POLL: Would you still want independence if you knew for certain that an indy Scotland would not implement your preferred outcome on the trans / self-ID issue? (My answer, incidentally, is a wholehearted 'yes'.)— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 9, 2021
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
This morning I cast my votes for the ranking of SNP list candidates in the Central Scotland region. A chorus of voices on Twitter said "why bother, James, the whole thing is a farce, the results are being rigged", and of course the word "rigged" is not meant figuratively in this case - the NEC is literally planning to change the winner if members vote the 'wrong' way. However, I believe in voting as a matter of principle, and even if I lived in an authoritarian country I'd still want to at least attempt to make my voice heard.
Interestingly, one of the huge flaws that I identified the other day in the NEC's plan does actually apply - there are several candidates from ethnic minorities (from memory I think there are three) in Central Scotland, a region that has been arbitrarily set aside for positive discrimination in favour of disabled candidates only. That means the BAME candidates will be actively discriminated against, and it will be harder, not easier, for them to become MSPs. It literally makes no sense.
I'm happy with my vote for Michelle Thomson as Number 1 candidate, although even that is a largely symbolic choice, because unless something goes horribly wrong she should be comfortably elected on the constituency ballot. Some of the lower rankings were a lot trickier because I'd never heard of some of the candidates. There are candidate statements provided when you vote, but a lot of them are of the motherhood and apple pie variety. I ended up looking at the candidates' presence on social media for little clues as to their real views and priorities. Denise Findlay recommended Anum Qaisar-Javed to me, although mixed views were expressed about her. So I had a closer look, and from the limited information available I decided to take a leap of faith and give her a high ranking. I know this will sound ridiculous to some people, but one small thing that reassured me about her was that she retweeted Alex Salmond a couple of weeks ago - that gives me hope that she won't be overly-factional.
Perhaps, though, I should have waited to see who signs Kirsty Blackman's trans rights pledge. She has indicated that she will only give her preferences to those who sign the pledge - which suggests that people who do sign will be tacitly giving their approval to a McCarthyite purity test that has nothing to do with independence. Let's be clear: that's not where the membership is. I recently ran a Twitter poll to ask whether people would still support independence even if they knew for certain that an independent Scotland would not deliver their preferred outcome on self-ID. In spite of the fact that my followers probably contain a disproportionate number of people who feel strongly about the trans issue, well over 90% said they would still support indy. If a pro-indy party is going to have a McCarthyite purity test at all, that's probably the only one worth having: will people prioritise indy even if it means not getting their way on other things?
Posted by James Kelly at 11:35 AM