Thoughts on the SNP Conference 117


I am campaigning for the SNP in this general election. As I am still locked away finishing my book for 95% of my waking moments, that campaigning has been desultory so far, but will shortly be more lively. I am vain enough to think that my talents stretch beyond canvassing and delivering leaflets, but as the SNP show no desire to ask me to do anything else, that is what I shall be doing.

I did however emerge from my cocoon at the weekend to attend the SNP conference. Here are some very brief thoughts.

Firstly, it was great to be at the conference speech of the leader of a mainstream party, in which she pledged to no replacement for Trident, no more benefit cuts and the abolition of the House of Lords. The last got the biggest cheer of the whole Conference. I was wondering just how many people in England would like the chance to vote for the SNP.

I had a counterbalancing doubt at the back of my mind about this enthusiasm for – as Nicola Sturgeon put it – “Improving” the UK. I don’t want to improve the Union, I want to end it. Power has a fatal attraction to politicians, and I think I detected that exercising power in the United Kingdom is today gleaming brighter in the dreams of some professional SNP politicians than is independence for Scotland.

The other thing I did not like was the machine politics and management of it all. The entire first day there was not a motion that was passed other than by acclaim, and there was not a single speech against anything, though there were a couple of attempts at referral back. The only item permitted on to the conference agenda, in closed session on day 2, that was in the least likely to cause controversy was the adoption of all women shortlists – and the only reason that was on the agenda was that the leader made it abundantly plain she wanted it. I incline to the view that as a short term measure it is justified, but I abstained because I did not like what I saw of the way it was managed.

It was the only debate the leader sat through, and it was very plain she was watching carefully how people were voting. There was a definite claque of paid party apparatchiks and organised feminists occupying front centre of the hall. There was a strong suspicion, voiced by Christine Graham, that deliberately weak and left field speakers had been chosen against women shortlists. And for the vote, party functionaries including Angus Robertson and Ian McCann stood at the side of the hall very ostensibly noting who voted which way and making sure that the payroll vote performed. I was right next to where Angus Robertson stood as he did this. He moved into position just before the vote, made it very obvious indeed what he was doing, and left immediately after. I found myself regarding the prospect of a whole raft of new MPs, their research assistants and secretaries providing 200 more payroll votes, as depressing.

Coming back to the plus side, I was delighted by the content of many of the resolutions passed, including on the right to return of the Chagos islanders and the inequity of financial tests used by the Home Office to keep immigrant families apart. I left pretty convinced that if we can get the abolition of the monarchy, leaving NATO, and an independent Scotland abandoning the pound sterling onto the agenda, we will pass them. But how to get past the agenda gatekeepers? The party is completely sewn up.

I had intended to speak against the new standing orders for Westminster MPs, which contain eleven draconian clauses on whipping and discipline, as against three more liberal ones in the old standing orders. I confess I did not get to speak because the item was called at 9.05 on Sunday morning, on the morning the clocks went forward, and I was commuting from Edinburgh. The spirit was willing but the flesh is pretty knackered.


117 thoughts on “Thoughts on the SNP Conference

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  • Jeremy Poynton

    “I was wondering just how many people in England would like the chance to vote for the SNP.”

    None, Craig, none. The SNP’s intentions towards England are entirely antagonistic. Clearly they have no regard for the result of the democratic referendum last year, now will they towards the clear democratic deficit English voters suffer from. The thought of a Labour / SNP coalition (and who in their right mind believes a word that pod Miliband says) is truly appalling.

    Craig, I thought you were smarter than that. Clearly I was wrong. Enjoy your stay with Scotland’s National Socialist Party.

  • bjsalba

    My, my, my, Fred,

    You’ve been reading too much MSM garbage and believing every last lying word.

    All the things you said (at 5.14pm) that SNP advocates, are what the MSM press claims they advocate. Try reading from the original output.

    By the way if you think the UK doesn’t already have a full and complete national ID registry up and running at GCHQ, I have a bridge I can sell you – going really, really cheap.

  • Republicofscotland

    None, Craig, none. The SNP’s intentions towards England are entirely antagonistic. Clearly they have no regard for the result of the democratic referendum last year, now will they towards the clear democratic deficit English voters suffer from. The thought of a Labour / SNP coalition (and who in their right mind believes a word that pod Miliband says) is truly appalling.

    ×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××

    Hang on a minute Jeremy the rest of the UK,wanted Scotland to stay in the union,we did,now that we’re exercising our democratic right,to put as many MP’s as possible in Westminster,it suddenly becomes appalling.

