This is the first of two guest articles from Gordon Millar., I live in Bromley, Greater London. I voted for the SNP when I lived in Aberdeen in the 70s and 80s, when most of my friends saw this as rather eccentric behaviour, but I never joined the Party until 3 days after the 2014Continue reading "WANT TO BE AN EQUALITIES OFFICER IN THE SNP?"


This is the first of two guest articles from Gordon Millar., I live in Bromley, Greater London. I voted for the SNP when I lived in Aberdeen in the 70s and 80s, when most of my friends saw this as rather eccentric behaviour, but I never joined the Party until 3 days after the 2014 referendum. I was a member of SNP London Branch until June2021, on the committee from late 2016 and Political Education Officer from late 2017. I’m now the Treasurer of Alba’s International Branch.

Want to be an Equalities Officer? Just threaten to beat up some women!

A few weeks ago, the SNP were forced to suspend Alexandria Adamson, co-organiser of the SNP Disabled Members Group, in view of his history of extremely unpleasant on-line threats and his aggressive physical confrontation with feminist demonstrators outside Holyrood last September.

A few days after the suspension, Joanna Cherry stunned a Fringe audience when she confirmed that neither Nicola Sturgeon nor SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford gave her any support after she received rape threats. There had been “no support whatsoever” from the party leadership, she said, suggesting it was because people were “afraid” to be seen defending her because of her gender critical views.

Now, given that we’re currently seeing a push back against the erosion of women’s rights and the marginalisation of women, as evidenced by Suella Braverman’s very clear statement on the Equality Act and single sex spaces and the dropping of Stonewall by the Government’s Legal Department, you would expect the SNP to take some notice and try, at least, to avoid further poor publicity.

Sadly, they continue to live down to expectations. Because, despite 52,200 annual domestic abuse assaults against women in Scotland alone, @LondonSNP still managed to make Cameron Downing their Equalities Officer.

And, in case you’ve never heard of him, that would be this Cameron Downing:

Surely not? The London SNP website still shows James Bayliss as Equalities Officer, but a little bit of checking established that Downing had, indeed, been elected as the SNP London Branch Equalities Officer at the recent AGM. The appointment is shown in Downing’s Twitter bio and is still there at the time of writing.

Of course, the SNP is the Party where the leader positively encourages crybully TRAs, the Party of Alyn “Daddy Bear” Smith and his group of young, misogynist, gender ideologues and the Party where offensive, bullying, and threatening comments are regularly made, or endorsed, against Joanna Cherry MP by various elected members, party workers and the convenors of affiliated groups. So, in one way, it’s pretty much par for the course. And, in all honesty, the reaction of most people would probably be “Cameron who?” 

But it’s a bit more significant than that. For a start, (as far as I am aware) Downing has never apologised for his tweet nor suffered any formal SNP sanction. Indeed, his reaction appears to have been to make his account private, so that only his approved friends could read it. Not the obvious course of action of someone about to apologise or change course.

And his comment couldn’t possibly have come as a surprise to anyone, including those making the appointment, as it got quite a lot of Twitter coverage recently at London Pride.

So, appointing him to a branch committee position looks like a rather in-you-face gesture to push forward the normalising of the unpleasant, misogynistic behaviour which bedevils Scottish politics, particularly in the SNP/Green alliance. 

Especially as the SNP refuse to discuss the issue. When Karen Adam was asked how it was OK for an MSP who is a member of the GRR scrutiny committee to be photographed marching, smiling, with a man who wants to beat the f**k out of some terfs she didn’t engage with the question or defend her position, but resorted to the now traditional SNP tactic:

I also contacted the London SNP convenor for his comments, as it was only fair to give him the chance to put forward his reasons for this appointment. So far, I haven’t even had an acknowledgement, let alone a comment.

And this is another part of the problem. If you won’t discuss an issue, then you can’t reflect on it and you reinforce the idea that bad behaviour is OK as long as it’s your friends that are doing it.

