As I write this post my emotions are and it’s fair to say it all over place. Tears have have been trickling down my face and make no mistake they didn’t come from watching a weepy movie or a soap.These tears came from a Facebook post I wish had never had to read, they came from a Facebook post I wish the author never had to write.
This however was not my choice to make as the author is a principled young woman and felt she had no other choice to make but to resign from the Scottish National Party.
I know this was not a decision she has taken lightly and having campaigned with her in the run up to the independence referendum I know how much of an asset she was to the party. Be under no illusion with her resignation from the party the SNP have lost one of our most articulate and compassionate voices. Fortunately for the broader independence movement her commitment to our cause remains as strong as ever.
This is the one crumb of comfort I can take from what was a devastating post to read. This would have been difficult news to read at the best of times but it is particularly hard for me coming as it did the day after my party’s very enjoyable equalities conference. At this conference I met many party members from all over Scotland who shared my determination to make sure equalities remain at the SNP vision for a better , fairer more inclusive society. This is a vision I know my friend shares, but she no longer believes that the party in its current position can truly deliver.
I have to say I share some of her reservations but as yet I haven’t reached that breaking point where I would finally give up my membership card. Yes there are times when its been hard and believe me I’ve suffered my fair share of disappointments both personally and politically. There are however many fantastic activists some of whom have gone on to represent the party as elected members and some of whom who surely will who have sustained me with their friendship and personal loyalty during the dark days. I’m sure it will come as a shock to nobody when I name Chris Stephens MP, Alison Thewliss MP, and Stewart MacDonald MP, amongst those to whom I am most grateful for being there when I needed some advice or just friendship and to know that my work was valued and appreciated.
Within my own branch I feel I have to give special mentions to the brilliant Steven Tierney, our excellent branch secretary Laura Doherty, Linda Pike, Jennifer Fairgrieve ,her mum Maureen Fairgrieve, our convenor Alex Kerr, and the magnificent force of nature who has been office manager for our last two successful election campaigns the one and only Alexis Deans, and I couldn’t leave out our amazing branch organiser the wonderful Jennifer Layden. It is for these people and many more throughout both our party and our country that I keep fighting and though not all of them will share my socialist beliefs we share one common vision that unites us above all others and that is that only with independence can we take the steps we need to build a better Scotland for those who will inherit our country.
To me independence is not and can never be a vanity project with foundations built on sand. It has to be focused on creating a better society or there is no point to it. This is not about flags and banners it is about creating a nation with which we can all identify and the SNP alone cannot achieve that on our own. Yes we have a significant role to play in winning the victory we need, but to do as some have done and claim we are the only way forward is wreckless, irresponsible, and potentially damaging to our cause. As one of my favourite journalists Gerry Hassen said in a recent article the SNP have got us this far but they can’t win independence on their own and even as an SNP member I believe he is right to make this claim.
By stating this Hassen is acknowledging the fact that due to the tribal nature of Scottish politics there are some people who support independence that the SNP even at their best will never be able to reach. Now whilst this may be bad news for the SNP it is in the opinion of this blogger good news for the broader independence movement which needs people outside the SNP and needs members in all parties and none and by all parties I mean those parties who campaigned for better together in 2014.
Tonight I read a facebook post which broke my heart on reading it and make no mistake I cried real tears when I read that one of my party’s most talented young activists has decided she no longer had a place in the SNP family. But then the lightbulb came back on and I thought of those committed yes supporters who whilst not being members of my party and in some cases actually loathing it contributed so much to the yes campaign last time. So heartbroken as I may be on a personal level I realise that this move by a principled intelligent young woman may actually be a good one both for her and the cause she will always hold close to her heart.
Love And Best Wishes