SNP ‘fundies’

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Ellis Thorpe (Letters, 25 October) misses the point when he says “It is odd for Jim Fairlie to say the SNP must ditch socialism”. That is the problem with reading only selected lines from a blog, rather than the blog itself.

Much fear has been expressed since the referendum, that the SNP will come increasingly under the influence of the “fundamentalists” in the party and that the wishes of the “majority of Scots will be ignored”. Those expressing the fears and offering advice to Nicola Sturgeon on how to proceed as First Minister and leader of the SNP have little or no idea what a fundamentalist is, and tend not to support independence.

“Fundamentalist” was a term of abuse, coined by the 79 Group and aimed at traditional Nationalists who argued that the pursuit of independence was more important than the pursuit of socialism or branding the SNP with a left-wing image. They also claimed the “fundies” were interested in nothing other than independence.

As one of the original “fundamentalists”, I never knew anyone who belonged to that section of the SNP who was not interested in reversing the social problems associated with the years of economic neglect and mismanagement of successive Westminster governments. As many of us had suffered as a consequence of that mismanagement, why on earth would we not want to change it? The views of the 79 Group prevailed and under Alex Salmond’s leadership, the pursuit of independence was set aside, in favour of a strategy of making the SNP electable by overtly appealing to the working class. The reality is that neither Labour nor the SNP is a socialist party, their appeal based on class consciousness rather than political principles. After 25 years, Mr Salmond’s strategy has made the SNP electable and independence rejected by the majority of Scots.

Jim Fairlie

Heathcote Road

Crieff