Why I have joined the SNP

I joined the SNP on 1st February 2017, just after the vote in the Commons on invoking Article 50.  I’ve no doubt this will irritate some of my friends (who are members of other parties) and baffle others (I’m English and live in Belgium).  Here’s why I have done it.

Firstly, I love Scotland. I studied at Stirling University and lived there for 8 years. I have close family and some of my closest friends in Scotland.  Two of my teenage nephews are Scottish. Their future is my concern.  Contrary to the expectations of some, Scotland welcomed this Englishman wholeheartedly, and I would now like to help it.

I’ve never been member of a national political party before.  I’ve never wanted to, even though, or perhaps because, I studied Politics, and then worked in government, for a combined 20 years.  To be honest, I’ve never understood how someone can have loyalty to a voluntary organisation to the point that they can defend it even when they know it is wrong.  I’ve also always considered the blind adherence of Members of Parliament to a party line to be something that fundamentally cheapens representative democracy and undermines the quality of public discourse.

Although I now believe very strongly in the need for an Independent Scotland in the EU now, I haven’t always.  I lived and studied in Scotland from 1995 until 2003, and voted in the Devolution referendum in 1997.  I thought devolution worked pretty well in its early years. Not being born and raised in Scotland, I had no emotional attachment to the idea of Independence.  The same could be said of the Union mind. I didn’t have strong feelings either way.

The early years of the (reconvened) Scottish Parliament were a great success, with Sheridan’s Private Members’ bill to ban warrant sales, and the devolved tail wagging the central dog by ending Clause 28 (Clause 2b) before it had even crossed the Westminster government’s mind to do so.  My friends Peter Lynch and Steven Birrell have written about how the then new Scottish Parliament’s petitions system revolutionised public participation in the political process in Scotland. (https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2001/may/07/guardiananalysispage )

So why the SNP, and why now? Because the Westminster government and Parliament dragging Scotland out of the EU against its will is a travesty.  Not only that, but the refusal of both to support, or even seriously examine the Scottish Government’s very reasonable compromise proposals on remaining in the Single Market was nothing less than a clear “Fuck Off” to everyone in Scotland, and to the UK’s constitutional settlement as a whole.  And this was on a compromise which the Scottish Government itself said was nowhere near their preferred option.

Anyone who has not read the Scottish Government’s White paper “Scotland’s Place in Europe” should do so, even if they are not in Scotland.  It sets out clearly that this horrible car-crash Brexit that the government is planning, and the opposition are supporting, does not have to happen.  It sets out that even if Brexit did have to happen, its effects could be mitigated for Scotland.  In fact, it could be mitigated for the whole of the UK.  All opposition parties should have got behind this. http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/12/9234/downloads

Last night’s vote in the Commons on Article 50, was a pathetic abrogation of duty by all but a hundred or so MPs.  There is nothing democratic about MPs voting for something they know will damage their country and its people.

Nicola Sturgeon, Angus Robertson and SNP MPs have shown fortitude, rationality and leadership while the official UK opposition party have floundered, and ignored their principles to court potential UKIP voters in an ill conceived attempt to shore up support for a party that almost everyone now sees is failing.  While Labour was trying to work out how not to alienate ignorant xenophobes, Nicola Surgeon was reassuring EU citizens and refugees alike that they were welcome in Scotland.

I have considered myself to have been a natural LibDem voter my whole life, and I think they are certainly a force for good in England and Wales.  In my ideal world, The SNP and the LibDems would be in alliance in Westminster elections. I have even hovered over the ‘join now’ button on their website many times since the referendum. The lack of support for the Scottish Government’s Brexit response however has shown that the Scottish LibDems clearly put petty party politics and blind Unionism above both the will and the interests of Scotland.  This is a betrayal of the LibDems fundamental pro-EU and democratic principles.  Also, Norman Lamb.

It is therefore clear now that, not only is the UK ruled by a government that at best ignores and at worst hates Scotland, but that the official Opposition has much the same view.  It is equally clear that an independent Scotland in the EU is the only option for Scotland.  It may be too late for England and rUK, but I believe it is not for Scotland.

It can be done. Sentiment among the EU27 and the European Parliament is pro-Scotland, and there is wide recognition that the situation is substantially different to 2014.  Spain’s attitude has softened considerably as it recognises that Scotland is now in the same boat as the Remain-voting Gibraltans. There are several options, some of which may avoid Scotland ever having to leave the EU, but a pre-accession transition arrangement while the final touches are put to an independent Scotland’s accession process would be standard accession methodology, particularly as Scotland already implements vast swathes of EU law in full.

So I have joined the SNP to show support and offer my assistance to the Scottish Government’s attempts to avoid being ripped out of the EU against its will, and to avoid its citizens being stripped of their EU citizenship against their will.

Scotland must get itself away from those in Westminster who ignore, belittle and abuse it, and find a future in a friendly, pro-Scotland EU.  I will do anything I can to help it do so.


28 thoughts on “Why I have joined the SNP

  1. Wonderful. Like you I had never joined a political party. I joined just after September 2014 to show solidarity with the SNP having watched the manipulation of the political establishment and MSM- including the BBC. I felt it was the least I could do.
    Welcome to the party.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Steve
    Just came across your blog. A thoughtful well constructed post – more of the same please.
    I can now add you to the Wee Ginger Dug and Derek Bateman for my go to sources of rational discourse on the way forward for Scotland.
    BTW, I’m also a graduate of Stirling University (just a tad older…).

