I get tweets and emails with a very common theme these days – SNP members (often post-18thSept2014) saying they are socialists, worried about some SNP policies, and wanting to cast second/third preference votes for other parties in May 2016. Often the tweeters/emailers are about to resign their SNP membership.
I reply when I can, briefly on Twitter, or at length by email, as here, and I offer the following postscript to my replies, e.g.
PS I've written this reply for you, XXX, but I will probably use its core content for other people and maybe for a blog. I will never divulge your name - I always respect private correspondence and identity.
A REPLY TO EMAIL FROM XXX
Getting out is simple, XXX - phone up SNP HQ and tell them you want to cancel. They'll probably ask why - it's then up to you to decide whether you want to give your reasons or not. If you do give reasons, they'll probably offer reasons why you should stay.
I am a nationalist and I'm very definitely well left of centre, but I no longer describe myself as a socialist - as I would have done for a large part of my life - because that term has become discredited and meaningless, largely because of the kind of people who have described themselves as socialists - and still do – e.g. Tony Blair, Jim Murphy, Ed Miliband and most Labour MPS and Scottish Labour ex-MPs - 40 of them.
I don't think SNP has been radical enough on land reform, and I have a number of policy difference with them, not least on #indyref2. But I won't resign, for the following reasons -
1. Socialism last delivered something worthwhile in my long lifetime (born 1935 in to a poor Glasgow tenement-dwelling family) between 1945/51 - the NHS and the Welfare State. It never had the least intention of delivering an independent Scotland, believing instead in a woolly-minded fake internationalism which never had a snowball's chance in hell of realisation. Socialism in UK has spent the last 65 years accommodating itself either
to a cosy life in the Westminster Village, feeding from the UK gravy train and ignoring the people it was supposed to serve
to squabbling in ever-smaller, ever-fragmenting groups that cordially hated each other, e.g. Scottish Socialist parties.
Without the SNP, we would have had no Scottish Parliament, no real devolution, no referendum. Every positive change in Scottish society has been driven by them. Only the SNP can - and will - deliver a second referendum.
My view of voting priorities in 2016 are simple - some might argue simplistic. They are best summarised by this recent tweet of mine, which seemed to find a resonance with a lot of indy supporters -
I want balance in #Holyrood but I want it AFTER independence. Until then vote, #SNP, first second and third - send a clear OUT message to UK
I hope you make the right decision for you, XXX, and one that's true to your beliefs and convictions. The SNP will want to keep you, but they'll respect your choice if you go - and they'll welcome you back if you change your mind. And there will be no bitterness or recrimination - I know, I've done it twice!