- We felt the other parties they were asking to join would say no, this turned out to be correct.
- We said the idea would be rejected by the Electoral Commission, this turned out to be correct.
- We said that if they persisted they would have to set up as a traditional party and that even if they were registered it would be too late to do anything meaningful in terms of coordination, again we were vindicated.
While AFI were still trying to get their name registered we at ISP had branches up and running, policy outlines in place, vetting procedures, a marketing strategy and were putting out professional quality videos informing voters of how the Additional Member System works in Scotland. This week we announced our vetted candidates while AFI have yet to confirm whether they have even vetted theirs and whether any member voting took place or if those who have said they will be standing have been hand picked and coronated.
We suspect that if the situation was reversed, if AFI had all of the structures and policies in place, and candidates announced – if in that situation ISP were still talking about holding a conference in the next week – AFI would be asking why we were insisting on continuing, when the opportunity to maximise the pro independence vote relies on having a single list party. So the time has now come to ask that of the AFI.
They have tried to make a virtue of having no policies, but voters vote based on policy. ISP are deliberately centrist and on the key issues of Independence, GRA reform, the Hate Crime Bill, and Scotland’s future relationship with Europe ISP have taken stated positions while AFI remain silent. ISP signed up to the Independence Manifesto while AFI couldn’t. The question then becomes, if you don’t care about any of those issues and only care about independence, why vote AFI when the Green party already exists and ISP is there as an alternative for those who do? Policies matter, ask women.
AFI have some high profile and dedicated pro independence spokespeople including Dave Thomson, Tommy Sheridan and Martin Keatings so we don’t doubt for a moment their commitment to independence, but increasingly it feels like a poker player that knows they’ve got a hand like a foot but have too much in the pot already to do what they know they should do and fold. They continue to ask ISP to join them whereas the simplest thing they could do is to stop playing a bad hand and admit that their party alliance (which currently consists of themselves and Solidarity) is not happening’. But we’ve made it clear, we’re just not that into you.
That is all meant jovially and not in a scathing way, we know these people are sincere in their desire for independence and to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs just as we are. But with the players involved and a lack of policies we feel they’re more likely to simply “max the left” and end up like a RISE again.
We now call on AFI to see sense, to do the right thing for the cause of independence, and fold. Let ISP carry the torch for pro-independence voters who don’t feel the Greens are up to the job of forcing the SNP’s hand. Get behind us and put the weight of your media team and spokespeople towards getting as many ISP MSPs as possible in Holyrood. We know this might be a difficult message to accept, especially for those who have been promised a prominent position on the list, but if “country before party” is really to mean anything, supporting ISP is the best way to do that.