”Fixing” needing sorted.

Dr Tim Rideout is a very competent member of the Scottish National Party. Readers may recall he was successful in getting the SNP CONFERENCE to back his call for our own Independent Scottish currency on a timescale considerably faster than the proposal laid out in the ”Growth Commission Report”. This did not endear him toContinue reading "”Fixing” needing sorted."

”Fixing” needing sorted.

Dr Tim Rideout is a very competent member of the Scottish National Party. Readers may recall he was successful in getting the SNP CONFERENCE to back his call for our own Independent Scottish currency on a timescale considerably faster than the proposal laid out in the ”Growth Commission Report”. This did not endear him to senior figures in the leadership.

Since that time that decision has been studiously ignored by the SNP leadership who seem to have forgotten that Conference was supposed to be the supreme decision making body of the Party. Given the absence of face to face conferences in recent times this of course limits the opportunity for ordinary members to influence events within the Party.

The Good news is that there will be a Conference later in the year and Tim Rideout would like to attend and participate in that Conference. That however is far from certain.

Tim Rideout is currently suspended from the membership of the Party following a tweet he issued back in March this year. I publish below the statement he issued at the time explaining his actions and apologising for the tweet.

“I spent my school and university days in apartheid South Africa. I was so appalled by the racism that I refused to accept the system and was ultimately expelled in January 1985 because of it. So it is very difficult for me to hear myself described as a racist. But I realise that the language I used in a Tweet is far too close to what many people who have experienced racism will have heard far too often in their lifetimes and I realise how that will affect them. I apologise unreservedly to Ms Patel and to anyone else who read my words and was reminded of the kind of attacks they’ve lived with all their life.

What I don’t apologise for is my anger at what I think is the inhumanity of Priti Patel and the Tory Government. The Nationality & Borders Bill disregards the UK’s obligations under the UN Charter on Refugees and will entirely predictably kill children, women and men as and when their boats get turned back in the English Channel.  The final outrage is the way they have tried to shirk the moral responsibility to reach out a hand of help and welcome to Ukrainian refugees who desperately need it.”

Now what is delaying his disciplinary hearing? Many months later he has not been given any opportunity to explain his actions and get the suspension lifted. He is facing a “suspension” that is intentionally open ended as it requires the National Secretary of the Party to refer the “incident” to the appropriate disciplinary committee for action. However the National Secretary has not referred it to the committee. What is more in response to an enquiry from Mr Rideout the National Secretary is ” unable to provide any timetable” of when it will be discussed.

So Dr Rideout finds himself locked out of membership. He cannot understand why there should be such a long delay. He admits the incident, he has publicly apologised for it, so why can he not be given the opportunity of a fair hearing? It smacks of the system being used unfairly to restrict potential critics. The more so when there are MP’s found guilty of much more serious offences but who thus far have escaped any suspension altogether.

Dr Rideout has asked me to publish a constitutional amendment he proposes to stop the system being used selectively in this way and to ensure basic and equal treatment for all. It is crucial that natural justice is protected. I detail below the relevant clause from the existing constitution and the amendment Dr Rideout would like to see implemented.

Of course while suspended Dr Rideout has lost the ability to submit this amendment himself but he hopes through it being published here members, branches, Mp’s and Msp’s that recognise the need for fairness will submit the amendment in their own names. Amendments need to be submitted by early July to be considered for selection and debate.

SNP Constitutional Amendment

To amend clause 6 of the SNP Constitution:

Current Version

6 Member Conduct

6.1 Allegations that a member has breached a Code of Conduct or has otherwise breached the requirements of membership are considered by the National Secretary.

6.2 The National Secretary may suspend a member from exercising any or all rights of Membership while allegations are being investigated and considered by the Party. In all cases where this action has been taken, the suspension will be regularly reviewed. 

6.3 The Member Conduct Committee hears complaints by the National Secretary to take disciplinary action in relation to an allegation.

Replace “the suspension will be regularly reviewed” with “National Secretary will refer the complaint to the Member Conduct Committee within 30 days or the Suspension will automatically lapse.”

New Version

6 Member Conduct

6.1 Allegations that a member has breached a Code of Conduct or has otherwise breached the requirements of membership are considered by the National Secretary.

6.2 The National Secretary may suspend a member from exercising any or all rights of Membership while allegations are being investigated and considered by the Party. In all cases where this action has been taken, National Secretary will refer the complaint to the Member Conduct Committee within 30 days or the Suspension will automatically lapse.

6.3 The Member Conduct Committee hears complaints by the National Secretary to take disciplinary action in relation to an allegation.

MY COMMENTS

Well this is another test for the SNP membership. All it seeks is the removal of the ability of those at the top of the Party to selectively use the constitution and frustrate the natural justice every member of the Party has the right to expect. I find it hard to believe that the many, many decent people I know in the SNP will give such injustice the blind eye treatment. I hope not, it would be truly shameful.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.