Siol nan Gaidheal

The Scottish Cultural & Fraternal Organisation

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May 2000

The Right Honourable
Alex Salmond MP MSP
National Convenor
Scottish National Party
6 North Charlotte Street
Edinburgh EH2 4JH

Dear Mr Salmond,

It has come to our attention over the last few weeks that senior office bearers within SNP National Council have seen fit to remind constituency / branch members of the continuing “proscription” (sic) of Siol nan Gaidheal within your party. Further, that any communication received from our organisation should thereby be ignored, irrespective of content.

Whilst the internal policy of the Scottish National Party is indeed the prerogative of those you entrust with formulating strategy and discipline, there can be no legitimate way in which a perceived “incompatibility of membership” – for that is what it amounts to, nothing more – should lead to blanket bans on communication with entirely legal and, what is more, separate organisations such as our own. On whose authority, exactly, are we “banned” and on what factual basis? Your own on-going intra- and extra-parliamentary communication with representatives and agents of British Unionism in Scotland and elsewhere reveals your stance towards Siol nan Gaidheal as being somewhat disingenuous in this respect.

We respectfully call on you therefore to afford us the courtesy of spelling out what criteria the SNP based their ban on dual membership in the early eighties and what justification there can be for continued “incompatibility” as you would see it, given the entirely separate nature of our organisation to that founded in the late seventies. If the basis for this incompatibility continues to be ideological then we and, crucially, the growing numbers of Nationalists turning to us would greatly appreciate a more substantive explanatory statement from your party hierarchy than the patronising “that’s the way it is, so there” which accompanies your ignoring and ignorance of Siol nan Gaidheal.

Is the “79 Group” also up for banning or might we be treading on sensitive, nay uncomfortable ground there, best forgotten? Whilst our most recent open letter (cf our website) to your “grassroots” did not seek nor expect an official response, we were more than encouraged by the numerous calls and letters of support which we received from individual SNP members the length and breadth of Scotland.

We do however feel it appropriate to expect the courtesy of an answer to this particular communication on the substantive issues raised above. Whilst fully expecting the upholding of this essentially Labourite control-freakery, we maintain that it is important for the people of Scotland to know how your party reacts to legitimate ideological challenge from another Nationalist organisation, however much more cultural and fraternal our own would seem to be in this and other matters.

Trusting that you will give this matter due diligence and attention, thereby avoiding inappropriate speculation on the question, we look forward to receiving your reply in earliest course.

Yours sincerely for a free Scotland,

An Ard Chomhairle

National Executive Council

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