The Art of Party Management 51

Am now blogging direct from the Conference Hall. We just had a fascinating insight into party management. The proposer of the motion on fracking, on behalf of Leith constituency, stated in her speech that their motion as submitted called for a complete ban on fracking, but that the text had been amended by the Standing Orders Committee to delete a ban and insert support for the Scottish Government’s temporary moratorium. She added that many constituencies then submitted amendments for a complete ban, but they were all rejected by the committee. Nonetheless, she stated we should support the bowdlerised motion to “show trust for the Scottish Government”.

A remit back was proposed on the grounds that the resolution was insufficiently radical. This was defeated 550 to 420. There could be no clearer illustration of the grip of the party leadership over the conference and the unswerving loyalty, even in plainly indefensible circumstances, of the bulk of the delegates.

I see that we are not to have a referendum in the next five years, but we are likely to have unconventional coal gas extraction or some other variant on fracking.

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51 thoughts on “The Art of Party Management

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  • Mary

    I loved your typo Robert. Anglican water. The mind boggles. Blessed by His Reverence, the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose son Peter Welby works for BLiar’s Faith Foundation. YCNMIU.

    Ministers criticised over £360m Anglian Water Business contract
    6 October 2015

    ‘Tis true. I find it incredible and appalling.

    The only name I knew was Christopher Garnett. One of the 1%. He is Virginia Bottomley’s brother.

    The pair of them have so many fingers in so many pies. They are the Establishment.

    PS She and Jeremy Hunt, Health Minister, now i/c of dismantling OUR NHS, are cousins.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    How about the price of pristine water?, 1 million gallons of clean drinking water that is mixed with a secret cocktail of chemicals companies do not have to divulge to us, and then injected into a rock strata with total loss of control over where it flows, once pumped down there these chemicals will accumulate without control.

    Extraction, according to the paper no-one’s yet read, linked above, will be taking place well below the depth of old coal mine workings in the area. Where drilling to that level intercepts old mine workings, the need to isolate the hole from the mine void is recognised.

    Leaching from old coal mines already makes quite a lot of the Midland Valley’s potential water sources less than pristine. The majority of the chemicals will return immediately to the surface, with the released oil. There is some uncertainty about the permeability of the numerous faults likely to be be present, but between these, the nature of the formations indicates that multiple (impermeable) shale beds between the level of extraction and the surface will greatly hinder or prevent flow through intact rock.

  • Ken2

    For most of the last 100 years, Scotland did not have a government it voted for, and only since 2000 with limited powers. By 2028 Scotland will be Independent.

  • Ken2

    There is Oil on the West coast of Scotland that has never been developed because of Faslane. The Oil sector is still taxed at 55%. That is why thousands of jobs are being lost. The tax should be lower when prices are lower and raised when prices are high.

  • Robert Crawford

    Ken2, you are talking sense, but those in Power don’t like that! I would like my Independence earlier than your forecast, 2O2O would be okay.

  • Kempe

    ” Where is all the borrowed money going? It is not coming to Scotland!! ”

    Well there was £65 billion to bail out your useless banks for starters.

  • Rob

    Promoting fracking is a bit like climate change denial, or trying to reduce the legal age of consent for sex to 12 years old.
    Anyone who promotes, or apologises for, fracking, needs a full frontal lobotomy.

  • Ken2

    The borrowing wasn’t in Scotland it was in housing fraud/bubble in London and the Midlands regulated by Westminster. Thatcher deregulated the Banks (leverage from 25% to 13%) and demutualised the Building Societies owned by their members. BrownBlair illegal wars, banking fraud and tax evasion.

    Thatcher secretly and illegally took the equivalent of £220Billion Oil revenues from Scotland, used it to build Canary Wharf and Tilbury Docks etc. Thatcher cancelled a pipeline wasting the equivalent of £Billions of Gas. The Gas was burnt off. Thatcher destroyed manufacturing in Britain. Thatcher left over 3Million unemployed and interest rates at 15%.

    The tax credit cuts are the Tories poll tax. Thry will not get these policies through the Commons. Renewing Trident and tax credit cuts. Labour are incompetent and the Tories are cruel.

