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A backwards step

Posted on March 30, 2015 by

Hi, I’m Lauren. Some of you might know me – during the referendum I wrote a letter to the Wee Ginger Dug about my journey from No to Yes. I’m a true convert, and once I crossed over I got busy – I leafleted and canvassed and worked my socks off as most activists do. I never joined the SNP because on the doorsteps I liked being able to say “it’s not all about the SNP, I’m not a member”.

But after the referendum I did join. I joined because I knew that I could still be actively involved in campaigning for independence. Within a few months I was chosen to be Branch Organiser in my hometown of Bathgate. Every time a new leaflet came out I counted 10,000 leaflets into their individual runs and delivered them to volunteers and I delivered the ones that that no one else wanted to do after I’d done my own.

I organised training days and visited new members, encouraging them to get involved. Wednesday nights and Friday afternoons were spent on canvassing sessions. For the by-election in nearby Armadale I’d get up on a Saturday morning, leave the kids with my partner and chap doors. On other Saturdays I manned street stalls.


Monday and Tuesday were spent building the constituency website where each of the branches could have space to communicate outside the confines of internal emails but in private. I went to constituency meetings and was also made Political Education Officer. I was actively campaigning full-time while having a job, four young children and a house to run.

I didn’t mind that I had very little time to see my friends, I didn’t mind that I had to give up our family time at the weekends, I didn’t mind that my petrol budget doubled, I didn’t mind that I missed my wee girl singing solo at a school opening ceremony because I was out canvassing. It was all for the cause, for a better Scotland

Yesterday I resigned from the SNP because the party told me I was second-class.

I’m not some weak little girl who needs a “gender equality mechanism” to succeed. I’m no less capable than any woman in Holyrood right now. But the amendment passed yesterday morning said I am.

I will not tell my daughters they’re not capable of achieving what their brothers can achieve. I will not sit meekly by and blindly accept these backwards, discriminatory quotas. I will not be told that all-women shortlists are only an “option” and that makes it alright.  I will not participate in a party that doesn’t know what equality is.

I listened very carefully on Saturday as buzzwords like “equality”, “social justice” and “fairness” were parroted over and over as if somehow repeating them enough times meant they’d happen. On Sunday morning the opposite of “equality” happened, and it happened with the full support of the leadership.

(To the point of bad manners – it’s bloody rude to get up and walk off stage when someone is making their argument. Someone opposing also had their mic turned off after their three minutes while they were still speaking, but someone supporting the amendment was allowed to continue after their time was up. “Equality”, I suppose.)

Along with many others I’d put my card in against the amendment, but though I was told I’d be heard I didn’t get to speak. This is what I wanted to say:

“I have three minutes to ensure womens rights aren’t taken back 100 years.

I’m opposing this motion because I believe men and women are equal. I was encouraged to speak today by a fellow member, a person who’s been SNP most of their adult life. A very hard-working individual who’s commanded my respect and admiration in all the time I’ve known them. 

That person felt their opposition to this amendment would be perceived by some as sexist. I find that quite ironic given what this amendment is proposing.

This proposal means biasing the system to advantage some people over others based on their gender. This idea that gender equality can only be achieved by treating people unequally is wrong. 

It doesn’t address why women are choosing more men candidates and it doesn’t address why more women don’t stand. It says that Nicola Sturgeon and Roseanna Cunningham and Shona Robison and Angela Constance and Fiona Hyslop are better than you or I, that we can’t achieve what they achieved unless we get an unfair advantage.

It doesn’t address any of the issues it claims unbalance our system.

It doesn’t tell us why John Swinney is apparently less able to represent his female constituents, yet a woman would be able to represent both sexes.

It doesn’t tell us how we can address the class imbalance, where working-class women currently can’t afford to give up jobs, pay for childcare and so on, but wealthier ones can.

In fact it’ll make it worse, because working-class men – who suffer less from those issues – will now be excluded from standing in favour of middle-class women. And women with kids will be pitted against those without.

We’ve been told relentlessly that gender quotas are a blunt but progressive method. They are, in the same way you could use an electric stone-grinder to brush your teeth. It’d certainly mean never having dirty teeth again, but not in the way you really wanted.

Instead of having women standing and being selected and respected, they’ll be viewed as the best of the ones we had to have. 

It also tells men that we’re the opposition, instead of their colleagues. It says to them ‘Don’t bother joining your local branch of the SNP, because you won’t be allowed to be a candidate, but hey, you can post the leaflets so we don’t break our nails.’

It means writing off half the population before we’ve considered their ability. We’ll be saying we’d have turned away the former First Minister, purely because he had a penis. ‘Sorry, Alex, we’ve got too many men at the moment, here’s some envelopes to stuff.’

This ‘gender balance equality’ is not equality. it takes women’s rights back to the days where we were justifying our right to be heard. 

It’s an agenda that will see the rise of people looking at women in politics as less able, rightly or wrongly. The fact is, they wont be given the opportunity to stand against all the competition and prove their worth.

Let’s not plaster over those issues with a quick fix that will inevitably revert back to the status quo, or worse – women once more being wrongly viewed as less equal, less able and ultimately inferior.”

