In one blow, the SNP have skilfully smashed the SSP intervention – while remaining the party of unity. This is very, very clever stuff.
Strictly speaking, I’d be in favour of such an intervention, for certain reasons.
- It presents a pro-independence cabal of outstanding candidates – many of whom did extraordinary work in Yes Scotland? I would very much like to see Jean Freeman, Colin Fox and Carolyn Leckie and their ilk in Westminster, sorting out the dusty fuckers with spunk, vim and socialist cleansing fire.
- It gets a socialist agenda on the table in Westminster and the muscle to get it through to the people the SSP will need in 2016.
Anyway, it’s moot. Beyond standing for a pro-capitalist party, there are completely understandable reasons why the SSP wouldn’t be able to engage in such an effort.
The party constitution, our binding set of rules and agreed means of participation and organisation, forbids members from standing for another party. The constitution can certainly be changed, but amendments to the party constitution can only be put in place and agreed at the national conference by a majority of members.
We’ve just had a conference – when you’re a small party, it’s a fair job to get people together to properly grapple with policy, let alone the constitution. Secondly, while we are proud to stand for Scottish independence, leading the way for an independent socialist Scotland, it’s inordinately difficult to seek agreement of a majority of members of an anti-capitalist party by standing as an electoral wing of an eminently pro-capitalist party.
If we reject it for constitutional and principled reasons, we’re going to to take a hit as the party who broke pro-independence unity. Really, hats off for this stroke of tactical skill from the nationalists. Remarkably well outmanoeuvred.