  • fred

    “Thatcher destroyed manufacturing in Britain.”

    I see Tata Steel, Scotland’s last steel works, is closing.

    Where is the steel for that new bridge across the Forth coming from then?

  • Paris Rose

    I think we need to get this into perspective, we all know that we need SNP to win independence, we all know that fracking is an unnecessary evil that feeds the source of man’s greed. We all know that the greedy man has the power of money behind them to bring down anyone who opposes them. It is imperative that we continue to support the SNP at this time no matter how their temporary position may seem to be allowing for fracking to continue. It is imperative that the evidence is gathered through the correct parliamentary process to allow impact when defending in courts.This process takes time and effort and it is up to all of us to help bring forward the evidence that is required to support them.

  • Mary

    @ Fred And the rail for Network Rail and for HS2 (if it ever happens).

    One of the workers at Scunthorpe said that they make the best rail in the world. Should that be ‘made’?

    TATA STEEL: Steelworkers say knock-on effects of job losses will be ‘massive’ at petition launch
    October 17, 2015

    ‘Corus was formed from the merger of Koninklijke Hoogovens N.V. with British Steel Plc on 6 October 1999. It has major integrated steel plants at Port Talbot, South Wales; Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire; Teesside, Cleveland (all in the United Kingdom) and IJmuiden in the Netherlands. It also has rolling mills situated at Shotton, North Wales (which manufactures Colorcoat products), Trostre in Llanelli, Llanwern in Newport, South Wales, Rotherham and Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire, England, Motherwell, Scotland, Hayange, France, and Bergen, Norway. In addition it has tube mills located at Corby, Stockton and Hartlepool in England and Oosterhout, Arnhem, Zwijndrecht and Maastricht in the Netherlands. Group turnover for the year to 31 December 2005 was £10.142 billion. Profits were £580 million before tax and £451 million after tax.’

    ‘On 5th October 2006 the board of directors of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus accepted a $7.6 billion takeover bid from Tata Steel, the Indian steel company, at 455 pence per share of Corus. The following months saw a lot of negotiations from both sides of the deal. Tata Steel’s bid to acquire Corus Group was challenged by CSN, the Brazilian steel maker. Finally, on 30 January 2007, Tata Steel purchased a 100% stake in the Corus Group at 608 pence per share in an all cash deal, cumulatively valued at USD 12.04 Billion. The deal is the largest Indian takeover of a foreign company and made Tata Steel the world’s fifth-largest steel group.’

    ‘In 2007 Tata Steel acquired the UK-based steel maker Corus which was the largest international acquisition by an Indian company till that date.’ Wikipedia

    The workers have been bought and sold like commodities.

  • Kempe

    RBS indulged in the same sub-prime dealings as every other bank, routed profits though tax havens to avoid paying tax and eventually over reached itself.

  • Peter A Bell

    Is Craig Murray really as pathetically naive as he appears? Does he seriously imagine that a party conference could possibly be the chaotic free-for-all he wants? Has he the slightest clue how readily the media would eviscerate the SNP if the conference was allowed to descend into the ramshackle disorder that he favours?

    Some may be content to sit in the dingy back rooms of seedy pubs toasting honourable failure with half pints of the cheapest beer on the tariff. They may prefer this to the burden of responsibility that comes with realisation of ambitious aims. I am not one of those. I recognise the truths that Craig is stubbornly blind to. I recognise that the SNP is the de fact political arm of the independence movement. It is not merely a vehicle for every single-issue clique in Scotland.

    I recognise that, in order to fulfil its role as political arm of the independence movement, the SNP has to win, hold and exercise effective political power – and do this within a political system that is aggressively antipathetic to the party’s very existence.

    I recognise that this will require that the SNP leadership behaves a lot more intelligently than Craig Murray would like.

    I recognise that “boxing clever” may involve doing things which are incomprehensible to those who think with their hormones rather than their neurones.

    I recognise that it is the job of the Standing Orders and Agenda Committee to ensure a debate that balances the views of all sections of the party, including those who bear the main responsibility for formulating and implementing policy.

