by Rab Bruce’s Spider

It’s at times like these that I am glad I am not a member of a political Party. The civil war within the SNP seems to have broken out into downright hostility, with some rather over-the-top claims being made by people on both sides of this polarised debate. Actually, debate is the wrong word, since there doesn’t seem to be much debate, with critics of the SNP leadership making some very strong accusations, and supporters claiming that anyone who agrees with those claims, or even reads them, should not be a Party member. Sadly, that latter viewpoint is too akin to book-burning for my liking. I read Wings Over Scotland, just as I read other blogs, some of which disagree with Wings. I read mainstream media articles online, and I’ve even been known to read an article by a Covid-denier just to see what sort of arguments they were putting forward. Just because I read things doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with them.

I can understand the fundamental point that people within any organisation need to behave in accordance with the ethics and culture of that organisation, but a political Party, unlike a commercial organisation, really ought to be a place where things are debated and policies decided upon after informed debate.

Things have become so toxic online that I’ve seen some people claim they cannot bring themselves to vote for the SNP in the upcoming Holyrood elections. While I can understand how angry some may be, I cannot subscribe to this view. Whether you like it or not, the SNP is the only possible political vehicle we have if we wish Scotland to become a normal, Self-governing country. If they do not attract enough votes in the Constituency seats, then the UK media will have a field day as they crow about a lack of support for independence. Like it or not, the SNP are the political face of the Yes movement, even though the current leadership seem keen to seize upon any opportunity to delay IndyRef2. This year’s elections must surely be their last chance, but voters really have no option if they genuinely support the cause of independence.

Where to place your List vote is another question. I must admit I am still undecided. In many regions, a List vote is likely to be wasted if the SNP pick up all the Constituency seats. Of course, that premise may not be a given despite what the Polls say. And then, when you look at the comments being made online by some SNP List candidates, I must admit it is difficult to justify voting for them even without the problem of how many constituency seats they will win. Should I hold my nose and vote for people who hold views which are very different to my own in the hope of gaining enough of a majority in Holyrood to ensure IndyRef2?

What about the other Parties? AFI and ISP are the obvious choices since the greens themselves have alienated a lot of Yes supporters in the past few years. But are these new Parties big enough to attract sufficient vote numbers? Without some really big names fronting them, I fear not. And, oddly, the UK media in Scotland does not seem keen to promote these Parties to any great extent even though, on the face of it, they could split the Yes vote. Perhaps the media fear that making people more aware might just result in the massive pro-Indy majority in Parliament that these Parties are aiming for.

So I’m still undecided on where I should vote, but I have decided that I will never join any political Party. It really would be too much of a strain on my loyalties.