    John B

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not a joiner of parties either for much the same reasons as you. Why join something you know you are going to have to leave in rancour or sadness or compromise your principles?

    If I did join a party though it would not be the SNP, they are too controlling, too politically cautious and after the last indyref a bit feart. They had to be pushed by Conference to put even a conditional referendum in case of Brexit in their manifesto.

    Fortunately we have a diverse polity here on the Yes side and I managed to vote Yes to the left of the SNP with both my votes in May. Certainly better than having to spoil my ballot rather than vote vote Unionist.

    I will do my campaigning in IndyRef2 with RIC again.

    I’m not against the SNP, nor do I wish them ill. I wish we had more Greens and some RISE people in the parliament to keep the SNP honest about being a Social Democrat party.

    But well done for taking an interest and your reasoning is sound. If you are a Eurocrat in Brussels will you be switching your allegiances to Scotland?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. An excellent summation and thanks for your support for Scotland and Independence. For those who are not for the SNP, just remember that after Independence there will be a Scottish General Election. One can then vote for whichever Party comes up with the best Manifesto. It could be Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservative, Scottish Lib Dem, SNP or Greens etc. This would mean that for the first time in over 300 years your Vote would actually count, and we would end up with a Party that the majority of Scottish people voted for. So please, don’t let a dislike of the SNP cost us Independence.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you You echoed my sentiments with this article. I too am English and an SNP member however I’ve went a step further by moving to Scotland last year.

    No regrets-absolutely loving it & people are so lovely & welcoming.

    Keep writing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading this has raised my spirits after reading unionist claims that there is no demand for another indyref and that the SNP has peaked. I can’t understand the Brexiters wanting to isolate themselves instead of working with others to bring about a better world. Very little we achieve nowadays is done on our own, most is brought about by co-operation. So thank you for taking this step. We welcome all the help you can give, even if that is only reminding people of Scotland’s wish to remain in the EU.


    • Glad to have helped cheer, and thanks for your kind words. I’m ex-EU Commission and ex-UKREP, so very happy to answer, or try to answer at least, any questions about the geeky technicalities of the EU and how it works.


  7. Oh dearie me, back in 1975 the SNP were protesting about being ‘Dragged into the EC (European Community) by the English’!

    Fast forward 42 years and now they are whining about being ‘Dragged out of the European Union by Westminster’!

    Plus la change?

    Or is it because a Europhile ‘Ex-negotiator’ for the UK in the EU’, is upset about a democratic decision taken to leave the EU.


    Never mind, you’ll get over it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, where to start? So many poorly thought out arguments in so few words.

      1. I have no real interest in what the SNP believed 2 years before I was born. People change, and views change in light of changing situations and available evidence. Mine certainly have. To be unwilling to change your mind no matter what happens is to show weakness, not strength, of intellect.

      2. To show the vapidity of this point, it is worth noting that the Conservatives campaigned to join the EEC and then stay in it and Labour was anti EEC for a large part of the UK’s early membership.

      3. Evénements cher garçons, événements.

      4. I am indeed a Europhile, and an ex-negotiator for the UK in the EU. I was the main UKREP desk negotiating the EUR80bn package of External Financing Instruments for 2014-2020 through Council. The main objective of the UK government was to re-focus development funding to the very poorest so as to have the greatest impact. We did that against several Member States who opposed. More details of them here: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/about-funding-and-procedures/where-does-money-come/external-action-financing-instruments_en

      5. This referendum was far from democratic. See why here: https://thegreatbritishmoronathon.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/ten-reasons-why-it-is-not-undemocratic-for-mps-to-vote-against-invoking-article-50/)

      6. The referendum result was exactly as you describe – “to leave the EU”. It was not to leave the single market, the customs union, Euratom, and a bundle of other stuff that will be utterly destructive to the prosperity and welfare of the UK and its population. It was also not a decision to throw the UK’s lot in with Trump, but that is an inevitable consequences of the government’s absolutist approach.

      7. People tend not to get over having their rights removed from them against their will and their country taken over by morons. By the same token, you don’t seem to be getting over the fact that a vast number of people have not given up and acquiesced to those in wafer-thin majority on a single day. I would be getting on with celebrating and being happy that you are heading inevitably to the sunlit uplands of the New UK rather pissing about commenting on unknown musicians’ blogs if I were you. Is it perhaps because you know you’ve been had?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: For the Love of Scotland | funkypish

  9. Pingback: Many parties but only 2 sides: Remain and Leave | The Great British Moronathon

  10. I could of joined S.N.P. when I was 30 up in Kinlochewe but was living in Canada at the time,Independence is the only way,and the S,N.P., most likely to deliver, Trident a wasteful,rented vanity project, should if they really want this target S,E,England is where it should be! why are we paying for massive London debts £2,trillion or more,why have we been in all but 3 conflicts in over 300 years,Norway oil fund £700,000, Scotland,s oil fund NIL,this says it all,where did £400,billion go? Why are we being lead by a dictator with a party that is being checked for wrong doing,why will she not debate and answer questions?? I am now 73!


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