Friday, May 18, 2018

The case for Chris McEleny

As you probably know, voting is now open in the SNP depute leadership election, and if you're part of the 2%+ of the entire population of Scotland that are members of the SNP, you have until 8th June to cast your vote.  I'm proud to have just cast my own first preference vote for Chris McEleny.  Whatever happens from here, it's reasonable to state that Mr McEleny's presence in the contest has had a positive impact - his forthright statement that an independence referendum should be held within the next eighteen months has prodded the other two candidates to go further on the referendum issue than perhaps they otherwise would have done.  Julie Hepburn has now said absolutely explicitly that the mandate for a pre-2021 referendum should be used, and while Keith Brown is still the most cautious of the three candidates, he has acknowledged at least the possibility of a referendum taking place in as little as twelve months.  So it's no longer the case that a vote for Keith Brown is specifically a vote against an early referendum - but it still troubles me greatly that Mr Brown hasn't (as far as I'm aware) completely excluded the possibility of letting the pre-2021 mandate expire.  I think it's fair to say that a vote for Chris McEleny is still by some distance the most emphatic way to vote in favour of an early referendum.  There are no ifs, buts, maybes or get-out clauses in his pitch, and the message that the membership will be sending if he wins this contest will be absolutely unmistakeable.

Apart from his distinctive stance on referendum timing, Mr McEleny has prioritised the value of local government and community politics.  But one other thing that has appealed to me is the directness of his language about the failure of the mainstream media to cover Scottish politics impartially.  There's a well-meaning but misguided tendency among some senior SNP people to say that we must never blame the media for the 2014 referendum result, because the real failure lay with ourselves for not getting the message across effectively.  In other words, victory in the future will depend only on an improvement within ourselves, not on an improvement in external players such as the media.  That always sounds like a mantra lifted straight from a self-help book, and it has the enormous shortcoming of not actually being true - or at least of not being the whole truth.  Of course the media are horrendously biased against independence, and of course that was one factor in the narrow defeat in 2014, and of course we should be demanding better - especially from the broadcast media, which is theoretically obliged by law to be impartial in its coverage.

I'll make no bones about it - if Chris McEleny doesn't win, I hope Julie Hepburn does, and I've given her my second preference vote without any hesitation.  This has the feel of a contest that could be a lot closer than was initially anticipated.


  1. I still haven't decided. I am leaning to Julie but still listening and reading. Keith has definitely moved to something a little more imperative regarding Indy2.

    The backdrop of the Supreme Court on the continuity bill and Westminster over-riding Holyrood coupled with an increasingly confused May stance over Brexit and quiet exasperation from the EU is beginning once again to hint at a hard Brexit and a very early Indyref2. At this juncture Chris and Julie appear to be the most geared up to tackle the job.

    Interesting times.

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  3. Ive been undecided since James Dornan dropped out.

    Keith Brown is doing a great job and I would'nt want him to be sidetracked
    having the DL job or see him moved from economy secertary.
    But reading this I'm now leaning towards Chris McEleny.
    We have a husting in dundee tomorrow so will make decision after that.
    Thanks for your thoughts James

    1. I went to the hustings and changed my mind in the end and voted for Keith Brown.

  4. Ive just voted for Christ as well and I think hes the right person for the Job.

    1. Amen to that.

    2. Never mind the second coming, I'll settle for a second referendum

  5. 1. McEleny 2. Hepburn 3. Brown

  6. At the moment my first pref is going to Julie and my second to Chris because from what I've seen so far I think Julie is the better candidate for the post.

    Doesn't matter how good Brown is, his prevarication over indyref2 has totally ruled him out for me.

  7. I've voted for the person best suited to do the job, radical I know.

    The SNP urgently needs internal reform if it is to effectively utilize its mass membership. It's got a fifteen year old internal structure that struggled with 20k members.

    Chris is great but he just isn't going to fix that. Electing him depute would be shooting ourselves in the foot because we want to run a marathon asap.

    It's not just about who has or can find a little time to do the job but about how accessable they will be to the members. Keith will have several members of staff paid to make it difficult to bother him, that's just the nature of being a minister.

    Only Julie is ready, willing and able to do the job we are actually interviewing for here.

    Having watched how hard she worked as PEC there's no chance the other two could be half as effective as she will be.

    1. "Shooting ourselves in the foot because we want to run a marathon ASAP."


      Chris McEleny wants a referendum within eighteen months. Julie Hepburn thinks it should take place within the next three years. That's an important difference, but it's scarcely the difference between a 'sprint' and a 'marathon'. If you want the pre-2021 mandate to expire (and it sounds like perhaps you do), I'm not sure Julie Hepburn is your ideal candidate.

    2. A vote by May 2021 sounds the best bet to me -- not that I'll be applying for an SNP membership card.
      Let's see how much uncertainty is still available to the Unionists to drag out by then.
      And, just to bring in another point, what do people think about the "waves of nationalism" idea? 1961/2, 1967/8, 1974/6 etc, each time getting higher up the beach? Is there a longer-term "Kondratieff" argument for thinking that 2021 might catch the momentum better than 2019?