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561 to “A backwards step”

  1. Caledonius

    Rev, got to say I thought this topic was a bad idea considering its the start of the election madness this week and it would prove destructive to wings. But you know what? The debate here as been really good and civil for the most part. It’s also been quite a crash course education in the subject of female equality with some very intelligent people sharing a lot of knowledge and experiences on this issue. As a young guy I never really thought much about this before, as I said to lauren in my only other post here I had no opinion.

    Well, thanks to some very good posts I wish to say to Lauren, I now agree that all-female short lists are not a good idea, and that women and men should be judged on ability and intelligence for important roles, not their sex. There’s other reasons I believe this, but I want to keep this short. Needless to say this debate helped me decide.

    I’ll say once more that people with your drive will be needed in ths election, please still help us kick out unionist MPs, you don’t have to be an SNP member to do that! Anyway, good luck in whatever you choose to do next.

  2. Valerie

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    30 March, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    “we can only be where we are today because of positive discrimination. There is *no other way* for the gender imbalance we have to happen”

    Yes there is. Democracy.

    I see, because the facts are that has worked so well then? Is that from your background in that bastion of gender equality of journalism and gaming?

    Its not like you to simply deny the facts on this issue, why are women still fighting for equal pay? Is it because women in those boardrooms don’t see fit to equalise their pay?

    Why if everyone is so democratic are women not then represented? The conclusion must be they are inferior, Rev. They just aint cutting the mustard, cos they are already on a level playing field, and they are being subjected to a fair and democratic process.

    My eyes have been opened.

  3. Valerie

    @The Rough Bounds 10.08, that is the most bigoted post it’s been my misfortune to read in a long time. Homophobic much?

    I can only hope you are not in any position to exercise that revolting bigotry against any gay men you might meet.

  4. Valerie

    Rev. Why would you not do some research on this issue before taking an entrenched position?

    I’m curious also at a lot of posters on here in denial about inequality, when we are awash with data on the subject.

  5. Susan

    I have a lot of sympathy with the original poster, and I have felt the same for a long time, although I now questioning my view after listening to Nicola Sturgeon’s arguments, but it is a very difficult question.

    However my point isn’t whether quotas are right or not, the point here is that leaving the SNP won’t help. Staying and fighting for independence will. You will never agree with everything that any political party stands for, but getting an independent Scotland where there is an actual will to improve gender balance, domestic violence rates, equal pay etc etc is by far the best way to actually move forward in these aims.

    It is better to be part of something that actively wants to address these issues, even if you don’t always agree with the methods, than to be a bystander.

    A friend of mine who has been active for many years supported this motion and told me that she has been waiting too many years for equality to happen in a natural way, she no longer wants to wait, she wants to give it a helping hand along the way. I remain ambivalent, but do recognise that this is a valid way ahead, even if unpalatable to many of us.

  6. Auld Granny

    @Valerie 2.05am

    Yes, I’m rather curious about that too. Why, when he does such in depth research into other topics, didn’t the Rev choose to check out the data and also why other counties have chosen to go down this route?

    Though I do sometimes wonder if there may be a generational slant here? The younger members of society not understanding just how entrenched sexist attitudes can be in the more older members of society? (And by older I mean just 50 plus!)

  7. Chipmonkey

    Lauren is entitled to hold a strong opinion,but this is a very one sided article. Wings usually does better. I went to conference (my first ever and I too am a ‘free thinker’) very much of the opinion that all discrimination is wrong and that women only lists are wrong. I still hold that view in priciple,but in fact the resolution was for a very small trial of this indeed- with no need to vote it off next year as it is for one election only and removal is written in.Good arguements were presented for both sides in this debate. There were many speakers for and against-and as the debate went on time constraints had to be put in place. I found it a good, healthy and stimulating debate even enjoyable,but it came to the point where it had to stop and points were simply being repeated. The vote in the end was complex,going through ammendment options,but support for the motion (for remember a limited trial) was overwhelming. That’s democracy isn’t it? Now what about trident,food banks,inequality,bedroom tax,the disabled,infrastructure, balanced books? Take it as a learning point Lauren and come back to argue vociferously from within.Listen to the debates with an open mind. There is always the chance there is something to learn.

  8. Dave MacIntyre

    Lauren, your attitude actually makes me despair. It is obviously not possible in any political party to get 100 % of what you want all the time.
    My mother is in her late seventies and until recently was still delivering leaflets after 30 years of working towards Independence.
    Just because a decision goes against you doesn’t mean that you should walk out.
    You also, along with your hard work, need to show a bit of staying power.

  9. DickieT

    Lauren. I wish that you would stay. Life is not fair and sometimes we have to suck it up for the benefit of everyone but if we were all to resign at the first issue that we disagree with we would have no members.

    I wish we did live in a perfect world but women are still on a journey to equality like it or not. Yes there are still dinosaurs around and we need to try every tactic we can to eradicate them but it will not happen overnight.

    Personally I would have opposed the motion like you as I feel it ill thought through and akin to the failed BEE in South Africa. I also feel that it is discriminatory against males whose hopes and dreams of becoming a candidate in the area that they live will be impacted.

    i will however fight this from within and work to ensure that there is no repetition.

