Indy campaigners online.
    Sadly, I think the right choice was made, Craig.
    I hope you will let your anger settle now, and return to attacking our real enemies in the struggle for independence.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bell"a)

    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.”

    That comment of Baal’s has considerable merit.

    Is there really that much difference between (say) Aldi and the SNP or any political party? Both are “entreprises”, the one with political goals and the other with commercial ones. Both have a constituencies to satisfy (the voters/the shareholders and customers), both are out to make a profit (getting elected/money). It is therefore not surprising that potential “employees” should be selected rather carefully: one would not expect an applicant for a job with ALDI to get it if he or she professed, at the interview, to be against whichever sales policies the ALDI management was espousing at that particular moment.

  • Ishmael

    I was just thinking about all the institutions used as tools to discipline people. Made me think about the “Group discipline” issue.

    This is the means and the end of this system.

    Do they not even see it? “Causes”. What a joke.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Fascism is alive and well in the higher echelons of the SNP.”

    What a silly comment – do you really think Mussolini would have gone to the bother of interviews and appeals for the placing candidates on a list and then allowed ordinary party members a choice from those on the list.

  • Resident Dissident

    I think all of those seeking to appeal to the Sturgeons to see reason and use loopholes in the SNP to modify the selection process to allow Craig to stand as a candidate are rather missing the point as well.

  • Resident Dissident

    Are there any maverick SNP MSPs who are a thorn in the side of the leadership? Answer that question and then you might have a better understanding as to the nature of selection processes within the SNP – and why Craig shouldn’t have been too surprised.

  • Mark Golding

    I remember the SNP reticence when Angus SNP MP Mike Weir and Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan, voted to overturn many aspects of the controversial and shameful bedroom tax.

    It seems you are right DavidH 30 Dec, 2014 – 2:02 am SNP are indeed ..all part of the same dirty machine.

    I think Mary Fascism is alive and well in the higher echelons of the SNP may well be an underestimate, it seems these controlling ranks, the so called SNP ‘druthers without emotion’ are just gate-keepers for the higher establishment privy tiers.

    Having said that I realise for many further devolution is now the route to Scotland’s independence and that passage has to be free of imputation where blame is a powerful means to defend union.

  • Mary

    Craig. Far be it from me, but this reverse will eat away at you. Forget them. They are not worth it. Have some family time preferably somewhere in the sun. You need to recover from your flu and to get some rest and relaxation as the saying goes. Hope this does not jar.

  • Resident Dissident

    Margo MacDonald, Dorothy Grace- Elder and LLoyd Quinan – all stand as testament as to what happens to mavericks within the SNP.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I think Mary Fascism is alive and well in the higher echelons of the SNP may well be an underestimate”

    Even more so than your beloved Syrian Ba’aath Party?

    Perhaps you might wish to enlighten us as to the selection and deselection processes for Syrian MPs – and how they might translate to the SNP?

  • Mary

    RD – Fascism

    ‘The “progressive” community wasted the last two years and countless resources sponsoring corporate lackeys for election to a fascist system of government. (Fascism was originally defined by Benito Mussolini as a partnership between government and corporations.) Congratulations. There still is no serious anti-war or anti-militarism movement in this country. The corporatists won-peace and social justice lost, again. With progress like this, who needs habeas corpus?

    As I did before this recent lemming vote-fest, I suggest we spit out the electronic pacifier of the masses and begin a program of vaccination for “chronic voter’s syndrome.” We should recognize the corrupt system of electoral madness for the farce that it is and implement a boycott of elections, local as well as national. As long as we agree to participate in an Alice-in-Wonderland system of governance we will continue to be ruled by corporations. We will continue to see unlimited manufacture and exportation of arms around the globe. We will continue to witness the wanton destruction of our planet by sociopaths in Armani suits with sound-bite smiles. (Yes, that was an Armani Nancy Pelosi was wearing at her first press conference following the election. No kidding.)’

    Joe Mowrey – Counterpunch – Published on 8 December 2006 – America’s Progressive Nightmare

  • Resident Dissident

    “Fascism was originally defined by Benito Mussolini as a partnership between government and corporations.”

    I think you will find that he went a little bit further than that.

  • Mark Golding

    He alludes to the beloved Syrian Ba’aath Party when he knows ‘like royal babies’ we are above politics when a conflict which has killed 200,000 people during more than three years of violence and there was little sign of the latest Russian peace move gaining traction.

    There are many obstacles to peace. The most powerful insurgent group, the hardline Islamic State, controls a third of Syria but has not been part of any initiative to end the fighting.

    Syria said on Saturday it was willing to participate in “preliminary consultations” in Moscow aimed at restarting talks next year to end its civil war but the Western-backed opposition dismissed the initiative.

  • Grill

    At the end of the day you’ve found something out about the SNP that was worth finding out about the SNP. Think of it as a bit of research.

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