    What’s really appalling,is,that Scotland,has only one Tory MP, yet,we are goverened,to an extent by a Tory government at Westminster.

    As for antagonistic,Scotland was the UK guinea pig,for the poll tax,it suffered it a year earlier than anywhere else,on these island.

    Add to this, as you like call it appalling act,like burying the McCrone report for over 30 years,and it becomes abundantly clear why people are voting SNP.

  • Republicofscotland

    Off Topic,but rather interesting.

    The upcoming Jade Helm exercise, conducted by the US military across seven states has been attacked as a preparation for martial law, but could in fact be part of a much more sinister project.

    The US military is preparing to launch a massive military drill in towns scattered across the American Southwest.

    In the past several days, leaked plans for seven-state a US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) exercise in which states role-play as countries have made rounds across both news sites and conspiracy theorist circuits, with the latter ringing alarm, calling the drills a preparation for martial law.

    However, considering layout of the states used in the exercise, as well as their climate and terrain, the intent could be a preparation for an invasion of Iran and a Middle East-wide war.

  • fred

    “My, my, my, Fred,

    You’ve been reading too much MSM garbage and believing every last lying word. ”

    Actually I’ve been reading the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, it’s a very long act and I didn’t see the word “family” in there once. I find that disturbing.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    ” This is the very thing …that has brought down the United States.”

    ———————–

    Has the US been “brought down”, Mr Goss?

    I must confess I hadn’t noticed; when did this momentous event happen?

  • Republicofscotland

    Binyamin Netanyau has been very vocal in urging Jews around the world to go to Israel, which he claimed is the best place, the safest place, the only place for Jewish people to live.

    Hana Gan, a pregnant Canadian woman, believed it and became trapped. More stories like hers are coming in, and we now learn that another Jewish family – this time from Germany – wants to give a stark warning: Do not move to Israel.

    Below is a verbatim translation of the Knyazhinsky family’s testimony, as the family prepares to take legal action against police and social workers in Israel.

    http://www.redressonline.com/2015/03/german-jewish-family-recount-ordeal-of-living-in-israel/

    Oh Dear,it would appear,the land of milk and honey,has turned sour for some.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    “And it worked.”
    _____________________

    And, my transatlantic friend, I am sure it would again work a couple of millennia later in states infinitely more populous.

    Dear oh dear, I had my doubts about Modern Greats at Oxford but now I’m rapidly developing them about Greats as well.

    PS – thanks for the info about Enoch Powell on the last thread; do you know, I never knew all that!

  • Republicofscotland

    Members of the special monitoring mission (SMM) of the organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have found artillery of the Ukrainian armed forces in the area of Volnovakha in the country’s east, the SMM said in a report on Monday.

    According to the report posted on the OSCE website, 5 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers were even not declared by the Ukrainian side, in violation of the Minsk agreements.

  • Republicofscotland

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/anonymous-vows-to-wreak-electronic-holocaust-on-israel-for-crimes-in-the-palestinian-territories-10145175.html

    ‘Anonymous has vowed to wreak an “electronic holocaust” on Israel next week to “erase” the country from cyberspace.

    A video by the hacking group entitled “Anonymous Message To Israel” threatens to take down servers and websites belonging to the government, military and banks in #Op_israel on 7 April.

    It shows a suited man wearing a V for Vendetta style Guy Fawkes mask as an electronic voiceover delivers a speech to “foolish Zionist entities”.

    “We are coming back to punish you again, for your crimes in the Palestinian territories,” it says, in English with Arabic subtitles.

    I wonder how mmuch damage they’ll do….hmmm

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    “Rule by representatives chosen by lot (a la ancient Athens) would, by the laws of statistics, automatically represent every segment of the population, however classified, in proportion to its share of the population.”
    _____________________

    Which laws of statistics are being referred to? A little detail would be helpful.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Nevermind

    “I’m looking forward to the mayhem on May 7th”
    ____________________

    That’s an interesting situation to look forward to, Nevermind.

    Do you feel that mayhem would be beneficial to the country and its citizens and if so, in which way?

  • lysias

    Speaking of that Jade Helm exercise, I wonder if this news, only reported (as far as I can see) by RT, is related: ‘Emergency alert’ sparks panic among TV viewers across US:

    The residents of about a dozen US states received a scare when an ominous message rolled across their TV screens announcing an ‘emergency alert’ with the names of their states – without any explanation or further information.

    A test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) began shortly before noon on Monday and was seen by millions of television viewers in Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC, Infowars reported.

    EAS is a special department run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS).

    The alert interrupted regularly scheduled television programs for 10 minutes with a listing of affected states and an announcement that the alert would remain in effect until midnight.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Thanks also, O transatlantic one, for the information on various UK general elections.