    Please reconsider – we need people like you.

  10. Grant Buttars

    Dear Lauren

    I ‘m sorry you feel this way. We obviously have different opinions on women only short lists but I hope that this issue will not deflect you from reasons that motivated your move from No to Yes during the referendum. One of the most important elements of the whole campaign to me was that it brough people of diverse opinions together in a positive way, avoiding the tribalism of old-style-politics which has dogged progressive politics for so long. If the SNP is not the vehicle for you, fair enough. It may be that the political party, certainly in the way we understand it, with all it’s structures and internal protocols, has actually had its day and real, meaningful change will be driven from elsewhere. My appeal to you is to keep your eyes on the prize and continue to play a part in the wider movement.


  11. yesindyref2

    @Auld Granny: I’m 60+, and I would say there’s not a sexist bone in my body. Partly upbringing but more being lucky not to be particularly in sexist circles.
    @Valerie: neither am I in denial about inequality.

    There is legislation abour equality and discrimination, the problem is the route to justice is tortuous and expensive, and all that’s achieved in the end is the correct amount in the case of the councils, rather than penalties on top. They have also gotten away probably with people, well, women, desperate enough for money to have settled for less previously – these should also be paid the full amount and the settlements not allowed to stand.

    That doesn’t make it right to reverse discriminate. Tighten existing legislation, enforce it, and that’s that. Apart from that, all we can do is wait for my generation to die off!

    Democracy is about making laws and enforcing them as much as anything else, it’s also about fairness and voting. One person, one vote, one equal person, one equal vote.

  12. Loretta's cat



  13. Clive Scott

    Lauren, sorry that you are so chippy about what is a pragmatic decision taken to improve gender balance. There are several SNP policy issues I don’t agree with and I don’t even like the party name but that all counts for nothing against the prize of self determination for Scotland. The SNP are the only political party that have any hope of bringing this about so get over yourself, please come back, and get back to work.

  14. Effijy

    Lauren, I like you!
    Well done for giving so much to your country’s fight for freedom.

    I agree with you that there is no such thing as positive discrimination. I had a similar issue when a young trade unionist, and an African American tried to shame me for protesting about
    making shop stewards out of anyone with a darker skin complexion.

    We are all equal and everyone’s ability to do the job is everything that matters. Full stop.

    My Grand Mothers and Mother were remarkable women. They were going to get through life and drag their families through with them no matter what. To my mind there was nothing that they
    couldn’t achieve. They too would have been happy for the best candidate to get the job just as long as the game is played on
    an even playing field.

    If your local branch needed a candidate for an up and coming election, and you had 2 men standing, one very knowledgeable
    about politics and a wonderful speaker, another who was slightly less skilled but had put 25 years of service into supporting the party, who have a dilemma as to who deserves the position, but
    you could never put a young less knowledgeable woman in place if
    she joined last year and had contributed little by means of time and effort, but isn’t that what “positive” discrimination does?

    Lauren. SNP is your party!
    Fight from within. The leadership is wrong on this occasion and they need people who can tell them and explain why.
    Scream and shout and shake it all about because you, the person, are what politics are truly about.

  15. Footsoldier

    Enough is enough, move on there is much work to do. This post will not have helped the party at all, quite the opposite, so damage has been done.

    Like Lauren I do not agree with gender quotas but she should have worked from within to change things. As a member for over 50 years, there is plenty I do not like but one has to live with it until an opportunity presents itself to change things.

  16. Capella

    @ Valerie and Auld Granny
    Because he has a personal vendetta against Kate Higgins for accusing him and this site of being sexist! Goodness knows where anyone would get that idea.

    RE publishing this article. It would have been advisable to proof read it at least. The idea that AWS sets back women’s representation 100 years is ridiculous. In 1915 women did not have the vote. The first woman to be elected to parliament was Countess Constance Markievicz after women over 30 with property got the vote. She was Sinn Fein and didn’t take her seat. Women finally got the vote in 1928.

    Today 22% of the House of Commons are women while 52% of the population are. It would be a long time before we reach parity, even supposing progress developed in a straight line.

    Thank heavens we have a party in Scotland, led by an intelligent and progressive woman, prepared to take a bold step towards creating democracy in this country (as opposed to the oligarchy I believe we currently endure).

  17. Tam Jardine

    I agree with hunners of others who have commented already – if everyone who disagreed with a policy resigned then there would be no such thing as members of political parties.

    I would have left over Nato then the position on fracking (ie not ruling it out forever) and finally on quotas. It alarms me that if I decided to stand for candidacy in my own constituency in the future I would not be able to if the party decides it is to have an all women shortlist.

    I haven’t because I believe in most of the policies and aims of the party, and I believe in independence.

    It is no good losing young, passionate and talented activists and I would urge Lauren to reconsider although it will be difficult for her to do so now.

    Why this has been raised before the election is beyond me.

  18. Caroline Corfield

    Reading the stuff since I last posted I am struck by the argument for positive discrimination’s suggestion that those who oppose it believe there is no longer any discrimination against women.

