SNP Annual Conference

SNP Annual Conference

By general agreement, the 2013 SNP Annual Conference, the last before the Referendum was a great success! Held in the most difficult of circumstances, in the shadow of the dire threat to the Grangemouth workforce and possible blow to the Scottish Economy that the closure of Grangemouth would deliver and the Dunfermline by election, the Conference displayed a confident, positive party enthused by the up and coming European and Referendum campaigns.  As someone who lived through the closure of Ravenscraig in my own home community and the mass unemployment caused by the deindustrialisation of Motherwell, I was deeply concerned for the people of Grangemouth and their future.  Our First Minister and Finance Minister have shown themselves to be exemplary statesmen in steering our country through the difficulty.  And for once the press acknowledge their leadership and commitment; Derek Batemen blogged

 

The Herald created an impression, backed up with detail, of Scottish politicians pulling every string they had including putting in place contingencies – all in the face of a party conference and a tricky by-election – meanwhile leaving Labour’s winning candidate sounding off- message and off-colour with her silly and long-prepared trope about Salmond’s obsession with the constitution. Cara Hilton’s “Use the powers you have now to make a difference, not just argue for more in the future,” would have had Malcolm Tucker eating his mobile phone. Using his powers was exactly what he was doing to save 800 jobs at the very moment she was speaking.”

 

The Scotsman’s Peter Jones in his article “Hard hats off to sensible Salmond” said

 

What the SNP Government did do was to demonstrate an ability to zero in very quickly on the real modern world problems based on the globalised economy that caused the crisis and to work on those issues rather than to some antique and irrelevant class- and identity-based theory.”.

 

So it is somewhat poignant that the SNP Conference was focused on the possibilities that Independence would bring and a vision of a new Scotland based on the principles of Reid Foundation’s “The Common Weal”. Resolution 18 and its amendment on the conference agenda shown below alluded to the past industrial conflicts surrounding our heavy industries and Jimmy Reid’s seminal rectoral address at Glasgow University where he said:

 

“Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies. “

 

Jimmy Reid could have been talking about the Grangemouth Conflict in 2013 !

 

I was one of those unlucky in not getting in to the hugely oversubscribed SNP Trade Union Group Fringe Meeting “The Common Weal” with Robin McAlpine, (Reid Foundation), Christina McKelvie MSP, Jim Mather and Chaired by

Cllr Malcolm Balfour.  But all the buzz in the conference “tea” room was about this event which highlighted the ideals of society based upon socialist values of a fair, equal and prosperous country without poverty, with good public services and where communities are strong.
If you haven’t already done so, please read;

http://reidfoundation.org/common-weal/

Clare Adamson MSP

 

Jimmy Halliday’s contributions to the Cause

To put matters into context, in 1955 the SNP contested only two Parliamentary seats in Scotland;  Dr Robert McIntyre fought Perth and East Perthshire, and Jimmy Halliday fought Stirling and Falkirk Burghs.   Jimmy then became the youngest ever SNP Chairman and served 1956 – 60;  in 1956 the entire SNP Conference delegates were photographed on the steps of the Allan Water Hotel, Bridge of Allan.
We are 12 months from a Referendum on Scottish Independence, which was unthinkable in 1955;  Jimmy died on 3rd January 2013 at the age of 85.  We intend to publish all Jimmy’s articles in the Scots Independent from August 2004 up to 2011, all the ones we have electronic input for.  It is anticipated we will publish a book on Jimmy’s contributions over many years, but this will have to wait until after the Referendum.

 

Editorial Scots Independent November 2006

November 1926 to November 2006

When you look at any movement which challenges established power and authority you can expect to find that its promoters have, at an early stage, produced a journal to advance its views and invite support for its purposes. Two revolutions in Russia were incited by “Iskra”—“The Spark”–and “Kolokol”—“The Bell”. In many countries Social Democrats published journals given the same title in their various languages–”Forward” here, “Vorwaerts” in Germany, “Avanti” in Italy, and their titles testified to their aims.

 

Our pioneers too chose as title a word which should hold no mystery. Yet today’s “Independent” implies mere freedom from Party ties. “Independents” in elections preen themselves expecting to be congratulated as free spirits rather than individuals who rate their own abilities and ideas above those of an organised body whose members test out both the ideas and those who put them forward.

 

Our “Independent” title testifies to commitment and to an objective which should be the highest aspiration of any nation. We in our time are its directors. We are not owners, we are custodians–trustees–preserving in our turn the instrument which the Scots National League founded 80 years ago this month, and which has worked ever since to serve the purposes which they laid down.

 

In every decade the S.I. has faced difficulties, but one has been constant. Scots have never sought independence with the desperation and fury which oppression will create. We have never been wholly enraged by our country’s plight. We tend to seek “better” rather than “best”, change seen as comparative rather than fully positive. So our demand has never been felt as ungovernable.

 

It has fallen to all of us to do all we can to make our demand irresistible, building such a tide of public opinion as no ruler can withstand. So we don’t just report–we agitate. Neither we nor the S.N.P. are marching to bugles. We do not lead or usurp leadership. We guide with opinions and suggestions, filling out where we can and always making public the Party’s message. We conform to the Party’s chosen posture and serve its agreed purposes.

 

But the higher cause remains. Our commitment to independence is as strong today as it was in 1926. Sometimes over the years our goal has been obscured by altered or compromised priorities, and dilution sometimes hankered after for some illusory tactical advantage. Nothing of that sort will happen here.

James Halliday, Chairman Scots Independent.