Argyll SNP loses another long time keystone member

The extent of the asset loss to the SNP resulting from the mindless external machinations that destroyed the credibililty of the party in local government in  Argyll and Bute continues.

The Oban branch has lost another key long time member.

Billy Wilkie, father of the celebrated young traditional musician Rona Wilkie and her musically gifted sibling, a thirty year member of the party and the branch, a noted loyalist and one of the hard working activists who gets the posters and leaflets out in campaigns – a serious capital asset to every political party – has resigned from the party.

He is said to have told the branch meeting that he was resigning out of disgust that the branch had not given its twice former Council Leader, local councillor Roddy McCuish, the opportunity – which he had asked for – to inform the branch of the circumstances which lad led to the withdrawal of support by half of the SNP group from his SNP-led coalition administration at Kilmory.

Mr Wilkie is said to have told the meeting: ‘You’d let Dick Walsh come and talk to you, if he asked.’

He was referring to Councillor Dick Walsh, the current Council Leader, deposed in the May 2012 election, given the opportunity to return to power following the collapse of the SNP group. Councillor Walsh replaced Councillor McCuish as leader.

There will be wide public understanding of Mr Wilkie’s position.

Councillor McCuish is a deservedly popular hard-working councillor in Oban and across Argyll. There is widespread withdrawal of public trust here from a party which saw its own internal factions eat each other in dispute over the eventually successful external party instructions to get out of power in the interests of protecting the independence vote later this year.

The party hierarchy was afraid of the responsibility of government, which might have seen its local administration attract unpopularity through the possibility of having to take unpopular decisions necessary for the good of Argyll.

A party that campaigned to govern and ran away from the reality when it was given the opportunity, will struggle long to regain credibility in Argyll.

Their narrow concerns were, of course, accelerated under the second of its three administrations within a year of taking power here – that of Councillor James Robb – in the decision taken by the council to close Dunoon’s Struan Lodge care home.

In the way of our political life, Dunoon Councillor Dick Walsh naturally took full political advantage of the crisis within the SNP to lead a keening local campaign to save the care home which had been allowed to become run down under his own former administration.

The decision to close the underused and cost heavy home was correctly taken to protect adult care services across Argyll. Councillor Walsh, in campaign-promise mode, then claimed to be able to save the council-owned home by recruiting private investment.

It should be noted now that Councillor Walsh has had remarkably little to say about Struan Lodge since he took power again in the Autumn of 2013.

Mr Wilkie’s is a principled decision that can only cost him heavily in the short term. He has been a part of a sort of family, all dedicated to the same political mission, Scottish independence. He is right to leave a party that has badly let down voters and members in Argyll and that has abused one of its councillors, Roddy McCuish, who did all he could to try to make his a party face up to the responsibilities of government. But he will be feeling the lostness of the divorced for some time. No one wins in a mess like this.

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17 Responses to Argyll SNP loses another long time keystone member

  1. It’s funny that in the editor’s opinion, everyone who leaves the SNP is a fantastic individual full of ability, yet days previously when they were still members she held the same people in contempt.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 19

  2. Just to be clear. Billy Wilkie has not left the SNP nationally. He has however, left the local branch. He remains a great supporter of independence, and joins the thousands of others who are working for a Yes vote.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 6

    • Thank you – and there are others like Mr Wilkie who have left the party over what has happened in Argyll but who remain committed to supporting independence.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 17

      • But the comment you replied to says he never left the party. So it looks like your article is wrong and your commend misleading.

        Is it totally beyond you to ever retract and apologise for spreading rumour, gossip and misinformation?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 9

      • So he is in the snp. This should help.



        i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

        ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving the Commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.

        iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

        iv) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

    • The SNP as well as those pushing for Scotland’s independence are miles away from being a sinking ship. Sites such as FA imo may well be contributing more harm to their stance than good in this referendum debate as few, other than those with closed minds, wish to read such imbalanced journalism especially from what purports to be from a ‘news’ dedicated site.

      A report from almost exactly this time last year -

      “The SNP’s membership has surged by almost a quarter during 2012. Up-to-date figures published by the party find that – at the end of 2012, there are now 24,732 members. This compares to 20,139 at this point last year – a rise of 22.8%.

      And – according to a study published earlier this month – the SNP’s booming membership is bucking the trend of decline in the UK-wide ranks of Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories.

      The paper by the House of Commons Library shows that, while membership of all three of the biggest Westminster parties declined significantly between 2003 and 2011, SNP membership more than doubled in the same period – and has further increased in 2012 according to today’s figures”

      Might be worth questioning why this is Newsie, inducements as you claim maybe only a small factor, but you must give people credit, the biggest factor being discontentment with the decline under the present system.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

  3. Billy Wilkie. a former convener, will be a great loss to the Oban branch but like Roddy McCuish himself he is still working for a YES vote. Our MSP, Convenor and some other branch convenors are still putting their own egos before Scotland’s Future. The national Party backed the wrong people.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 15

  4. There are many in the SNP who are members of the SNP but are not members of any local branch. Anybody can be a “headquarters member” when they do not wish to be associated with a local branch. They are just as committed to the SNP as any other member. You should perhaps have done some homework before wading in with your usual anti-SNP rant.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

  5. The SNP trolls “those with closed minds” as Jnr Tick describes them just don’t get it with all their pathetic excuses. Ordinary decent people in Argyll don’t trust them anymore.
    Andy it is an Argyll problem brought on by your MSP Mike Russell and your President Bob Allan. As you say “There are many in the SNP who do not wish to be associated with them.”
    The unionist should be setting out their position in an independent Scotland as the SNP will lose the next election. Mike Russell has no chance of being re-elected.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 17

    • If you are going to quote me then at least have the grace to quote me properly. Mike Russell is not MY MSP, nor is Bob Allan MY President as I do not live in Argyll, and I made NO mention of anybody being associated with either of them. I do however feel able to comment on Argyll matters as I lived there for over 60 years, which is probably more than most contributors, and was very much involved in politics during my years there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

    • Sorry NoCheeseHere, I’m lost with your comment.
      Post independence “the unionist” in Scotland will cease to exist as the union Scotland was once a part of would be no more. Correct?
      Who would be a unionist and if they existed, why would they be a unionist?

      Btw, the sharper commenters on this forum will see through your false claim regarding my comment about “those with closed minds”, is this the best you’ve got?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  6. No cheese at the inn
    No change in your attitude this year
    Came across this. Not one of your finest days. Defamatory comments withdrawal of posts! Is it a record?
    I think the word troll in your case is apt
    Why your concerns over the snp considering you obviously hate Mike Russell and others.
    I could almost believe you were a councillor or ex !

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

  7. I have met councillors who are very bright, articulate and behave with honesty and integrity.
    You do not fall under that category as far as I can see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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