    I’d like to point out that as far as I have read, and definitely as far as I have stated, the case against discrimination has proceeded but still has work to do, and those who have said they don’t agree with quotas have not suggested otherwise. They have merely said they do not think it is the correct way forward.

    As I have already stated, rational behaviour requires the best person put forward for the job gets it. If the best person feels reticent about coming forward for whatever reasons, that is something that needs to be looked at, the whys of that reticence will not be solved by quotas.

    Some people have admitted they believed women only came forward for political activity because they felt obliged to due to quota considerations. Really? That’s how we want to motivate women, we want them to feel obliged to stand?

    Women on the whole bring up the future generation, if they want to change the outlook of that generation it is ENTIRELY in their own hands.
    Who tells little boys that it’s ok to be aggressive and tells little girls its not?
    Who dresses little boys in blue and little girls in pink?
    Who buys the toys for their children?
    Who calls other women slappers because of what they choose to wear?
    Who gang up and bully other women who choose to be different?

    As someone once said, apocryphally if you prefer, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    Women are as much part of the problem as men, the solution is not to oblige them to take part while they still potentially carry the same prejudices. The solution, which has not yet finished occurring, is to stop the prejudices, and that takes place with young children’s education.

    When people get together for a common cause such as in a political party, what does a positive discriminatory action reveal about the party’s attitude to some of it’s members beliefs in the best actions for the cause, it says we don’t trust you to put forward the best candidate, we think you might just put forward your mate. In Labour I can believe that, I had hoped the SNP was different.

  19. Fred

    This thread is confusing two issues, the ins & outs of the female candidates business & the resignation stuff. The former should perhaps have been given a greater airing before the conference, not after, and on listening to both sides, on balance I would have voted for this proposal. Women have never been equal in my lifetime and despite progress still aint. We’ve come a long way however from my youth, when women were unwelcome on licensed premises in Glasgow and in one pub, for example, the womens toilet was a bucket & a curtain. 🙂

    The other issue is learning to accept democratic decisions, something you used to learn at the workplace on leaving school. The world doesn’t revolve round you and only by combining with others can you acchieve your goals. You can’t resign from life and petulance gets you nowhere. The majority is always right, even when it’s wrong. Life however is a learning process so hopefully the author has learned something from this experience.

  20. Alex Birnie

    I am really saddened by Lauren’s resignation. Like her friend, I am uneasy about positive discrimination, while applauding the efforts of those striving to achieve a society of equal rights for all. I feel that this is a bad idea, conceived for very good reasons. I also agree with the comments that we have to accept the will of the majority and work from within, unless it is too important an issue for you. Stay with us Lauren – we can’t afford to lose anyone, especially committed people like yourself. Let’s accept this as a temporary measure, to be thrown out as soon as the number of women SNP MSP’s equals that of the number of men.

  21. Betty Boop

    I re-iterate. I was at the conference, am not inclined towards single gender lists, was not initially in favour of the amendment, but, a) read the proposed amendment, b) listened to the entire debate.

    As others who attended have already attested, the debate was of good quality and fair. It was the longest debate in the conference. All speakers, on both sides of the debate, were passionate and clear about their convictions and a speaker who was not in favour came back to the stage after the submissions to plea further for her point of view.

    The decision of conference, not just the Executive, was a clear majority in favour of the amendment.

    I have seen a post which commented that every party member should have been consulted. I don’t know how that would be practical. Would that be for just this proposal or every proposal? Where would the line be drawn? How full would you like your postbox/inbox?

    Even if a branch discusses amendments before conference and instructs delegates to vote in a particular way, the branch would (probably, unless the branch is very small)be taking the decision for the majority of their members.

    Either you trust delegates to listen to the proposition and debate then vote in the way they think most appropriate or you do not. If you don’t trust the delegates to do just that, then what is the point of conference?

    What, indeed, is the point of politicians or Parliament if you do not allow your representatives to debate and consider submissions before voting?

    @ Alex Birnie

    The amendment will be deleted next May. The amendment is relatively modest, but, might make a significant contribution to encouraging constituencies to consider more women for nomination. It isn’t the sledgehammer some people say it is, which is why I am quite ambivalent about it.

  22. Betty Boop

    @ Natasha, 12:33am

    … In my experience as a teacher, out of the 10 headteachers I have worked under, 1 was outstanding, 1 was just about adequate and the rest ranged from inadequate to disgracefully incompetent.

    I know this is not a statistically significant sample, but I am not alone in this experience.

    Clearly, in education, promotion above one’s ability is par for the course.

    At least they were taken out of the classroom!!! I suppose it might be considered damage limitation.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “You have chosen not to publish my earlier comment, which insulted no one”

    No, but it broke our comment rules, which are very clearly linked above the comment box. Try it again with some sodding paragraph breaks in it.

  24. Brian

    I’m rather amused by those touting the ‘The Greater Good’ and ‘don’t damage the party’ line here.

    When did ‘social justice’ become about church gatherings for the women’s fete, defending ‘Little Scotland’ and favourably mandating jobs to women because ‘women deserve it more, because Women and not enough Women’.

