We Need to Talk about Indyref2 279

A senior SNP elected representative told me a couple of weeks ago that the party hierarchy were intent on making sure there would be strict control over debate at the upcoming conference. The leadership fear pressure from the membership on holding another Independence referendum, using the mandate won at the last Holyrood elections. You will recall that the SNP was elected on a promise of a new referendum in the event of a significant change in the status quo, specifically including Brexit.

Being well aware from the AUOB marches and other events that the grassroots are ready for another campaign, and with the opinion polls very encouraging, it seemed to me that the foot soldiers deserved at least to be able to voice an opinion on when and how they went into battle. So I suggested back to my friend that, as I am attending as a delegate, I would hold a fringe meeting within the Conference venue on the routes to Independence. This might include how we get a new Indyref in the face of Westminster opposition, its timing, and lessons learned for the Yes movement from 2014 on how to win it. The idea was also to explore other potential routes to Independence including a National Assembly.

They replied that I would not be allowed to hold a fringe meeting on Indyref2. I thought they were being over-dramatic. So I asked my friend the doughty Peter A Bell to join me as a speaker (he agreed in principle), and I was planning to ask James Kelly and Stuart Campbell as well, but first applied for a room in the Conference Centre so I could give them a date.

It didn’t go well.

So I can hire a room on the SNP fringe for the purposes of commercial promotion, but not to promote Scottish Independence.

The Scotsman or the rest of the Unionist media can hire a room for a meeting, but the pro-Independence new media is not allowed to hire a room – even though its readership is bigger than the Scotsman’s.

I am not asking to speak in the Conference, but just to hold a Fringe meeting. The Conference Fringe is where members can discuss things that are of political interest without claiming to be dictating, or in line with, party policy. I am a delegate offering to pay the going rate for the room, and rooms are available. As it happens, the policy we wish to discuss, Independence and how to use the mandate from the last Holyrood election, is bang in line with official party policy anyway.

I went into this with genuine innocence, not believing my friends’ prediction that a fringe event on Indyref2 would not be allowed. I do not imagine for a moment Ms Slider was giving her answers without consultation with Chief Executive Peter Murrell, who is also Nicola Sturgeon’s partner. When a party becomes so Stalinist in its organisation it will not even permit mildly dissenting voices – or just not totally subservient voices – even to express themselves on its fringe, it is not really democratic.

If anybody has managed to book a fringe meeting, and is looking for a speaker?

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279 thoughts on “We Need to Talk about Indyref2

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  • Vronsky

    It’s important to recognise that Nicola Sturgeon, like every other political leader, is a non-entity. All strategy is collegiate and the ‘leader’ is merely a messenger. The policy of the SNP on a second independence referendum is clearly deeply cautious. Nicola Sturgeon’s personal opinion is unknown, unknowable and irrelevant.

  • Ewen Morrison

    Dear Craig, I’m a frequent visitor to your website and I’ve just read ‘We Need to Talk about Indyref2’, and I’m astounded by the reaction you received from the Scottish National Party HQ’s Relationship Manager, Gillian Slider. (?) Presently, words fail me… even although I was born in a bilingual family! However, I’d find it difficult to improve on your statement: “Frankly, you are not making sense”… whatever the language, a simple sharp phrase is very powerful!

    I’ve been a member of the SNP, since my younger years and only once thought of cancelling, but I didn’t… yet, what’s the alternative? Unfortunately, this: ‘only show in town’ situation is far from ideal; not ideal for people who are politically minded and suitably placed to contribute influentially! We know that it’s almost impossible to appeal to everyone all of the time – however, to find a ‘Relationship Manager’ at the SNP HQ, who seems to be difficult to contact, makes me question her Managerial qualifications and standards? After I’d read your Indyref2 piece, my knee-jerk reaction made me think about my first cancellation notion, but: ‘what is the alternative?’ Anyway, I’ll now send a letter to Gillian Slider. She may demonstrate what a Relationship Manager can do for one of their unhappy members: if she’s able to manage my unsettled support, fine. If she cannot, the SNP will lose me as a member! – and who’d know how many more they may lose?

    Furthermore, I also follow Mr Paul Kavanaugh – aka ‘The Wee Ginger Dug’ – his blog is very worthwhile and interesting. To quote him: “I am not a member of the SNP or any other political party and am not associated with any official campaigns or organisations. The contents of this blog are my opinions and mine alone. I speak for no one but myself. If Alicsammin is sending secret mind control messages, my fillings aren’t picking them up.”
    So, while I hope that Paul doesn’t mind me borrowing his comments, I would certainly like him as a future First Minister, him if that was even possible?!

