Email from SNP Constituency Association Convenor to SNP councillors

This email has just been sent by Robert Allan, Convenor of the SNP’s Argyll and Bute Constituency Association to all SNP councillors in the current coalition administration at Argyll and Bute Council.

The email urges SNP councillors to a particular action at tomorrow’s council meeting.

The Constituency Association Convenor’s email

I am taking the unusual step of writing to you in my capacity as Convener of the SNP Argyll & Bute Constituency, to urge you to support the motion regarding Struan Lodge in Dunoon. This has been tabled for the Council meeting on Thursday by Michael Breslin and Gordon Blair,. The constituency is offering its full backing to all SNP or Administration councillors who support the motion being taken for debate and who then support the motion itself and we would urge you to do so and not to support any amendment which weakens or contradicts the principles and objectives within the motion.

There appears to have been some misunderstanding in recent days regarding the views of the SNP Constituency Association – that is the local SNP membership – and I would not wish these to be misrepresented in the run up to such a crucial Council meeting. We have backed the general policy that the administration has taken with regard to elderly care and the changes that will need to be made in the coming years. However we remain overwhelmingly opposed to the closure of Struan Lodge and the way the matter has been handled so far.

As you will know, the closure of Struan Lodge is opposed by all parties in Cowal and across the constituency and the campaign to retain it, includes many independent councillors.

The resolution passed by the public meeting in Dunoon on 15th March (which is, substantively, the resolution tabled for the Council meeting) has virtually universal backing in Dunoon and the surrounding area and we believe it would be a major mistake if the Administration was to continue with the closure in the light of such widespread, clear and public rejection of the plan.

There is an alternative way forward for the administration which would keep Struan Lodge open whilst real work was done in the community (supported by the Council) to find a means of retaining it under a different business model.

I do hope you will consider this appeal seriously and as a result vote to keep Struan Lodge open and admitting new residents as required.

I will be at the Council meeting with SNP colleagues as part of the demonstration against the closure of Struan Lodge and I would be happy to explain the SNP position further to you on Thursday should that be helpful.

Yours sincerely
Robert Allan

So who IS the SNP?

The Constituency Association Convenor here speaks of ‘the SNP position’ and offers to explain the SNP to recipients of his email position tomorrow.

He is talking to councillors, who happen to be SNP councillors, elected by the rest of us to govern Argyll in Argyll‘s interests – to SNP councillors leading an SNP coalition administration, to SNP councillors who, we would have assumed, are the ones who create ‘the SNP position’ in the council.

But here we have an elected and largely unknown local SNP party panjandrum calling elected councillors to order, virtually instructing them on their actions tomorrow and offering to explain to them beforehand ‘the SNP position’.

So who did we actually elect?

This mess gets worse by the minute.

Party politics, as well as the SNP, is now dead as far as Argyll and Bute is concerned. Perhaps this is no bad thing. It has certainly been distinguished only by its wholly destructive impact on local government here, throughout the short reign of this virgin SNP administration in Argyll.

And what is ‘the SNP position’ to be explained to ignorant councillors tomorrow?

It hardly needs explanation.

‘The SNP position’ in the run up to 18th September 2013, is to give the loudest shouters whatever they want. So you all know what to do now. And what Dunoon does, Islay can do in spades. Then there’s Oban. And…

This is an SNP constituency association advising SNP councillors, put in position by the general electorate for local government, to vote against an SNP administration decision to which many agreed and for which all were collectively responsible. He is also asking them to vote for a motion proposed by someone who either resigned from or was formally expelled from the party – or both; a motion seeking to overturn a policy decision agreed by a majority of councillors and proposed by an SNP administration, again by majority vote.

Where is there integrity, propriety or probity in any of this?

It is simply insane, an upside-down world, without precedent.

As a former Irish Taoiseach was wont to say – in what Dublin journalists shortened to GUBU – it is ‘grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unacceptable’.

But it IS the SNP.