    I recognise that there is currently no fracking of underground coal gasification (UCG) in Scotland BECAUSE of the actions of the SNP administration.

    I recognise that there the likelihood of fracking or UCG EVER being allowed in Scotland is completely unchanged by anything that happened at the conference. Hence, I am not wetting my pants about it in the way that all too many are.

    I recognise that what has won such overwhelming electoral support for the SNP from an understandably cynical electorate is the party’s adherence to an approach best characterised as principled pragmatism. I also recognise that Craig Murray and those of like mind will find that concept alien and incomprehensible.

    I recognise that the Scottish Government’s stance on fracking and UCG – a blend of understated scepticism and openness to objective evidence – exemplifies this principled pragmatism.

    I recognise that condemnation of the SNP for doing no more than maintain a consistent reasonable position is a narrative driven mainly by the British establishment’s propaganda machine.

    I recognise that Craig Murray’s comment about there being no second referendum in the next five years is further evidence of his susceptibility to such propaganda.

    I recognise that the SNP dodged a bullet when Craig Murray was rejected as a Westminster candidate. Because I recognise what he clearly does not. I recognise that we have political parties for the same reason that we have trade unions. Because we can only hope to confront established power by acting collectively. And that DOES NOT imply mindless obedience to the party leadership, however much the less intellectually acute among us will surely want to pretend that it does.

    What it may mean is making an effort to understand why the party leadership acts as it does instead of immediately leaping to simplistic assumptions of catastrophic error or malicious intent. What it certainly means is accepting the democratic decisions of conference. Preferably without pointless carping. Certainly without totally unwarranted attacks on the party managers for simply doing their job.

  • Ken2

    The steel for the Forth Road Bridge had to come from China because that type is no longer produced in Scotland because Thatcher destroyed manufacturing. Ravenscraig, Linwood, Fort William smelter, shipbuilding. Shipbuilding is actually increasing under SNP Gov. A Ferry contract was concluded last week. Scotland could build,ferries, liners and oil supply vessels like Norway. New Forth Bridge is on time and under budget. The Borders railway is completed. AWPR is being constructed. The rail link between Glasgow/Edinburgh is being improved with shorter journey times.

  • Ken2

    RBS was regulated by Westminster. The monies were borrowed in London and the Midlands. £2Billion was borrowed in Scotland. The bail-out will be recovered with interest. The Scottish Parliament was re-convened in 2000.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Anyone who promotes, or apologises for, fracking, needs a full frontal lobotomy.

    You’ve obviously been cured…what was yours like?

  • Tony McCandless


    Seriously sir ? As the person that stood on stage and asked for a remit back to amend wording let me be clear what I was asking for : that the party support a change in wording to state that in the event of the scientific evidence being anything less than 100% conclusive around there being no safety or public health impact the party would urge the Scottish Govt to pursue a full ban.

    Am I upset or feeling put upon or controlled by a malevolent party leadership and machine ? Not in the least. Let’s get this in context – as a new member in Sept 2014 I was able to join a branch, volunteer my time, work with the branch members and be trusted to put our point across at conference which the party mechanism allowed me to do. Yes we didn’t get the remit back but by God it was close. The point was made by Iain Black and myself and the party have listened. Likelihood is that we will see the branches present another resolution come spring and the party are hoping we will all, by that point, have more evidence one way or the other. Something else worth noting Craig – nobody asked for or vetted what Iain or myself presented.

    That sir is the clearest example of democracy in action that you will find in UK politics. And just to finish off – I also spoke to our national secretary, various MPs and MSPs and all were very very happy with the vigorous debates we had.

    Time to get off the SNPbad theme.

  • Kempe

    ” RBS was regulated by Westminster. ”

    Regulation that Alex Salmond incredibly described as “gold plated” and promised to roll back even further post independence.

    Heavy industry across the UK went into decline long before Thatcher even entered politics. The reasons were mainly an inability to compete on price and quality and a failure to modernise. Post war there were shipyards opening in the far east that could do in three months what it would take a British yard over a year to accomplish, once the shipyards went the industries that supported them, like steel, were inevitably going to follow.

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