    In addition, what makes you believe that this position should not be above rebuke?

    The only people making the SNP look like a farce over this instance are those determined to support discrimination.

    Pardon the slippery slope fallacy; but how long until its ‘Too many people in high paid jobs aren’t Scottish.’ or ‘Too many people owning property in Perth aren’t Scottish.’

  25. Democrat

    Anyone who has commented on this feed who thinks the debate on Sunday was conducted fairly is seriously mistaken. I joined a party eight years ago that prided itself on internal democracy and free debate. Yesterday I resigned from a party that completely undermined those crucial principles by ignoring so many voices to favour one side of the debate.

    Speakers were lined up by those in control of the debate to create the strongest case for the resolution passing, while speakers against the amendment to remove all-women shortlists were deliberately chosen to fatally undermine it.

    Like Lauren, I had a card in to speak, but like countless others, including parliamentarians, we were kept silent. The careful presentation by the leadership to control the debate meant the meeting, made up predominantly of new members who, in reality, had little idea of what they were voting for, simply did as they were asked by the people they have come to idolise.

    It was the most cynical thing I have ever witnessed at an SNP conference and I am ashamed of it.

  26. Brian

    Anyway, since the bruhaha has calmed down I wish to present a complete list of acceptable reasons for anyone to engage in discriminatory practices:


  27. Inkall

    I have always said I would support the SNP until independence was achieved and then I would move away from them.

    This kind of thing is one of the reason why.

    In 2012 we saw the “Women’s Unemployment Summit”, I don’t think I remember the SNP ever having or planning to have a “Men’s Uneployment Summit”, so much for equality there, I was under the impression that all the previous programs to look at the issue of unemployment were gender neutral.

    Looking at the SNP’s own media website on Lauren’s issue ( I notice a rather worrying line.

    “Women are bearing the brunt of the Tory government’s austerity cuts, suffer from the effects of a gender pay gap and a clear lack of representation.”

    If anyone could provide me with sources that women are being hit harder than men by austerity and that the various studies showing that the gender pay gap is a myth are incorrect it would be much appreciated.

  28. yesindyref2

    There is a third issue highlighted by this thread, and it’s the one of dissent. Some have said that with an election very soon, people should accept and be quiet.

    A fundamental root of a healthy democracy is dissent, the right to hold different views – and express them. Another resolution at the conference attracted some comment, but surprisingly little. Perhaps that was headed off by those of us who expressed concern (as I and a very new SNP member did in the Herald), as it leaves less political capital for any opposition by that very dissent.

    That’s the issue of “gagging” MPs, making them toe the line, or maintaining party discipline to achieve a common over-riding purpose. You choose. It did attract the odd comment of “stalinist diktat” of course, from the usual suspect SNP-haters.

    From the outside, if people see quiet where there should be clamour, they tend to think of sheep or mindless indoctrination; sycophants or blind apparatchicks (sp?). If they see dissent on the other hand, they see a healthy party encompasing different views, a broad church, and one where criticism – even deep criticism – is not only “allowed”, but encouraged. The SNP had better make sure it never dissuades dissent, or it goes the way of other parties and dies.

  29. T222Deracha

    @ Betty Boop

    Your rant sounded as patronising and condescending as anything I have heard from any Westminster politician.

    Including the membership, who have joined recently may help to prevent the SNP just copying the other parties. Including all members in the debate would have been more helpful. It is the age of the internet after all.

    It was a party conference, it was not a vote in Parliament.

  30. Lollysmum

    The organisation, group or party that stifles dissent becomes stale & irrelevant in today’s world.

    After all, look at Labour-stale & irrelevant in 2015. They didn’t listen to party members or the electorate & so have only themselves to blame for this debacle we are witnessing today.

    I can understand the requirement for SNP cabinet & senior MP’s keeping quiet. It’s called ‘collective responsibility’ i.e they debate the pros & cons before a decision is taken. Once that decision is made they are all responsible for upholding that decision exactly the same as a Board or Directors of a company, charity, trust etc.

    Debate is good for us & demonstrates that all the issues have been publicly scrutinised. As I understand it this was debated in branch meetings & again on the day so that satisfies me as a member that, although it goes against my principles, the majority won the vote so I will support it.

    Democracy rules OK 🙂

  31. Peter Mechan

    I don’t agree with you on this one. We debated exactly the same subject 25 years ago and the very same arguments – espoused by (usually) strong, young, single, politically committed women was that there was no need for this and it was insulting. Well they had no need for it but they forgot that not everyone is like them. The SYSTEM itself is heavily biased against woman. This is not saying they are too weak to make it on their own but acknowledging that, until we can change the system itself – late night sittings, no crèche facilities, little allowance given to work-life balance – then we need to even up the scales some other way. That is all that is being said here. Interesting that this woman joined the SNP and has resigned 6 months later when encountering the very first defeat at conference. I do wonder how deeply felt is the commitment of many of the newbies – we may have a huge breadth of membership now but how much depth and staying power to it, especially if and when things get tough or they don’t get exactly what they want when they want it!

  32. Barbara McKenzie

    Sorry to keep this going but there is an article by Kezia Kinder on Common Space about how depressing it is that we are debating the issue.

