Please note: When I mention the SNP, I am not in any way stating that all members are at fault. This is mainly directed at the leadership, both at local branch level and nationally.
On Saturday Fife Trades Union Council and Fife People’s Assembly, held the first May Day march and rally, to be held in Fife for over five decades. We went out of our way to ensure that this was advertised and promoted in the most inclusive and open way ever. It was open to everyone, regardless of their personal political allegiances.
We agreed straight away that there would be no political party speakers on the day. The speakers at the rally were advertised from STUC, SPSC and The People’s Assembly Scotland. Both myself on behalf of Fife People’s Assembly and the chair of the Trades Council, spoke before the march began.
I was proud to march with Comrades and even candidates from Scottish Communists, Scottish Labour Party, RISE: Fife, Scottish Green Party and FIFE Branch Solidarity Scotland’s Socialist Movement. And with all the individuals who are all working class, Socialists, Anarchists, Communists and those with no “ists” in their names.
May Day is all about working class unity and celebration. It took a great deal of work and planning by the Trades Council and Fife People’s Assembly, to put it together and we appreciated the efforts of everyone who came and helped to make it the great day it was.
I can assure everyone that the party that is missing from this list, the SNP, were given personal invitations from myself. I even asked them to bring their flags and banners. I was given assurances by David Torrance that they would indeed attend.
My disappointment and now my question to them is this. Why were the #SNP, the so called new party of the working class in Scotland, not there to celebrate working class unity and organisation? I found out tonight that they were not in attendance at the Dundee May Day event either.
They had their usual stall on Kirkcaldy High Street, right where the march was starting from, and still they did not join. The Greens had their stall as well, but they closed it so they could march with the rest of us.
That is what I am pondering as I write. I do have a few ideas behind their lack of attendance.
It was almost the same last year in Dunfermline when I was involved with the organisation of an anti-austerity march. I again made contact with the SNP and invited them, as the “anti-austerity” party. I received a mail from Roger Mullin asking if he could speak on the day. When I replied that there would be no party political speakers, all correspondence ended. I did then make contact with Neale Hanvey and he did attend that one. I truly hope he was not told by the local leadership not to attend on Saturday, as I actually quite like Neale as a councillor.
So why this reluctance to attend working class, grass root labour movement events? They are always out in force if it is an event promoting independence. Therein lies the root of a major issue. The SNP do not believe in class politics, or in supporting labour movement events. The SNP have neither the history nor understanding of the struggles of the wider labour and union movement, because they have always been on the outside looking in.
The SNP who now say they are the party of the working class, in reality have no class awareness whatsoever. They are turning into the something for everyone party. They are in fact the political equivalent of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
If you criticise them or have the audacity to point out their failings you are no more than a unionist lapdog. You are not wise enough and cannot see how marvellous the “Emperor’s New Clothes” are.
And this is the issue. The SNP do not align themselves with the wider labour movement, they pay lip service to our Unions and the STUC. They do not talk of class or class politics. They have only one aim that they will fully support and that is Independence at all costs.
This is what the “Emperor’s New Clothes” hides. It hides the fact that they are in reality the same now as they always were, centre right politically. Centre right on policy, pro big business, pro EU and the ultimate centralists to the core.
If we had badged Saturdays march, as a march for Independence the place would have been full of official SNP people, with Saltires and Lion Rampant flags galore. They actually think that is class politics in Scotland.
But it was badged for what May Day is all about, as a celebration of working class unity and organisation. These are things that the SNP either do not understand or worse, do not want to be associated with. There have been far too many occasions where the SNP dressed in their “New Clothes”, fail to support real working class causes and events.
The only grass root movement they have ever really supported was the YES campaign, but only because it fitted in with their raison d’être. Even then they tried to distance themselves from the more working class sections within that movement. They are now distancing themselves even further from the wider YES and RiC coalition.
It appears that the SNP as ever talk of Social Democracy but their actions are always more conservative. Read their manifesto and see what I mean, it is full of regurgitated Tory centre right policies. But you need to see through “The Emperor’s New Clothes” first.