21 October 2012

Mushroom Cloud Over Perth

Over the years, I've been asked how I can square being a socialist with being a member of the SNP. It's really not difficult, the SNP has always existed as an umbrella group for those of us who, despite certain political differences, believe first and foremost in Scottish Independence - in my case, believing independence to be a necessary prerequisite for achieving socialism in Scotland (a view which to a large degree, has become standard across the wider Scottish left).

I have been active within the SNP all my life, delivering leaflets before I could tie my shoe laces. Like so many other long-time party members & supporters, I've been mocked, ridiculed and even taken abuse for my party allegiance, but have always stuck by it because I knew I was right to believe in independence. Whilst I have not always agreed with every policy the SNP has adopted, I have always been happy to accept that consensus is necessary for such an organisation to function and move forward, particularly considering that there is no greater example of internal democracy in mainstream Scottish politics than that which exists within the SNP. However, sometimes one has to draw a line...

Aside my lifelong commitment to independence, I am also a lifelong believer that the pursuit of power and profit via the means of warfare is wholly immoral. As such, I cannot support any political party which aspires to join an organisation such as NATO.

I have been accused of naivety by some who argue that there are strong pragmatic reasons for the SNP adopting this policy, namely that the policy change will boost the case for independence. Regardless of whether this is actually true (which is debatable), it is not only  unprincipled to allow one's beliefs to be held hostage by pragmatism, but also morally repugnant to seek NATO membership in the hope that it'll be a vote winner. I also agree with Sandra White in that it is highly hypocritical to adopt a policy which argues in favour of joining a pro-WMD organisation, as long as the WMDs are kept in someone else's backyard.

There are of course many within the SNP who have argued and voted against this policy change and it is my sincere hope that in time, they will be able to convince the party to re-adopt its anti-NATO position. However whilst the policy stands, I cannot put myself in a position where I have to advocate something which is fundamentally wrong, regardless of the perceived benefits it may bring about. I will always support independence and oppose the lies and slander perpetrated by unionists who would rather protect their vested interests than fight for equality and social justice in Scotland, but I can no longer do this from within the confines of the SNP.

After all these years, it is no easy thing for me to leave the SNP but in reality, the party has left me.

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