MARTIN Hannan's National Extra article on Thursday was interesting reading for the SNP Common Weal Group (Why I have resigned from the SNP after 20 years of membership, February 11). Indeed one of the reasons the CWG was set up was to try to argue for exactly the kind of open and democratic party Martin describes. It is because many of us felt that far too often the party's policy and strategy was delivered from above as a fait accomplis, and that over time the rights of the membership to generate ideas themselves and then to discuss them openly has been in decline.

That is why we've been campaigning for a "democracy agenda" to change how the party makes its decisions and give a much stronger voice to the grassroots. We also wanted to open up debate about policy ideas which haven't had enough space for discussion in the party like land reform and a proper publicly owned National Care Service.

READ MORE: Why I have resigned from the SNP after 20 years of membership

What we do disagree with is that the CWG are entryists. We are all ordinary party members who simply became frustrated that, individually and alone, we couldn't find any way to promote change or even have a voice in many policy debates.

The CWG is entirely autonomous and independent and the reason we had success in the recent elections to the NEC is precisely because so many grassroots members agreed that it was time they had more of a voice. We try always to be constructive and have at all times avoided negativity, acrimony or personal attacks on anyone else in the party. We don't think that any of the issues that we want to encourage the party to look at are any less valid than some of those he accepts as legitimate.

So much of what he says in his article resonates with us, and we will stay and work as best we can to try and make the SNP the kind of open, democratic party he hopes for and that perhaps soon he would be able to rejoin.

Craig Berry
Convener, SNP Common Weal Group