  33. yesindyref2

    Barbara, if that article isn’t sexist, I don’t know what is:

    it was that when it comes to sexism, many men just don’t seem to get it.” and

    And that was from the moderate end of the spectrum. At the other end were those screaming that this was horrendous sexism against men; that good male MSPs would be sacked in favour of a silly little woman, and that men were being victimised.

    That sort of language does nobody any good.

  34. yesindyref2

    I guess the resolution by the SNP, known even by others as a “progressive” party, was too late for MP selection so has done no harm yet, and as long as it’s never actually used, and is cancelled in autumn, before the selection process for MSP candidates, then it will have achieved its purpose.

    Publicity, debate and thought.

  35. Brian

    I have no idea who Kezia Kinder is or why the SNP would ever want to be associated with someone who is so sexist and so misogynist as to juvenilise women.

  36. Barbara McKenzie

    Furthermore, the article assumes that it is only men who disagree with gender quotas, not supported by the debate here (another reason why the debate is threatening?).

    I found my way this via Richard Doherty’s tweet

    @TheCommonSpace @KeziaKinder I had hoped this would finally be the issue that made Yessers distance themselves from Wings en masse.

  37. Lollysmum

    @ Barbara McKenzie
    I came across that tweet also & replied to it saying that he clearly didn’t know Wings readers. We debate things.

    No reply 🙂

  38. Mike

    Clearly a valued and passionate pro-independence member of the SNP has been sadly lost.

    I suppose one can’t expect that in a political party of > 100,000 members we would all agree on every single issue. Indeed, as a member there are a number of things I disagree with and / or take a different stance in terms of their priority.

    However, I guess if that party crosses the so-called red line (which may be very different and personal to certain individuals) then it is only right to exit. It doesn’t instantly turn the SNP into a bad party but merely demonstrates that they are indeed a political party where difference of opinion will always happen.

    Good luck for the future and keep the spirit alive for independence – we need people like you 🙂

  39. Malky

    @Democrat – Sorry, D00d or D00dette, that’s simply a nonsense, IMO, I hasten to add! Be ‘ashamed’ all you like, but be ashamed at the erosion of the freedoms of our citizens in the face of London’s cynicism and the slow burn of their attempts to turn the rest of the world against this people’s movement. It was a party conference and an attempt to give our women a voice in an area where they are grossly misrepresented. No more than that. Get over it.

  40. Barbara McKenzie

    If anyone is planning to say something like ‘in your dreams’, I have already done so.

  41. Steve

    bravo Lauren. I could not agree more. I have voted SNP over 42 years, and have also spent time canvassing for the party. I am dismayed to see poor thinking taking hold in our leadership and I think we’ll regret Salmond’s resignation even more in the coming weeks. After September I can see no nothing but a betrayal of principle in supporting a Labour Party that hates us and everything we stand for. Too many of our decisions and announcements – like discriminatory shortlists – smack of opportunism and a lack of integrity. And if we think we can play hardball with the Millibands and Balls of this world we’ll be sadly mistaken. I’m not voting SNP this time.

  42. Betty Boop

    @T222Deracha, 5:22pm 31/3/15

    My apologies if you thought I was being condescending, etc.

    I simply tried to state as clearly as possible, my experience of the debate and, considering comments on this thread, questioned whether or not folks thought that conference/parliament provides an unsuitable mechanism for decision making.

    It seems some are unhappy with a majority decision at conference and whether delegates were capable of making decisions based on debate.

    Yes, it is the age of the internet, but, not all members use it.

  43. Auld Rock

    Dear Lauren,


    Like you I fervently believe that the best person should selected. But let me tell you about my own Constituency, we contacted all Members in our Branch asking if any of them would like to be considered for standing as our MP. We made a particular point of emphasising that we would like applications from women and young people. We got a very poor response from women so as I’m sure you can appreciate that if you don’t throw your hat into the ring you can never be selected.

    Now I don’t know if women only lists will work but I voted to give it a try as did so many other people. We most certainly did not vote to make you a second class Member.

    Others have said it but let me add to their plea to you. Please, please reconsider your decision because you can never achieve change by standing on the side-line shouting about it. Come back and fight your corner from the inside for there are many who will support you, including myself. As for getting a chance to speak I had numerous ‘speaker cards’ in over Saturday and Sunday and I never got called so you are not alone. It’s a wee bit like trying to be a Birds Eye Frozen Pea, “Many are picked but few are frozen”.

    If you would like to discuss further please email me at:

    But most importantly please, please reconsider your decision and come back and fight your point of view for it is a good one.


    Auld Rock

  44. Paul Maclaren

    I’m mostly saddened by Lauren Reids decision. As people have previously pointed out it’s entirely difficult to agree 100% with any one parties policies given the complex nature of the multitude of issues that are debated. My personal opinion is that Lauren has thrown in the towel too early rather than work towards highlighting this one issue that could be up for reform in the future.

    Whether this is down to personal recognition rather than a passion for a collective remains to be seen but I can’t help but think that this is something that could be worked upon internally and rationally within the party as opposed to the damaging actions that have resulted in this thread.