    3. Ye make yer ain momentum.
      Still cannae decide on the SNP depute, but winnae vote for anybody wha wants the current Indyref mandate tae run oot.
      When the writing was on the wall in the fading days of the British empire, they knew when to face reality and retreat with a deal..
      The Scots equivalent is the Yes marches. Be in Dumfries.
      The tide is high up the beach.
      The NO arguments are weakening daily.
      Ye neednae join the SNP, but ye should join a YES group.

    4. Anither point tae be made mind, is that nane o the three depute candidates will hae the actual power tae call the Indyref.
      That'll still be Nicola Sturgeon's.
      This vote houivver will put some leverage intae the hauns o the rank an file maimbership that feels a guid distance frae the decision-making process maist o the time.
      See an yaise yer vote.

  8. I think it is very risky to rely on another Indy majority at next Holyrood election. Labour, Tory and Fibdem have been trialling and optimising their collusion of a stop-SNP arrangement, seen already at General and Council elections. So we should go befire next Holyrood vote. However the individual who has ALL the key infirmation and vote-preference metrics is the top politician in the UK, Nicola Sturgeon. I am prepared to be guided by her pronouncements in this matter. I am therefore leaning towards Keith Brown on the (big) assumption that he has access to the same complex metrics. There has to be more bad economic news due to Brexit to turn enough 'No's' to yes.

  9. Good luck with your voting you SNP folks

    and remember the VAST majority of us SGP folks are with you on the need for self-determination,

    even if we are also very focused on having a living world we can determine our future within.

    But these are not unrelated, and that was the power of the push for Yes before, and will be again: the brining together of all who see the awful destructiveness of the status who, and recognise devolution has allowed much that is so much better to happen, and independence would allow for so much more.

    1. Basecamp has a feature where you have 14 minutes within which you can edit or delete your post.

      Be great if these blogs had the same so phrases like ‘status who’ could become ‘status quo’ !

  10. Anyone who proposes letting the mandates expire better have a stonking, blazing meteor shower of a good explanation put well in advance.
    And an even better plan in place, otherwise their erse is oot the windae.

  11. Probably a wise choice.

    In other news Mike Small is still a tosser. The Skripals are still invisible. Ruth Davidson is still a fat lying scumbag making sneering twats on tweeter. And David Leask is still David Leask.

    There's no hope for Humanity!

    1. PS. The grainyard has a story confirming the plan to destroy our Whisky industry in return for trade deals with the USA.
      Any other country and that would be front page news. A multi-Billion pound industry to be extinguished out of spite by our colonial overlords. Will our brave new warriors at the herald on Sunday even bother reporting this news?

  12. Voted for Chris, because imo we need an indy ref before 2021. Anytime after that and there is likely a Britnat party in charge at Holyrood if UKgov haven't dismantled it altogether. People need to remember that the SNP are the only party that will even give a thought to having an independence referendum.

    Agree about the media, why the heck are the SNP not shouting louder about the disgraceful bias that's been going for years, demonising the SNP, a democratically elected party, and their ministers. The attack on democracy and therefore the people with all of the media using pychological warfare, is totally unacceptable.

    There's a mandate for an indy ref, let's not allow that to be kicked into the long grass it's what the Britnats are hoping for. They will ruin Scotland, totally, once Brexit is done and dusted. Scotland needs to make a choice, isolated, silenced, used and abused, or, a thriving 21st century, equal partner on the world stage economy, socially responsible, with actual rights and opportunties open on a global level. Who the heck wants a backward country, with a narrow minded, destructive, greedy and cruel few, reigning over a depressed, and incredibly oppressed population?!

    Scotland should and must be independent and forward looking, life affirming and fair, where people are allowed to have aspirations, and supported by a government creating opportunties for all, in all kinds of ways. Anything else is backward and destructive, a depressing future, or a life affirming one, we have a choice, and a narrow window of opportuntity, because the Britnats are scheming, plotting and planning as we speak, be in no doubt whatsoever on that score.

    Come on Scotland, SNP, don't even think about delaying until after 2021, and absolutely play the Britnats at the own game, stay one stop ahead, or ten, don't answer the Britnats' questions, question them, their motives and their dodgy agenda, especially on Brexit and how it will impact on Scotland! Next referendum it will be very different, giving people stark choices to make, the negative and the positive, it's got to be hard hitting stuff. Last time was too tame and nice. No mr and mrs niceguys next time, imo!

  13. One step ahead, not stop! :-)

  14. James, a question.

    There seems to be a dearth of recent polls about the Independence question. Or am I just missing something?

  15. I sm an SNP member and have not been given any information on any of this including the ability to vote on it! Whats going on ?

  16. Voted, thanks for you recommendations and advice