Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The SNP can't be bought

Several people have already blogged about Brian Souter's donation of £500,000 to the SNP this weekend. Some in the press have implied that this means the SNP's loyalty can be bought or our policies influenced.

Call me naive, but I don't believe that the SNP would ever go down a route which allowed the size of someone's cheque book to undermine the internal democracy of the party. We have never had wealthy people falling over themselves to donate, perhaps we have no equivalent to the honours and influence that Labour and the Tories can bestow. We want people to come to us for the right reasons, and we've been selective about who gives us money - as Al Fayed found only last year. The only reason I'm comfortable with taking Souter's money is that I don't believe it will buy him any influence.

Last year, the YSI put forward a motion to annual Conference on bus re-regulation which was passed by acclaim. It read:

The SNP recognises the failures of bus deregulation across Scotland and reiterates its support for re-regulation of Scotland's buses. Since deregulation, passenger numbers have fallen and many essential services on less profitable routes have been cut.

A system of re-regulation will aim to simplify ticketing, halt the system of several companies competing for passengers on the same route and increase overall passenger numbers.

The SNP calls for an integrated public transport system for all modes of public transport in Scotland which will reverse the trends of deregulation – ultimately providing a world-leading and affordable transport system for Scotland's people and tourists alike.

I don't know what Brian Souter thinks of that; I don't know whether he's even an SNP member, but if he wanted to change the policy, the idea would have to come through the party. That brake on the power of wealthy donors is something which I am glad exists, and will always fight to protect (even if I have to write to The Herald).

14 comments:

Bill said...

I hope you are correct. Therefore Alex Salmond or possibly some other senior SNP spokesperson should have no problem in making quite clear that the SNP disassociates itself from Mr Souter's homophobic views? I await with interest; if such a statement IS made then I shall certainly blog about it. Thanks for the mention of my little blog, btw :)

Andrew said...

We cannot stop people having 'views' even where we disagree with them. I don't like his narrow minded views that come from his religous sect. However we know where the money has come from and he won't get any favours as it is Conference that decides policy. The party will have many gay candidates elected in the local and National elections on 3 May like you and me and they will have the use of Soutar's money to do so. Anyway he has no say of how we spend his money.

Mark McDonald said...

Bill, it may escape you but the SNP disassociated itself from Mr Souter's homophobia when we voted in favour of Section 28 being repealed.

Bill said...

Hi Mark

it may escape you but the SNP disassociated itself from Mr Souter's homophobia when we voted in favour of Section 28 being repealed.

Thanks for reminding me of this; now that I recall, all MSPs voted to abolish clause 2a (i.e. Section 28), except for the Scottish Conservatives who, after a lot of humming and hawing, abstained. I will bear this in mind when looking at SNP policies in the future, in the light of Souter's donation, although I agree (and hope) it is probably unlikely they will 'back-slide' at his behest; no doubt it will be 'news' is they do.

World of Jack said...

Lookd like Gordon's plans to buy off the voters have gone a bit awry.

Anonymous said...

Apparently they can.

Anonymous said...

Except now the sale has gone through.

I'd be furious if I were you. It's a good policy, and it belongs in the manifesto.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the double post - should always preview these things.

Let's wait and see if the SNP's policies on homophobia are next. That's all Brian Souter seems to care about. Buses, and disliking LGBT people.

Jen Muir said...

As a party member, and a greenie I really hope that the SNP don't lose sight of that conference motion.

Deregulation of buses hasn't worked. We need to do more to bring about some form of regulation in order to build a truly integgrated transport system fit for modern use, and one that has respect for the environment. If rural, and not so profitable routes are dropped where is the integgration, and do the profitable routes really need so much competition as all that happens is that our streets are clogged with buses belching fumes into the air.

Anonymous said...

I take it ,if what you say is true. the SNP will go ahead with plans to reregulate the buses then?,dispite what Brian souter thinks. Since 1986 these big fatcats have had it their own way , Brian Souter being one of the biggest culprets. He and his sister are a pair of mersonary gits who only have their own interests truely at heart.The only people to truely benefit from deregulation /privatisation were the priviteers. I say the SNP should prove to the public that they are not being sweyed by Brian Souters donation and proceed with a bill of blanket reregulation , for the people of Scotlands sake. Brian Souter has been heard saying ,that if reregulation came in he'd sooner sell up. My answer to him would be "ok then. goodbye " . IF the government is serious about getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, then the system needs to be up to scratch. At present it is run purely on a money making basis which is no way to run a service that is meant to be run in the "PUBLICS INTEREST". So to conclude , the SNP should prove to us all that what Brian souter's demands have no influence on the party , go ahead and pass a bill to reregulate the whole scottish system, only then will I ,and the rest of the tax paying population of Scotland truely believe that the cash donation given by Brian Souter has no influence on the democracy of Scotland. P JONES BISHOPBRIGGS rsvp

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly expect anyone to believe that the SNP would proceed with a bill to reregulate the bus industry now. Following Souters donation you con definately concider the subject closed. The snp and the rest of the polititions are too concerned about sooking in with Souter and big buisness figures like him. Once again its a fine example of the working man being pushed aside. People like Souter always get their way.

Anonymous said...

REregulation is now dead in the water,ive no doubts about that. After Souters donation the SNP wouldnt dream about going against his wishes. Its a pity they wernt so keen to do what the publis and the working man [who voted thm in] want. Once polititions get elected to hell wi everyone exept themselves ,its time to stick us for the public/working class.

Anonymous said...

Tell me your joking... "The Snp cant be bought" ? Well I take it the reregulation bill will be coming shortly then???? and I dont think. IF this cash donation didnt matter we would be well on our way to bringing the reregulation bill in by now, and where are we???? the bill is dropped. Its hardly rocket science to work out why.
"call me niave"???? tell me you are joking with us all.

Anonymous said...

Im sure senior SNP figures amg government MSPs will be keen to contribute to these coments??? Aye and maybe pigs will fly....