    I was as proud as anyone when Nicola Sturgeon announced her gender balanced cabinet, it felt like a real statement of intent in progressing equality and whilst I disagree with gender only shortlists I feel that the party is generally working towards a progressive policy that welcomes all.

    Part of me understands Laurens frustrations on this issue but another part of me feels saddened by the way she gave up so easily rather than try and highlight this issue in a more positive way and work with the SNP to perhaps rethink this policy. She clearly has passion and her efforts (highlighted in her statement) should be commended in regards her work for the Yes campaign as well as her time with SNP.

    Whether this is a self motivated move to damage the party through anger on a singular belief, or whether she has the foresight to see the wider picture in terms of the great strides the SNP have made on the Political landscape will be something she determines in her understanding of this situation in the coming days. I dearly hope she takes the time to rationalise the situation and use her energy in a positive way 🙂

  45. Jamie

    The “all female lists” will not be forced on. It only counts if a representative has to stand down before the election and even then if the branches in the area say they don’t want it to be all female lists then there will not be. That is part of it too. I did vote against it, though at first I was unsure, but the convener of the Almondvale branch had such a powerful message in her speech that I did vote against.

  46. Capella

    I am saddened by Stu’s decision to post this speech in the first place. It seems he has allowed a personal vendetta to overcome his normal integrity and objectivity which is what originally attracted me to this blog. Manipulating a naive young woman to provide the ammunition to attack Kate Higgins and her ilk is shameful.

    I’ve returned regularly to scan through the posts to see whether some counterbalance would be forthcoming. Instead, I find some of the comments here can only by coming from trolls and quite vicious ones at that. Smearing the SNP as nazis is a red line for me.

    I have no interest in reading a “bloke’s blog” which allows this to go unchecked. That is not debate. That is providing a platform for Britnat opposition as if they didn’t already have more than enough.

    Hopefully, even the Daily Record will probably hesitate to attack the SNP on the issue of gender equality.

  47. Brian

    Discrimination against women is wrong, that’s sexism.
    Discrimination against men is right, that’s equal opportunity.

    And if you don’t agree with this principle you’re a ‘Viscious Troll’, ‘Manipulative’ and supporting a ‘Britnat’ ‘Blokes Blog’.

    I think its fairly clear where the problem is here.

  48. Valerie

    Brian that is just garbage. Quotas are a tool used legally to redress the balance. The SNP are catching up on this issue now they are a larger party. It’s clear, even from this thread, a lot agree the gender balance should be redressed.

    So whether you agree with the quota approach, or not, it’s a well known and used tool everywhere.

    No one called Stuart a Brit Nat except you.

    Why don’t you just Google gender equality and learn something from the stats, or is it a figment of everyone’s mind?

    Is it wrong to use quotas to employ black policemen, in areas where the population profile suggests there is an imbalance in employment practices?

    In this thread alone, I have mentioned a posters homophobic post, or is that ok?

    Laws rarely emerge for the hell of it, they emerge because of human failures to treat people fairly.

    Only a few weeks ago, we had a good old ridicule of Murphy wanting to reintroduce drinking at football. The ban is to discourage violence, a large proportion of the violence which is aimed at women.

    Give some stats showing an area of life where women in public life are 50/50,because there are very few.

  49. Valerie

    @Capella, I have a lot of sympathy with what you say.

    I in no way attribute Lauren Reid with any nastiness this item seems to have encouraged. It was Stuart’s decision to post the item.

    I find it pretty weird that someone who does not obey the paragraph rule has their post removed, but The Rough Bounds can post homophobia, and invisible Jim has post a blog which is a lampooning of the Holocaust, with SNP cast as Nazis.

    I suppose we just have to reflect on how it impacts on our beliefs, but I have certainly seen a side I didn’t expect.

  50. InvisibleJim


    I would hope you would have the maturity to understand that State Sanctioned discrimination is whether you like it or not, discrimination; and if all I have to do is replace Men and Women with Aryan’s and Jews in an article supporting it and it reads like an exerpt of Mein Kampf then you might have a problem.

    However, you provided evidence – – that you lack the maturity to understand this since you have ignored evidence which is contradictory to your idealogical (and irrational) position.

    To date, I have spent years supporting independence and the SNP. But you won’t have me voting for a party which uses its position to ‘State Mandate’ discriminatory policies.

    Frankly the SNP looks disgusting from my seat in implementing this policy.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves and you are just as bad as articles in the English newspapers shouldn’t exercise their democratic rights.

    My support of independence and the good people of Scotland will continue, but I’m reconsidering my support of the SNP after this shambles.

  51. Valerie

    Invisiblejim you are quite right, I do have a problem with this planet’s worse moment in history, the Holocaust, and I treat the subject with respect. I don’t find anything remotely funny in that unfunny piece, nor anything clever. All SNP members are sick of hearing Nazi, so nothing original there either.

    I do hope you leave the SNP, and good luck with finding a party that suits your outlook, given you call a discussed, and democratic process followed on gender equality a shambles.

  52. InvisibleJim

    I take it EXTRAORDINARILY seriously, that’s why its important to do. I consider it so important that you I would reocmmend you should reflect on it.

