There is a malaise setting in to the membership of the SNP and there is only one source of responsibility and that is the top end of the party. There has been branch discontent in various parts of the country which has been dismissed by people like Peter Bell (who I have great respect for) as emanating from disaffected ex members of the labour party who were apparently trouble makers when they were Labour members. Well I feel that this line of defence is wrong and the problem goes much deeper than that.
Some time ago, I believe February of last year I cautioned against the seeming inaction in the SNP with regards to forwarding the cause of independence. I made the point that because of the huge increase in party membership there was a potential problem awaiting, if the inaction continued. I said that the SNP now had a huge army of willing volunteers and the worst thing you could do with an Army was to let it idle because it eventually starts fighting amongst itself and that is exactly what is coming to pass and the responsibility sits squarely at the feet of the SNP hierarchy and their policy of absolute control.
They tried to kid themselves that a good part of the increased membership were people who became members because the Scottish government were doing a good job of governing the country, which they were, but that was not in fact the reason that almost 100,000 additional members joined. No the plain and simple reason was that this was people who had been sorely disappointed at the result of the referendum and were disgusted at the way the Unionist parties had conducted themselves during the campaign and they saw the SNP to be the best conduit towards that goal. Anyone who thinks differently is suffering from self-imposed delusional behaviour.
The SNP have shied away from the independence cause in alarming ways and this manifested itself here in Dundee in several ways. Firstly, any approach I personally made to the SNP to find out what the plan was post referendum and to encourage a continuance of the campaign in a lesser way to ready ourselves for another referendum should the opportunity present itself was met with a blank look and a “what plan “ response.
In the run up to the general Election, Dundee and I suspect every other SNP branches were terrified of the word independence and went to great lengths to subdue any reference to it, to the extent of being instrumental in the moving of an event involving the Yes Bus team which included a rally and parade around Dundee, which was arranged for the week before the GE to the week after the GE. The reason being that, and this is the actual words of an SNP politician “we can’t have yes signs and Saltires in the City Square the week before the General Election”.
Late last year we again had organised a rally in the City Square at which we put out invitations to all of the pro-independence parties. This was to be a “Road Map To Independence” rally, as Nicola Sturgeon was at that time making weak noises about the Scottish people letting her know when they thought another referendum should take place. Now make no mistake, this rally was not about persuading the SNP to set a date for a referendum but to try to persuade them to set out a road map to independence, which seems in my mind to be the very basics to show intent.
Well what followed was distasteful to say the least. We had a concerted effort through the SNP to thwart our efforts in connection with this event. We had a local politician conduct a comical effort through Facebook to ask the people of Dundee whether he should appear at the same event as Tommy Sheridan. Of course as soon as he put up this posting there followed an orchestrated effort mainly by the local SNP office acolytes and employees telling him that he shouldn’t speak at the event. There also followed again an orchestrated campaign to discredit both me and several other people involved in the organisation of the event. We had the chairman of the licensing board ( SNP) refuse a late application , (probably for the first time in history ) to have a parade around our own City. Comically, the excuse he gave was that the last time I organised an event there was a late application, when in fact the event he was siting was the one that the SNP had persuaded the organisers (not me) to put off till after the General Election and it was in fact the SNP themselves who had submitted the late application, honestly you could not make it up , the SNP were at that point in time operating in a manner that would have not been out of place in Faulty Towers. This resulted in a torrent of hate filled postings by the mindless sheep that surround the SNP and which they seem to be comfortable with. What of course they didn’t realise was that every hate filled remark made on Facebook and twitter, received an answer which set the record straight. So at the end of the day I received far more support than I did criticism and the support was from quality thinking people. There is a lot more but I will not bore you at this point in time with the details. However getting back to my point about discontent in the membership. Because of this I resigned my membership of the SNP which I have had for over 30 years. I have heard from a source in the SNP that in Dundee the membership has dropped by around 11% . I could be wrong in this but I do not think so. So it is not just the West of Scotland SNP that are having problems at the moment but I believe, as I say a general malaise prevalent in the ranks of the membership and not just the membership but in potential SNP voters.
The SNP would do well to take note of this dissatisfaction and get back to doing what their membership and a hell, of a lot of the Scottish people want them to do and produce a Road Map to independence. At this point in time they are still probably the best means of heading on that road and I for one at this point intend voting, first vote SNP and second vote for another pro-independence party but I will be looking very carefully at the manifesto they produce and making a final decision on my first vote depending on what is in that manifesto.
The SNP seem to have veered off that road and they had better get back on it pronto.
We need to be back on the streets doing what we did so well during the campaign, we are becoming restless.
We are still on the road to independence