Author Archives: Kit Fraser

Covid-19 is not the only malaise

This week the East Lothian Party held our AGM via Zoom and even before the event we knew we had a problem. The Convenor, me as Vice Convenor, our Treasurer and our Secretary had given notice that we were not prepared to stand again.

The three long time office bearers felt they had done their bit but two of them also shared my disillusionment, as a relatively new member, with the policies, direction and leadership of the Scottish Party.

We were aware that with these resignations the East Lothian Party would fold, so I wrote to our membership of over 100 asking for volunteers who might step in to avoid the crisis. No-one stepped forward. I view that fact as evidence of a wider ennui in the membership, requiring the re-invigoration of fresh policies and passion from the top.
Trying to give a lead in a very small way, the East Lothian Executive suggested moderating the party’s outright opposition to a second Scottish Referendum under any circumstances. The amendment we moved at the autumn conference would have done that without actively promoting a referendum and certainly not backing independence. That nod to democracy, we felt, would set us apart from the Tory and Labour positions.

Perhaps predictably, the leadership succeeded in persuading conference to reject the amendment by, we thought, employing a highly misleading portrayal of its intentions. Nonetheless, approximately 18% of attendees backed the amendment

In addressing conference, I had reminded members of the adage usually attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” That’s what we think the party is doing and if that isn’t bad enough, it’s not even doing it very well.

A few days ago, Boris Johnson was reported as dismissing devolution as a disaster and Tony Blair’s biggest mistake. The story surfaced overnight on Wednesday but the Scotsman, and many other titles had time to report it. Radio 4’s “Today” programme headlined the story and featured several Tories struggling to defend the PM, making up what they thought he meant. One of them, Malcolm Rifkind, let slip that there is now no doubt that the future of the UK must be a Federal one.

What a gift!

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