Because some obvious questions arise here, and it’s difficult to believe that the appointment would have been made if they’d been asked.

For example, apart from common decency and the obvious problems of electing someone who wants to “beat the fuck out of some terfs”, Downing is the Media and Communications Officer of SNP Affiliate, Out for Indy. 

Out for Indy pushes a hard-line, possibly illegal, Stonewall version of trans rights. Its members regularly bully women such as Joanna Cherry, on-line. So how can an officer of an organisation with such extreme, misogynistic, gender ideologue views be considered as a suitable candidate for Equalities Officer, regardless of anything else? Surely an equalities officer must deal with equalities and fairness for everybody.

And then there’s the timing. There’s probably never a good time to appoint a misogynistic bully as your equalities officer but, if you must do it, it shows a spectacular lack of awareness to do it now, when we’ve had the decisions in the Forstater and Baillie tribunal cases, Harry Miller and “We Are Fair Cop” have put the police on the back foot over “non-crime hate incidents” and Suella Braverman (whatever you may think personally of her and her politics) has just provided a detailed guide to the treatment of sex and gender in the Equalities Act, which may well spell the end for “Stonewall law” and its promoters.

However, these issues appear never to have been considered. But was this arrogance or lack of awareness? Well, I think it’s the latter – cock up, not conspiracy – but this makes things worse, not better, as it demonstrates the impact of Nicola Sturgeon’s pandering to the SNP’s TRA ideologue minority.

For example, the paragraph below is an extract from an e-mail to me from the London Branch convenor at the time of the 2021 Holyrood elections, when we were discussing my future in the branch (the arguments centred on the effect on independence of Alba, Both Votes SNP, and gerrymandered candidates):

“As a representative of the branch, elected to both the branch committee and to a national role, we believe you have a responsibility to the party, your fellow committee members, and to the members who supported you and voted for you; to not undermine the party and to follow party policy and direction”.

That’s a perfectly polite and clear statement of the branch’s position but it’s interesting for two specific points:

Firstly, there is no mention of independence and, secondly, it’s clear that party loyalty trumps everything else.

But, if you believe that, then you are much more likely to accept the leadership’s actions as normal and unexceptionable. So, when a Cameron Downing turns up, endorsed by an MSP and apparently part of the in-crowd, then you’re more likely to accept him at face value and, if he volunteers for a difficult-to-fill position, so much the better.

But this is absolutely not OK! Nicola Sturgeon’s long term, and continuing, silence on the appalling bullying and abuse heaped upon Joanna Cherry and her explicit support for the SNP’s worst TRA crybullies has inevitable consequences, the main one being a normalisation of misogynist bullying and threatening behaviour towards women who stand up for their rights.

But what kind of political party tolerates open misogyny, on-line threats and bullying to the extent that it becomes so normalised that it’s apparently not even a vetting issue? This is not, in fact, normal or acceptable behaviour and it should be called out. “Wheesht for Indy” is no excuse for this. The bullies should be out the party and Nicola Sturgeon should be robustly challenged on her own behaviour.

And what about Cameron Downing? Well, why should he be an exception – complaints should be made to both the SNP HQ and the London Branch stressing, amongst other things, the impact on female voters and the reputation of both the branch and the Party.

We should also ask what discussion, if any, took place on the appropriateness of appointing someone to a sensitive position who had threatened women with violence and was a member of an openly misogynistic organisation. What discussion took place regarding the broader impact on the independence campaign among, say, women voters, of this appointment? 

In short, SNP members, office holders and the Party in general should no longer be allowed to get away with normalising or ignoring unacceptable behaviour.


I am going to restrict my comments to suggesting readers of this article should compare and contrast this with the treatment handed out to Tim Rideout. It is abundantly clear that there is considerably different standards being applied entirely dependent of whether you are a favoured minority or a diligent, capable member of the Party who contests at Conference the favoured plan of the leadership. Gutter politics OK for some it appears.

I am, as always



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