    With thanks,

    Ewen A. Morrison

    • Dennis Revell


      A guess!:-

      Near-cancellation incentive:

      Apart from the sheer political incompetence but also the rank immorality of Nicola Sturgeon endorsing the ALREADY Mass-Murdering serial War Criminal Gorgon Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US presidential election, and here’s the incompetence bit: just ONE day before that election???


  • Sharp Ears

    Also O/T whilst the world turns and burns, this tripe is ongoing in the US.
    Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces a crucial vote as a Senate panel decides whether to move forward his nomination
    It comes a day after dramatic testimony by Judge Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault
    If Kavanaugh clears the judiciary committee today, a vote by the full chamber could be held early next week
    Republicans have a majority of 51-49, but the outcome is uncertain as a number of key senators have not declared how they’ll vote

    George W Bush whipping votes for Kavanaugh
    Former President George W Bush has been whipping votes for Kavanaugh among wavering Republican senators.
    Kavanaugh was a top aide to Bush. During his testimony on Thursday, Kavanaugh referred to travelling the world with Bush during his presidency.
    Bush has reportedly spoken to Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine as well as Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia.’

    He is somewhat damned there by a long standing association with BLiar’s fellow warmonger.


  • Richard Gadsden

    Have you thought about contacting a hotel directly and just booking a room?

    You’d have to pick one outside the security perimeter, and you wouldn’t get into the official fringe list, but they can’t stop you just having a meeting that happens to be in Glasgow at the same time.

    And you have plenty of ability to generate publicity.

  • Alyson

    Reposting here: Starmer has been negotiating respectfully with Barnier, however when he gave a live interview to Sky about Labour’s intentions, regarding Brexit, Boris was present. He stuck his face in Starmer’s face, and, muttering under his breath, invited Starmer to ‘shag his arse’. Starmer went white around the gills and finished his sentence. Boris adopted a ‘Minotaur’ pose, glaring up at Starmer, and the interview was then politely terminated by Starmer, who had realised it would be unlikely to air on the 6 o’clock news. The interviewer had not heard Boris’s comment as she was finding Starmer’s detailed response interesting. Corbyn will no doubt be able to yay or nay these negotiations. It is very lovely that Brussels has named a Square in memory of Jo Cox, the murdered Labour MP.

    Labour has more policies in common with the SNP and is less inclined to sell off national assets. The Murdoch press unfortunately undermines Labour’s efforts to get their policies recognised. And the other offshore media owners also fear being required to pay tax, if a Labour government is elected. It would be good if SNP and Labour could identify common interests and convey these more widely.

  • Sharp Ears

    So very sad. Them and us. The rich and the poor. The Haves and the Have Nots.

    I have just seen (again) the documentary about the past and present history of Notting Hill and the Lancaster Estate.

    Before Grenfell:The Hidden History

    ‘When Grenfell Tower caught fire in June 2017, the disaster revealed a deep division between rich and poor in this part of west London. Now, residents of the community around the tower tell the extraordinary story, 150 years in the making, of how their borough became the most unequal place in Britain.

    This film reveals little-known stories of how the divisions began, such as the building in the nineteenth century of a huge wall that still stands today. The wall was intended to separate the homes of the Victorian middle class from what was then the worst slum in London. Residents share their memories of the dramatic events that shaped their community – from exploitation by notorious landlord Peter Rachman in the 1950s to the first Notting Hill race riots and the construction of Grenfell Tower in the 1970s
    When Grenfell Tower opened in 1974, Britain was more equal than it has ever been, before or since. For the residents who moved in then, the tower was a symbol of hope for the future. But since Grenfell opened, we have become steadily more unequal, until today levels of income inequality are the same as they were in 1850. This is the untold story of a unique part of west London, revealing how its past has shaped its present.’

  • Iain Stewart

    Latest results: Scottish referendum 4, Russian snapshots 9.
    Stalinist political parties please note.

  • Ann

    They are obviously touchy about your idea. Maybe best to book a venue outwith Conference on a different date. Would be good to hear your ideas and discuss.

  • David Kendrick

    All Political parties are companies.
    Looking at companies house all political parties have been de listed from the public side of the database(names of directors etc protected), but 3 years ago they were on there and you could find i.e. Labour’s annual returns because as organisation they had to list their names as companies, report their earnings etc for the basis of corporation tax. For instance Barnadoes is listed as quote a Private company(since 1899) limited by guarantee without share capital as company 00061625 so a charity must be a company and all other orgs must also register to benefit from a trademarked name. From the look of it SNP members should book venues through the main party office since they are a registered company and the SNP in government be prepared to sue or publicly blacklist venues for partisanship since they have a majority in Holyrood.
    If venues are going to discriminate they must publicly advertise the fact and be prepared for the consiquences.

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