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39 Responses to Email from SNP Constituency Association Convenor to SNP councillors

      • My Letter was to all Administration Councillors not just SNP members. I have supported the efforts of the people of Cowal to Try and find a solution that has compassion and the best interests of the residents, Staff and the people of Dunoon fully in view of what is finally decided. I have visited Struan Lodge and was at the meeting in the Queens Hall. My support is undiminished and I will be at Kilmory this morning.
        At no place in my letter did I offer “Immunity” only support. I like any other resident of Argyll and Bute have the right to approach an elected representative of any party and ask them to change their stance.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Bob, if as you suggest Newsroom aka Linda is a member of the SNP it is to infiltrate for self gain, no other reason. This said, if my employment was ‘journalism’ I’d think £12 membership a year was money well invested to glean inside info and gain access to ‘like minded’ folks internal correspondence.
      My guess is if at some stage she was a member of the SNP her articles on here clearly show that she is well and truelly in the minority where those who favour an independent Scotland have turned their back on it.

      Of course I’d be very surprised if those on here who throw stones in the SNP or ‘Yes’ independence direction show their political allegiences. It’s far easier being politically anonymous on these forums whilst targeting those in power and those who defend the job they do.

      Btw, any positive influence in the direction of those who will have a say tomorrow is welcome considering the consequences for residents and staff of Struan Lodge closing. The “policy decision agreed by a majority of councillors” was taken whilst presented with inaccurate figures to come to the original decision, therefor quite rightly inviting challenge.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • I make no secret of any of my politics.
        I was a socialist until six months into Tony Blair’s regime. [In Ireland I voted SDLP.] After the truth of Blair became evident, I was politically homeless until Jim Mather appeared on the scene and was clearly an exceptional politician and , like Jamie McGrigor, a refreshingly non-partisan one. I voted for Jim from the start and when he became Argyll’s constituency MSP and the SNP became a minority administration, I supported them – and have made that clear before.
        While I initially also supported the idea of Scottish independence, I came to realise from research and observation, that it was unnecessary and unsound, and certainly so in terms of the way its current prospectus has not been properly though out and is alarmingly opportunist; and in the ways in which it has been deceptively promoted, as with the Alex Salmond’s shocking deceptions on ‘legal advice’ on Scottish membership of the EU; and other distorted ‘facts’, usually fiscal.
        However, my support for the party was not born of any embedded wish for independence but of my personal judgment that the SNP was the party most likely to get a good deal for Scotland – because it was and is the only one that is not a subsidiary of a major party with its HQ and focus elsewhere.
        That judgment was correct. The SNP minority administration of 2007 did a well judged and successful job for Scotland and it was quite exhilarating to watch. Westminster hadn’t a clue how to deal with them – and that was fun.
        Then it started to fall apart.
        2008 was devastating all round but the SNP’s political response to that was slow witted and damaging. They should have taken the high ground and immediately called off the promised independence referendum in the interests of not distracting the nation at a time of extreme financial crisis. That would also have been a tactically astute postponement since it was obvious that, in that depth of economic turmoil, an independence referendum would have no chance of success. But instead of being decisive, they did nothing at all with the promised referendum, but just put it in their 2011 manifesto – and here we are looking at September 2014.
        Then other disturbing things began to become obvious.
        The massive victory in the 2011 election was clearly not for independence but came from many whose perspective was as mine had been – that here was a party that was actually governing Scotland – and Scotland had no real experience of serious government before it.
        But from that point the SNP took their eyes off government and have focused obsessively on the 2014 vote. It has become a highly politicised machine with a single objective. Nothing, not even the need to govern, is allowed to get in the way of that objective and no serious government is going on in case it proves unpopular and alienates some potential YES voters. I cannot respect that – and we are seeing in the shambles in Argyll just where that stance gets you.
        So I began to find the party progressively less convincing and less supportable in government – and have been progressively critical of it – always on the evidence.
        I also became alienated by what I see as a profound bullying in the way the First Minister conducts himself. He shouts people down and laughs jeeringly at them, diminishing their arguments by what I consider unworthy means – that do not involve rational argument but are simply abusive.
        I am very uncomfortable at the regular picture of Salmond, Swinney and now Sturgeon as well, laughing with their jaws ajar like Cadbury’s Smash men of yore and rolling in their seats at First Minister’s questions – to mock Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie. This is not my sort of politics. It’s schoolyard stuff and it stifles the intelligent debate I had hoped for in Scottish politics. It remains the tired old Yah Boo of sub-Westminster genre.
