Saturday, December 2, 2023

Vote James Kelly #1 for the Alba NEC

So I believe today may be the day (or at the latest tomorrow) - if you were registered as a delegate for the Alba conference, you'll have an online vote in the election of ordinary NEC members, and I'll be one of the candidates unless I've been elected as Membership Support Convener.  If you'd like to see the party fully democratised, with the entire NEC elected by the whole membership, and likewise for all the other national committees, and if you've seen my views and my commitment to independence over the last fifteen years, please consider voting for me with your first preference vote.

Friday, December 1, 2023

EXCLUSIVE: Alba NEC hustings - Watch Part 1 Now!

The delayed elections for ordinary members of of the Alba NEC will take place over the weekend, and I believe anyone who registered as a conference delegate will be able to vote.  (One of my reasons for standing as a candidate is that I want to make the case that the system should change - all members should have a vote whether they registered for conference or not.)  There's been a lot of frustration that members haven't been provided with a full list of candidates in advance of the elections, and also that no hustings have taken place.  I decided to try to remedy that by organising some online hustings myself as episodes of the Scot Goes Popcast.  You can watch Part 1 of the hustings below, in which two NEC candidates - myself (James Kelly) and Trish McPherson - answer some excellent and thoughtful questions from Alba members.  Please note that I was using a family member's Zoom account, so it's definitely James Kelly who is standing as a candidate, not Ann Kelly!

All NEC candidates and Alba members are welcome to take part in Part 2 of the hustings, which will be recorded over Zoom at 9pm tonight.  If you don't already have the link, just contact me on Twitter or at:

URGENT: You have just half an hour left to vote James Kelly #1 as Alba Membership Support Convener

There was a small family emergency last night, and as a result I thought I'd forgotten to put out a reminder that today was the last chance to vote for me as Alba's Membership Support Convener.  However, I've just checked and it looks like the vote doesn't close until 3, so you have thirty minutes left!

* The online voting link should have arrived in your inbox on Friday 17th November. The previous running of the election a few weeks ago was voided, so you need to vote again if you want your vote to count.

* I have nothing to do with the factionalism and cliquishness and secret plotting that led to the original election being voided.  I think you all know that if I want to say something, I say it openly and publicly, and I don't skulk around in cowardly fashion plotting on secret Whatsapp groups.  So voting for me is a good way to quickly move away from this nonsense at a moment of maximum opportunity for the Alba Party.

* If I win, I will use my long experience as one of Scotland's leading pro-independence bloggers to engage with members creatively and re-engage with inactive members to make it less likely that they will drift away and leave the party.

* I will also try to help ease some of the communication problems that have bedevilled the party.

* I support the democratic empowerment of *all* Alba members.  Roughly half of the NEC are currently only elected by conference attendees - those voting rights should be extended to all members.  All other national committees should also be elected by the whole membership, which is not the case at present.  And all members should be able to vote on conference resolutions, regardless of whether they are in the hall or not - this is perfectly achievable by online vote.

* A fully democratised party will have a far better chance of attracting new members, who will know that they're not just joining a fan club or a chat show.

* Only full democratic empowerment of Alba members can protect against a "Sturgeon / Starmer scenario" in which a future new leader comes in and bypasses the members to take the party in a new direction, for example by putting independence on the backburner.  Once that happens it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle - the only protection is to get the structures right *before* it happens.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

See the pandas, get a Severin Carrell for free

This is just a public service announcement (although I'm sure you'll have seen this on the news) that if you want to see the giant pandas before they return to China, you literally only have a couple of hours left.  I went along yesterday, because I wrongly got the impression that was the last day.  Weirdly, as I was watching the pandas, it suddenly dawned on me that I was standing right next to Severin Carrell of the Guardian, who was conducting a very earnest ten or fifteen minute interview with a panda enthusiast he had randomly waylaid.  In fact I accidentally recorded about half of it as I was videoing the main attraction.

As a poll had just come out, it reminded me that the angriest I've ever seen Severin on social media was when he was complaining about the truthful reporting of an independence poll, which he regarded as deliberately misleading because it stripped out the Don't Knows.  Of course he wasn't worried about the No vote being inflated, just about the Yes vote, because he wanted to imply that the No vote and the Don't Knows combined amounted to the real opposition to independence - a trick also beloved of Michael White.  We seem to be heading back to those bad old days - it's becoming harder and harder to locate independence polling numbers that exclude Don't Knows, even though that's the only metric by which a direct comparison with the indyref can be made.

Thank you to the Edinburgh Zoo employee who took the first of these pictures, although the reflection on the glass does its best to obscure the panda!  The visibility was far better in reality.

Scot Goes Popcast Episode 19: Calton Jock, blogger and Alba founder member, discusses the Alba internal elections with me

First things first - I have an analysis piece on The National's website about the two new Scottish polls (one from Ipsos and one from Redfield & Wilton) - you can read it HERE.

I've heard quite a bit of frustration about the upcoming Alba NEC elections, in which I will be a candidate (depending on whether or not I'm elected as Membership Support Convener).  In particular, I've heard dismay that there isn't a publicly available and exhaustive list of who is actually standing.  To the best of my knowledge, there has also been precious little engagement between the candidates - the whole thing is a bit atomised.    I've been hoping to make a small contribution to changing that by arranging a small series of podcasts/videocasts in which I informally debate and discuss with other candidates - not necessarily just the ones I'll be standing against, but just anyone standing in any of the internal elections.  Time is now getting very short if that's going to happen, which is my own fault because I was too tentative about reaching out to too many candidates in case too many said "yes" and I became snowed under.  I now realise the danger was firmly in the opposite direction!  So I'll now blitz the candidates that I know of and see if I can get two or three to agree - it would have to be over the next couple of days, but we'll see what pans out.

I did have a guest tentatively arranged for tonight, but through no fault of that person it didn't work out - that's the danger of me trying to sort things out too hurriedly.  So having already set up the Zoom link, I decided to try something a bit different.  I posted the link publicly on Twitter and just invited anyone to join me.  It took quite a bit of persistence, but after a while I'm delighted to say I was joined by the renowned blogger and Alba founder member Calton Jock.  As you'll see, we didn't recognise each other at first but after the introductions it all became clear.  For the first thirty minutes or so, Calton Jock holds forth on a matter he's blogged about extensively and I just allowed him to speak more or less uninterrupted.  From thirty minutes on, we started discussing the Alba internal elections, and so that's the point to scroll to if you want to hear more about my pitch - in particular my proposal for the entire NEC to be directly elected by the whole membership, and what I think Alba's general election strategy should be.

It was a magical mystery tour tonight but it worked!  It probably wouldn't work a second time, though, so I'll see if I can make some firm arrangements with other candidates.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Staggering sensation as UK's "gold standard" polling company shows big majority for independence - and a settled will

Ipsos poll:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 54%
No 46%

Details and analysis to follow...