    There must be very few people on here who could display similar breadth and depth of knowledge on US Presidential elections since 1952.

  • jake

    Lysias @4.30 said:
    “After the 1951 election, it was the Tories that had the most seats in Parliament (321 versus 295 Labour). What Labour had won was the popular vote (48.8% versus 48.0% for the Tories).”

    Well, OK, but only if you are claiming that Liberals, National Liberals, Liberal Nationals, Conservative & Liberal Nationals, Conservative & National Liberals, National Liberals & Conservatives, Liberal National & Conservatives were all actually the Conservative Party. Truth is there was an anti-Labour coalition, which meant that some seats simply weren’t contested, while in others either the liberals( and variants thereof) or conservatives didn’t stand, to allow a single joint-ticket coalition candidate ( under one or other of the various names above) to contest the seat against Labour. An alternative way of looking at ’51 is to say Labour were the biggest single party but were denied office by a coalition or electoral pact, albeit one formed before the general election.
    Here are the full, rather than summary results:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MPs_elected_in_the_United_Kingdom_general_election,_1951

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Node

    You promised to keep us up to date on supermarket chains’ reactions to your emails on boycotting Israeli products?

    Will you be doing so on the previous thread or on this one?

  • fred

    In 1979 21, 3.4% of the MPs elected were professional politicians, i.e. went there from a previous job in politics. By 2010 it was 90, 15%.

    The party with the highest proportion of political insiders standing in 2015 is the SNP, 47%. Second is Labour and Plaid Cymru each with 33%.

  • lysias

    Gerry Adams launches Sinn Fein’s ‘A People’s Pact’: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams says talk of a hung parliament and whether his party would eventually take seats at Westminster is “a distraction”:

    The election advertisement which states that the party wants “equality not austerity” was unveiled at Belfast Castle.

    Senior party figures and election candidates were present.

    “Any parties which contemplate endorsing or supporting a cabinet of millionaires who are behind budget cuts, cuts to public services and cuts to social protections are ignoring the needs of the people in favour of narrow self interest,” Mr Adams said.

    The Louth TD said if local parties did a post-election deal to support larger parties at Westminster, they were effectively “signing up to austerity”.

    Even in the event of a hung parliament, he said that his party would not reverse its long-held policy of abstentionism.

  • Mary

    Well done John. Where can we sponsor you?

    I note that 42 MPs support Red Spokes. Only two are Con – Alan Duncan and Crispin Blunt. The others are mainly Labour.

  • craig Post author

    Realising how much I have missed all of you, without exception, while the blog has been largely dark. Or maybe its just the merlot.

  • doug scorgie

    Fred
    31 Mar, 2015 – 7:30 pm

    Says:

    “Actually I’ve been reading the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, it’s a very long act and I didn’t see the word “family” in there once. I find that disturbing.”
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    I’ve also been reading it Fred and I can quote from it:

    Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
    • 2014
    • PART 11
    • Section 68
    Subsection (4)

    A “qualifying person” in relation to an eligible child is a person—

    (a) who is RELATED to the child,
    (b) who has any parental rights or responsibilities in relation to the child, or
    (c) with whom the child is, or has been, living.

    And there’s more Fred:

    Part 12—Services in relation to children at risk of becoming looked after.

    (13) In this section—

    “carer”, in relation to a care placement, means the FAMILY or persons with whom the placement is made…”

    I’m not being pedantic Fred I only feel that I must pull you up when you talk poo.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    There is a website for sponsoring worthy activities called “Justgiving”.

  • Winkletoe

    Robins and blackbirds often seem to tap, raindrop-like, and listen, tap and listen, tap and listen, for the “footfalls” (slithery noises) of approaching dinner.

    I’ve observed people drumming on the greensward on a drizzly day: biologists, as it happened, encouraging earthworms to the surface. This is a lesson they’ve perhaps learnt from the tap-tap-tap of raindrops or from observing the birds.

    Likewise, sometimes mudprawn gatherers (or hunters?) can be seen slapping the mud. This, I’m told, entices the little things to the surface.

  • doug scorgie

    Fred
    31 Mar, 2015 – 8:38 pm

    Says:

    “In 1979 21, 3.4% of the MPs elected were professional politicians, i.e. went there from a previous job in politics. By 2010 it was 90, 15%.”
    “The party with the highest proportion of political insiders standing in 2015 is the SNP, 47%. Second is Labour and Plaid Cymru each with 33%.”
    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    Is it too much to expect a source for your figures Fred?

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