Excellent article over at Bella, and good debate from comments posted, so I thought I’d share it with you.
We have had two resignations from the SNP in the aftermath of conference adopting a pro-Nato strategy. There are issues with this.
Firstly in my view is the status of MSPs awarded a seat at Holyrood from the Regional Lists. This is a mechanism to reward parties that missed out on the constituency seat. It was the party on the list and no individuals were mentioned. Each party listed candidates in order of preference and were rewared with list seats in the region on the basis of total votes and taking account of constituency seats won.
So if list members resign from the party is it not the case that the seat remains with the party? Indeed SNP policy is for resignation from the representative body to be the natural consequence, which in this case would allow the next two on the list to take up the seats awarded to the party. No by-elections for list seats.
Then we need to consider the overall strategy. Of prime importance is the obtaining of a Yes vote in the referendum. In fact it is the only possible route to withdraw from our existing Nato membership. So Yes comes first, and a pro-Nato stance at this stage may allow others to join that cause, or rather may be a factor in not having them oppose it.
Once that Yes vote has been obtained, and a new government appointed following the 2016 election, that first appointed government of an independent Scotland can consider again the position on Nato, whichever party, or parties, form that government. That may not be, or even include, the SNP, though I shudder to even think of the alternatives that may hold the post of First Minister if it is not.
So the whole direction for the next two years is to maximise on the Yes vote, and the two highland members may have been better placed to influence that from within the party, accept the majority decision of the party, and work towards that first goal before considering a shot at the second. And if they have to give up the party’s regional seats as a result of their decision……