Radical Indy Conference 05: Statement of support from Jean Urquhart MSP

It’s now just ten days until the much-anticipated Radical Independence Conference kicks off in Glasgow.  Jean Urquhart MSP, who recently resigned from the SNP over the NATO U-turn, has sent this short statement on why she will be attending and addressing the conference:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to address the Radical Independence Conference on November 24th.

Although the independence referendum has been brought forward by the politicians, it will be voted on by the people. No one politician has, or should have, a monopoly on what independence should look like or what it means, and that is why it is vital that a grassroots movement adds its voice to the Yes campaign.

A new approach to the environment and the economy, a humane border policy that does not demonise immigrants, a written constitution incorporating an elected head of state and a nuclear-free Scotland are all possibilities that could be realised with independence.Scotland could become the world-leader in unilateral nuclear disarmament, in building a more inclusive and fairer society, in adopting new economics and delivering much more local democracy. To do that, we will need left-of-centre voters from all traditions – particularly those previously sceptical of the benefits of independence. To them I say, if you share these ambitions for a better country, you have to decide whether there’s a better chance of achieving them with a YES vote or a NO vote.We must move the conversation on from process to principle and from personality to policy, and I am sure that this Conference will be the first of many to do so.”

Jean Urquhart MSP
Times and details for all the Radical Indy Conference sessions, including Jean’s, can be found here.

Tickets can be bought here.

Comments (10)

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  1. Galen10 says:

    Since Jean Urquhuart is so keen on grassroots movements, perhaps she’ll consider doing the honourable thing and resign her seat, since she was elected as a list MSP, not on a personal vote? That way, the people who voted for an SNP representative will have what they voted for, rather than someone who has done considerable damage to the cause of independence, and given ammunition to the forces of reaction.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      If people vote blindly for political parties irrespective of policies then they deserve all the disappointment they get heaped upon them. As it happens I don’t believe that the majority of people vote blindly for political parties. In representational democracy people tend to vote for the aggregate of ideas that political parties represent.

      The people of the Highlands voted for a set of ideas which were set out and embodied by the SNP. Both Jean and John still embody those ideas which – as ye ken – in May 2011 included opposition to NATO membership. Hence the Highlands still have two fine MSPs in Jean and John who still represent what they voted for. Outside SNP party members I doubt if many in the Highlands would want them to resign.


      1. Michael says:

        Don’t want to drag this out unnecessarily but both MSPs benefitted from the grass roots that got out and campaigned for them, from the hard work that so many put in getting the SNP to the position where its list candidates were elected in the first place and from the donations which ordinary SNP members have made to the party’s campaigns over many decades and which contributed to the election of the two resignees. Being someone who claims to be motivated by principle and conviction is all very well but place yourself before the electorate on those terms. There is a rather infantile view that making compromises, juggling the priorities of differing interest groups, making difficult choices and accommodating your colleagues’ diverse opinions is somehow morally easier than being ‘independent’. I’m just not convinced – can anyone imagine anything more boak making than a Parliament made up of 129 independents forever banging on about their immovable principles, flaunting their moral superiorism and always being so confident of their own personal interpretation of the world that they could never find common cause within a larger organisation in order to advance the interests of the electorate. That’s what a Parliament would look like composed of independents – I don’t find it attractive.

  2. George Gunn says:

    If independence is so fragile that it can be damaged by an MSP acting on what they believe then it must be a weak thing indeed. I believe the opposite. The cause for a nuclear free Scotland can only be enhanced by open discussion and debate and the war mongering power cabal that is NATO is not the club for this emerging nation to attach itself to. As for Jean Urquhart and John Finnie resigning their seats this is the last thing the government want. They both still support the SNP policies – just not NATO. That is their choice and we must respect that even if we do not agree with it. Alex Salmond has. “The forces of reaction” can perhaps be found under the simmering bile of pseudonymns? And for that matter within the Scottish government.

  3. Alicia Murray says:

    Unfortunately the organisers of this conference are badly letting us down. I booked a place and paid through Paypal in early October. Despite contacting the recipient of my cash (details from Paypal) I still have not heard anything from them. This leaves a bad taste if the conference takes place.

  4. picpac67 says:

    I don’t really care which party Jean Urquhart belongs to – or none. The ‘partiocracy’ is in any case an opponent of democracy and well past its sell-by date. But anyone within the political system who is intelligent and principled enough to understand the importance of a written constitution ought to be supported.

  5. bellacaledonia says:

    Michael – you ask if anyone can imagien anything more boak inducing than 129 independents banging on about principles? Yes I can actually. Its about 500 miles south of Edinburgh and has three identikit parties presenting the illusion of choice.

    Its worth stepping back and considering that this storm-in-a-tea-cup around Jean and John’s resignation takes place within the tight restrictions of party politics within (unrepresentative) representational democracy. Maybe when Scots grow up through the process of self-government we’ll progress beyond “cross-in-a-box-every-5-years” democratic tokenism and narrow-minded party tribalism.



    1. Galen10 says:

      Seems a tad pie in the sky to me; I’m all for having some independents and not replicating the Westminster system in Scotland, but your case is holed below the waterline by the simple fact that these two were LIST MP’s. There might be something to be said for them if they had been elected personally, but they weren’t. Their actions are self-indulgent and give comfort to the forces of reaction. Irrespective of your cavilling,if they had an ounce of integrity they would stand down now.

      The party system and how they influence Scottish politics isn’t going to disappear just because you and a few misguided ultras wish we all lived in the sun filled uplands of … what exactly..? Non-party politics? You really think the Scottish people don’t have choices?! No sorry.. that’s just special pleading because you think they are nice sorts really.

  6. wanvote says:

    I think Jean is to be praised for sticking to her principles and resigning from SNP to become an Independent MSP. Now if only a Labour MSP (and there must be at least one who still wants rid of Trident) had the guts and principles to do the same, it would invoke a different reaction entirely. Besides which, we are reminded that Independence is about democracy and not about any one party’s view on what IndyScotland should look like.

  7. George Gunn says:

    In reply to Galen10. Do you think List MSPs are somehow less authentic than constituency MSPs? In the case of the Highlands and Islands I think you will find the opposite. Jean actually increased the SNP vote in Shetland considerably as Shetland was her base. They even might have won – and in Orkney – if there wasn’t, in both places, a distracting non-political personality vote which attracted the necessary numbers. I take it you support the SNP? Here’s a question for you: who left who? The SNP have left a lot of people with no party to vote for in the Highlands and Islands. Surely that weakens the independence movement?

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