        And, frankly, after the well known series of deceptions, I do not now believe anything Alex Salmond says. I cannot afford to. Leopards. Spots.
        And then there was the SNP performance in leading a new coalition administration in Argyll and Bute, for which so many of us had such high hopes. We all know where that is going now.
        The totality of the betrayal of the electorate in this episode has been the end for me, as I expect it is for many others.
        Since 2007 I have given the SNP £10 a month and I cancelled that direct debit yesterday morning as it became obvious that there was to be no awakening to common sense, responsibility and integrity in Argyll.
        It should be obvious from my sustained criticisms of the party’s performance – on evidence – that I am no political patsy and that I also gave it longer than I should really have done to grow into maturity.
        I have never infiltrated anything in my life and would never consider such action.
        For the record and to underline my essential political independence:
        - I have voted for Labour in Europarl elections and will do so again. Catherine Stihler and David Martin are two first class candidates, way above the rest of the Scottish candidates, with the exception of the Conservative, Struan Stevenson, who is active, independent minded and interesting.
        - I voted for the SNP’s Jim Mather throughout his career at the Scottish Parliament.
        - I voted for the SNP’s Michael Russell in the 2011 Scottish election but will not do so again. Never has a politician proved to be such a hot air balloon.
        - I voted for the Scottish Conservative candidate, Gary Mulvaney, in the last Westminster election, because I felt – and feel – that he was the best candidate by a considerable margin. He makes mistakes – who doesn’t – but he is a genuinely able person, a quick thinker and actually an open person, not a masked one. If he stands again, for Westminster or for Holyrood, I will vote for him again.
        - I had previously voted for Liberal Democrats, Ray Michie and Alan Reid, for the Westminster seat and regard Alan Reid as a good constituency MP and a more astute politician than he is given credit for.
        - If Jamie McGrigor stands again for Argyll and Bute at Holyrood, I will vote for him. He is a surprising politician who pays serious attention to his constituents’ condition and concerns. He knows what he’s talking about. He may look like and sound like a stereotypical conservative but I have found him to be very far from that. He never works to score party political points but sticks to the issues [and if only you knew how wonderfully rare that is]. When Murdo Fraser campaigned for the leadership of the Scottish Tories – on a platform openly dedicated to seeing an end of them – who was right in the front row of his declaration press conference? There was Jamie McGrigor, full of delight at the prospect of change. What’s not to like?
        - in local elections , in Mid Argyll, I have voted consistently for Dougie Philand of Argyll First and for Alison Hay, including last time too, because I felt she had unilaterally paid a very heavy price for her political loyalty to her party in courageously, if wrong-headedly, voting to close the school in her home village of Minard.
        I am not someone interested in hiding anything and, when I look at this voting record, I laugh at my own political catholicism – but I also respect it because I have never voted tribally for any party but for those whom I perceived as the best candidates. I have no plans to change.
        And that’s it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Well said, like I stated in a previous blog AS is nothing but an ignorant person who only has time for himself. The quicker he is gone the better for Scotland. Taking with him his side kick and nodding dog NS.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          • YEP “BLOWING IN THE WIND” calling First Minister Ignorant is normal for you but to say Nicola Sturgeon a dog is even for you totally inappropriate. Are you big enough to withdraw your comment?
            Are FA willing to remove the offending comment?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • H2O – the reference is to a ‘nodding dog’. I don’t have a TV and even I know what is meant by this. A cute dog in an insurance advert that says ‘YES’?

            Come on, lighten up!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Good to get an understanding of where your thinking derives in relation to your political articles.
          Apart from being genuinely surprised to read confirmation of Bob’s question that you were a payed up member of the SNP (as from yesterday) it begs the question given your relentless bombardment of SNP policies, ministers, councillors, their performance in local and national government in general etc. why now to withdraw financial support and surrendering membership if so turned off for so long?

          I believe loyalty in relation to politics and voting has the potential to blind so rarely voted the same candidate nor party regularly instead keeping my options open and judging on what each had to offer at the time.

          It is no secret that an independent Scotland for many reasons is my preferrence so until this is achieved the only party to date offering it will get my vote.
          It just so happens I also believe they are doing a fair job given constraints of governing this country.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  1. So Robert, have I got this correct?

