THE SNP has always thrived on a tradition of mature policy debate. The SNP Common Weal Group (CWG) is upholding this tradition by giving the grassroots an effective avenue to put forward progressive policies for an independent Scotland.

Political and administrative power in the party holds unprecedented privilege and influence. Internal structure and decision-making is becoming increasingly centralised. The CWG is committed to democratic, transparent, accountable governance. So we are resetting this balance by giving grassroots members a voice.

To do this, the CWG had been building support amongst grassroots members for the positive case for an independent, resilient Scotland. This means going to local branches and talking about radical land reform, a Green New Deal, a National Care Service, local wealth building and democratic decision making – all ideas which ordinary members believe in.

Politics for many people primarily exists in their local community. It isn’t enough to just talk about a Green New Deal. You need to be able to discuss what this actually means for people and their communities. When the CWG is talking to local branches about these ideas, it is a two-way conversation. Radical ideas require authentic, credible solutions which come from local people.

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The primary goal in speaking to branches isn’t just to get them behind radical ideas but to rehabilitate grassroots members back into political action within the party. With many members feeling that little debate is allowed on strategies to deliver independence, the CWG is taking this opportunity to engage with grassroots members. However, it isn’t enough to just build support in the grassroots. We need people who are willing and able to make change happen.

If we want to revive internal party democracy and policy debate, we need to democratise the internal party structures to play a positive and enlightening role. If we want grassroots members to know which candidates running for selection are supportive of radical policies, we need to offer them a way to find out.

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The CWG pledge for a resilient independent Scotland set out six key commitments: a Green New Deal, a National Care Service, land reform, tenants’ rights, public ownership and local wealth building. It was open for all prospective SNP candidates to sign and was an opportunity for candidates to say to their local party members that they will fight to deliver these radical ideas.

One-third of the candidates selected so far are signatories of the CWG pledge. This is a clear sign that party members are ready for positive change.

We are making that change happen. By working with SNP members across the country to democratise our party and advance popular progressive ideas for an independent Scotland, we are putting the people back at the heart of our movement. And ultimately that is how we will deliver independence.
Craig Berry
Convenor of the SNP Common Weal Group

IN its party launch a few weeks ago, Scotia Future maintained that the Westminster and Holyrood systems are broken.

In stating that we did not anticipate that there would be early indications of that, in Holyrood at least.

Any political system works when the legislature, the parliament, representing all the people, carries the day on decisions.

Two events in the last two weeks in Holyrood confound that.

Firstly, the majority decision of the Parliament to request that the Government release “secret” material (by Friday 13!!) in the former First Minister’s enquiry case has apparently run into a brick wall built by the Government around legal consent in least for a part of it.

Secondly the decision again by the majority of the Parliament regarding its desire to have a full enquiry into the handling of the Covid crisis re care homes in Scotland. That was met by the Government, an independence-seeking government suggesting that such an inquiry should be across the UK? Obfuscation or what?

Hopefully a propos that enquiry will seek to determine why just before the pandemic happened the Care Inspectorate report for November 2019 for the care home that was at the forefront of alleged “problems” for patients in care showed that out of the five conditions reported, four were not assessed with the fifth saying the staff team were “weak.”

Who in Government was checking these Care Inspectorate reports?

The fundamental issue is that whatever changes that will need to be made to Scotland’s national governance, the legislature, ie the people’s voice is accepted as supreme.

It is there that the substance rather then the style of government will be found.
Chic Brodie
Leader, Scotia Future

WELL said Lesley Riddoch, as always. It was music to my ears to hear your call to ignore the Tories (Forget the Tories’ generation game ... it’s what Scots want that counts, November 12). The current tedious pronouncements are undoubtedly designed to use up Yes energy and divert attention from the UK Government as it makes such a positive case for Scottish independence. The Tories know fine that the generation game is a myth. It is always played with a smug smile showing the pleasure and the feeling of superiority people often get from a wind-up. They will continue to repeat the lie so it becomes true for Unionists and undecideds and frustrating for independence supporters.

It’s just pathetic. Fitting for the times, the word trumpery is defined as “articles of little value or use” and “showy but worthless”. That’s a fair description of the Tories in Scotland so let’s reinforce it by ignoring them. Perhaps now is the time for The National to give less publicity to trumpery and more to the benefits of an independent Scotland in full control of our own resources?
Noirin Blackie