    In addition I do know of one pro-discrimation party which is natural home for such a policy: the Liberal Democrat party.

    I don’t agree with the politics of the site in question; but @sarahlicity and the Liberal Democrats appear to be closer to your extraordinary position of discrimination advocate.

    But, hey; there’s a secondary bonus! Your interventions might just bring them back to their decentralist roots.

  53. Valerie

    My extraordinary position????

    Where have you been for the last 40 years that gender in quality has been on the table, globally? Or are you a juvenile?

    If you had even been paying attention to my posts, you would have seen further back, I said im not crazy about quotas, but they are proven to work, the SNP one is time limited, and it was passed democratically, so I’ll not have an almighty whinge or strop off.

    Wind your neck in, cos you are just being rude for the sake of it.

  54. InvisibleJim

    I don’t think I need to wind my neck in and I have a clear conscience.

    There’s shame in your discrimination.

  55. Capella

    @ Valerie
    A valiant attempt to to enlighten a troll. My policy is to completely ignore them as there is no point in engaging. Their object is to derail discussion into futile areas. (although I did click on the links to the “Justice for Men and Boys” and “Rights of Man” blogs just for amusement).

    This is not a trivial issue. It’s an interesting parallel to the Independence argument. Within the group which sees itself as entitled and superior there are some who can’t tolerate any encroachment on their privilege. They will use every trick in the book including ridicule, misrepresentation, lies, illogical predictions of doom, not stopping short of outright intimidation, to hang onto power. Fortunately, there are many others who are genuine democrats.

    I will certainly not “move on” as I don’t believe in that. But there are many worthwhile sites to access high quality comment and analysis.

    Hope you appreciate my paragraph breaks!

  56. Grouse Beater

    Well, now that Stuart is back, it’s good to see discussion return to its usual sweetness and light. 🙂

  57. Barbara McKenzie

    Time we ‘vicious’ ‘blokey’ ‘trolls’ moved on?

  58. Grouse Beater

    Time we ‘vicious’ ‘blokey’ ‘trolls’ moved on?

    You need to explain that remark. 🙁

  59. Barbara McKenzie

    The terms were quotes from a previous comment.

    By move on I meant that the debate has run its course, I think. There have been thoughtful comments from both sides, and better if it doesn’t degenerate into a slanging match.

    I didn’t mean that we should move on to ‘derail’ another discussion, if that’s what we ‘trolls’ do.

  60. Grouse Beater

    Barbara: “I didn’t mean that we should move on to ‘derail’ another discussion”

    A social website is fine to chat about ideas, it’s not the best place for a debate.

    Lack of precision, intrusion of one post over another, fractured development of argument, opinion instead of experience and research, misunderstandings, resentment, irrational hostility, dispute; rules of normal debate don’t apply.

    Some folk have patience, others a short fuse.

    It’s all about words. All wars began with words.

    You can feel you have had a good discussion and heard some fine argument, yet somebody will pop up to dismiss everything because they disliked the tone.

  61. Norma Ballingall

    Regarding your last reply to me at 1.03 on 31st March, I have absolutely no idea what you are now talking about! Your idea of “a difference of opinion “and “grievance” are obviously completely different from mine. If I have a difference of opinion with someone I will agree to differ and leave it at that, unless I think I can persuade them otherwise. I certainly would not be writing an article and putting in the public domain, as that, to me, is when it becomes a grievance and is there for a reason! As to why you think I should vote for Jim Murphy, you have lost me, I have no idea what you are on about! I was suggesting that advertising your “difference of opinion”(if you insist) is playing into the opposition’s hands and I cannot think why anyone would want to do that at this stage in the game! Call me naive!

  62. Bob W


    Did you miss the smiley at the end of my JM suggestion, or do you think that I did not know exactly what you meant. Did you understand the significance of the smiley?

    As to your argument regarding opinion/ grievance, you describe it on a personal level, rather than an individual disagreeing with the decision of an organisation/ political party. Two different situations. I would tend to agree with you on the former, but certainly not on the latter. It goes back to the suggestion somewhere else in the BTL comments (can’t remember by whom) that Lauren’s piece might ‘damage’ the SNP’s electoral prospects and it would be better if she had just kept quiet. Where’s the tolerance for differing views, in that argument, it smacks of ‘shut up and eat your cereal’, wonder were I last saw that espoused?

    It must be nice and simple living in a monotone world, where anyone who disagrees with you must have some form of grievance, if they actually have the audacity to place their thoughts in the public domain, rather than keep their opinion to themselves.

  63. Norma Ballingall


    “It must be nice and simple living in a monotone world, where anyone who disagrees with you must have some form of grievance, if they actually have the audacity to place their thoughts in the public domain, rather than keep their opinion to themselves”.
    Lauuren publicly resigned from the SNP because of their stance on Quotas. This was debated fully and it was the membership who voted it through, so basically she resigned because her views differed from the membership. On the subject of smileys, it is sometimes difficult to see them on a phone.

  64. Swami Backverandah

    Salmond’s got so much brain power, the extra synapses have burst through his cranium.

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