    You are encouraging SNP Cllrs to vote for the motion and against the SNP administration and against a central plank of the SNP budget?

    Is that correct?

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    • The current leaders have divorced themselves from the views of the majority of SNP Branch members. The figures given were bogus and as Jnr Tick states are therefore rightly open to challenge and debate for the benefit of the residents, staff and the wider populace. As stated before the difficulties could have been resolved by discussion beforehand but Robb and McCuish chose not to. Rather they used Semple’s complaint over Cllr Breslin as a divide and rule tactic, offered new promoted positions for Cllr Blair who told them where to go and yet continued to threaten other Cllr’s with expulsion.
      Unfortunately for them they did not persuade their MSP colleagues but gave them the 2 fingers (or was it 1). Not very clever tactics on their part. In place of seeking agreement they used Struan as a weapon against their nemesis Walsh and Breslin.
      They thought they could get away with it.
      Lets hope for the residents sake they do not despite For Argyll’s support for closure. As for G McCormick as local supporter for Robb (which is understandable in the circumstances) how they must wish they had discussed the issues with local SNP Branches rather than dictate. Power to the people

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • There are a few things here that are making me scratch my head:

        1. Weren’t the councillors democratically elected? If so, why should they have to run around making sure that branch members agreed with them?

        2. Didn’t Mike Russell MSP have some involvement with the wording of the budget?

        3. Is this more about votes, or the potential loss of votes, than the saving of Struan Lodge?

        4. Struan Lodge was only one issue of many within the budget. What else are we about to lose?

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  2. What a shambles ,even the most blinkered SNP supporters must see this lot are unfit to run Argyll & Bute.
    The individuals calling themselves ‘Argyll First’ should withdraw their support at once if they genuinely want to serve the best interests of the area .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. So there was no immunity offered according to the person writing the letter, it does not state it in the letter but the original post by For Argyll was that “immunity” was given to SNP councillors.

    As a matter of interest are FA covered by Press Complaints or are you a free agent?

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    • ‘The constituency is offering its full backing to all SNP or Administration councillors who support the motion being taken for debate and who then support the motion itself.’
      So what does full backing constitute? A proffered handkerchief for distress, a pat on the back and a comforting hug?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. With Fred heading off into the sunset on his bike surely Robert Allan will put himself forward as a candidate for the SNP if we get a local bye-election in Oban.
    The local branch would obviously be delighted and if elected would give him the chance like anyone else to show what difference he could make.
    Cheers Neil.
    ps. Dougie when was the meeting?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Was Jim Mather not elected with his promise for a Dunoon to Gourock town centre to town centre vehicle ferry?
    Did he then keep his promise?
    There were other serious issues that he also subsequently gave only lip service to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. The important question for Jim Mather is why he did not stand in Argyll and Bute for the SNP in 2011.
    Was he pushed out by SNP HQ, Alex Salmond and/or Mike Russell…..certainly not the local SNP members.

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  7. Jim retired. He was keen to do some other work that would leave him a bit more time. Being MSP in Argyll & Bute is pretty manic if you actually do get round the region.

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  8. Best laugh of the day Islay:-)

    They were Alex Bell of Labour for Independence, Caroline Leckie of Women for Independence (former SWP MSP) and Nathan Spalding of Disabled for Independence who has no political alliegance. None of them mentioned Stalin.

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    • I think Islay from Campbelltown would think PM Cameron is a closet communist or worst a socialist..

      Islay do you not know the Berlin wall is down –there is no USSR—it’s full of right wing captitalists now. You should be happy –UNLESS OF COURSE you are one of the exploited workers —workers unite —where’s that red flag?

      Based on Cllr Robb and Semple recent behaviours Islay should be supporting their right wing tory policies!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The SNP must think we all have heather between our ears . Slappers for Separation , Incomers for Independence or whatever ridiculous titles these nationalists wear won’t fool the people who know the separatist campaign is an SNP run one supported by a variety of ragbag extreme reds most of whom thought Donald Dewar was a dangerous right winger .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ah your a Blairite or was that a Brownite now a Darlingite the unionistite and a Sempleite ? Too many ” ites” for me

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Islay
        Are people who move into Argyll less than perfect in your eyes ” incomers for independence” makes you sound like a nationalist!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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