I was referred to as a ‘whack job’ by an Aberdonian Labourite, some years ago, for stating economic facts in the course of a discussion on facebook. There were some suggestions that people like me should be killed, since I had some criticisms of policy at that time. My friend, who was ill, was told that people like him should not recover, not because of anything he said, but because I had stated my opinion.
These supporters were not particularly rich, nor particularly poor. Allegedly they had some education, and some income. They just objected to a relatively polite, relatively eloquent and pretty forthright person telling them that they had an alternative view.
I see the same tendencies with some SNP supporters. Consumed by hatred of the Conservatives and their anti-Scottish policies, they revert to hivemind sources of mutual agreement, and find it incredibly difficult to discuss anything that does not toe the party line, or more importantly that might not toe the party line. This is exactly the same problem which has killed the Labour Party in Scotland. Beware of blind support, it ultimately kills your ability to function flexibly.
The SNP is actually one of the most democratic parties in the UK. There is no reason why people cannot change their mind about individual issues, particularly as the whole point is to represent the nation. This attitude that we must stand in bland solidarity, avoiding the discussion of the most simple topic appears to be some sort of hangover from people’s former political and/or religious affiliations.
We are not in the dark ages, nobody tells you how to vote, nobody tells you what to think, and if somebody is more expressive than you are, it does not mean that they are a threat to you. If somebody disagrees with you, you choose whether to discuss your ideas with them. Surely even the most hardened former tory, former socialist or fan of clan-baiting Scottish history can understand that.
As I have pointed out before, the SNP have been incredibly successful at having a foot in both political camps in Scotland. Depending on who you talk to, SNP supporters veer between being referred to as ‘tartan tories’ and as hard left socialists. There are people of many ilks in the SNP. As I have pointed out before, the SNP are an aggregate of free political thinkers, people who would like to have some administrative control of their own destiny, and anybody who has some pride, optimism and faith that Scotland is actually awash with talented people who are well capable of moving their country forward without the financial drain that is London and the nuclear burden weighing on the Scottish purse.
Apparently, even my brief tweets imply that I am a sort of enemy. As I write this, two people have indicated that they suspect that I am not one of them. Well, no, I was brought up to think and say what I think, not hide behind a curtain formed by other people with a limited understanding of what it means to have ideas of your very own.
As an SNP member, I am not active as a result. This seems to me to be something that could be addressed for the benefit of new political talent, particularly amongst the younger generation. The whole point is that people should have a voice, not sit in solidarity, frightened to question anything or speak.
I am not the only person taking a similar view. We are with you, but we certainly won’t be amongst you anytime soon.