Vote for the good guy

I’ve written before that Scotland needs a majority SNP government, preferably with a large contingent of Greens, after the Holyrood elections in order to ensure that we maintain the pressure for a second independence referendum. We also need the SNP to maintain its majority in government in order to ensure that the Unionist media doesn’t have the opportunity to crow that the wheels have come off the independence bandwagon. Make no mistake, that’s precisely what they will do if the SNP return fewer MSPs this time than they did in 2011. The only story in the Unionist press will be that the election was a defeat for Scottish nationalism, not the SNP, but for the cause of independence. They’ll do that even if there’s a large contingent of Greens and RISE or Solidarity manage to achieve some successes.

But while this election may be a Scottish national election, it’s also a series of local votes for individuals. Some of those individuals are more deserving of a vote than others. It goes without saying that as a supporter of Scottish independence I’m going to vote for a representative who will campaign for that goal. But not all independence supporting politicians share the same vision of an independent Scotland as I do, and faced with a choice between two candidates both of whom support independence, I’m going to vote for the good guy.

As a rule, I try to keep my distance from politicians. I reserve the right to say rude things about any of them, and while I have a self-imposed ban on criticising any independence supporting party, that’s going to change come the glorious day that Scotland rejoins the international community of nations. So I don’t attend Holyrood, I don’t cultivate friendships with politicians, and have no intention or desire to join any political party. But there is one politician that I do know very well, and if I lived in the region where he is standing as a list MSP for the Greens, I’d vote for him, because he isn’t just one of the good guys, he’s one of the very best.

I’ve known John Wilson for a long time, and I should point out right here and now that he doesn’t know I’ve written this blog post about him, and he certainly didn’t ask me to write it. However if there’s one single politician I’d like to see returned to the Scottish parliament, to provide a strong and powerful voice for Central Scotland and north Lanarkshire in particular, it’s John. If Scotland had a parliament full of men and women like John, we’d be independent already.

Our friendship is not based in politics, I’ve been a friend of John’s wife Frances since we were both kids at school together. Frances was, and still is, like a sister to me, and during the long and painful months when my late partner Andy was dying from vascular dementia, Frances and John both went out of their way to give me the support and love that I needed to keep going. At that time John was an SNP list MSP for Central Scotland. Despite the fact he had his hands full with the referendum campaign and with party and parliamentary duties, he and Frances still made time to support me, and this was long before I started blogging. So no one can say that he was cultivating a politically useful contact. John doesn’t work like that anyway. If it wasn’t for John and Frances I’d have run into a brick wall long before Andy finally passed away, and would not have been able to fulfil the promise I made to Andy a long time ago that I’d look after him and would make sure that he didn’t have to go into a care home, a prospect that terrified him. It was thanks to Frances and John that I kept my promise to Andy, and thanks to them that I’ve been able to start the process of building a new life for myself now that he’s gone. So I owe both of them an enormous debt.

John’s commitment to a left wing, independent, socially just and peaceful Scotland is unwavering and single minded. He left the SNP after the referendum over the issue of NATO membership. He’d made the decision several months before, but chose not to speak in public as he didn’t want to damage the party or the independence campaign. He’s since joined the Greens and is now standing as a Green candidate on their Central Scotland list. Some people have said that they are unsure about the commitment of the Greens to independence, but John’s commitment to independence cannot be doubted. It’s his top political priority. John wants an independent, neutral Scotland, which disavows nuclear weapons, embraces land reform, seeks to protect the environment and which embarks upon sustainable development and reindustrialisation.

With John you get a politician whose commitment to ridding Scotland of nuclear weapons is absolute. He’s not going to equivocate. That’s why he left the SNP over the issue of NATO. Even though we’d get rid of nukes that were based on our territory with independence, as a member of NATO we’d still have to allow other NATO countries with nuclear weapons to make use of our facilities. We’d not be nuke-free, just nuke-light. I want no nukes in Scotland.

John is utterly opposed to fracking. He doesn’t want a moritorium, he doesn’t want a halt to fracking if there are substantial concerns about it. He wants it banned. Scotland doesn’t need fracking. This is a big issue in Central Scotland. Basically, regions which were former coal producers are geologically the same areas which are targetted by fracking companies as the oil and gas they seek typically lies underneath the old coal beds. But in Central Scotland this means fracking in the very same areas where the bulk of population lives. This isn’t the case in the USA or Canada where there have been serious concerns about pollution. In Scotland, fracking will risk causing severe pollution in the heart of our most densely populated regions. It’s not a risk that an energy rich country like Scotland needs to take. We need to develop our renewable energies. Scotland could lead the world in this field, but only if we have the full powers in order to do so.

I could go on, about John’s work with the low pay unit, his work developing credit unions to assist people on low incomes, his passion for improved public transport, how his expenses claims were amongst the lowest of any MSP. It’s enough to repeat what I said near the start of this blog post, John Wilson isn’t just one of the good guys, he’s one of the best. I know that having him on my side has helped me enormously, and if you are lucky enough to live in Central Scotland and you return him as an MSP on Thursday, you can have him on your side too.

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29 comments on “Vote for the good guy

  1. Connor McEwen says:

    Yill need tae mer pragmatic the selfish money grabbin Tories and mauve Tories wull say yir livin in a dream world.

  2. nostressprague says:

    I’m sure he’s one of the best Paul, but the party he chooses to represent doesn’t support independence, so until we get our freedom I’ll keep voting SNP.

    • Rob Troup says:

      If you don’t think the Greens support independence , then you really need o get out more.

      • Illy says:

        Unfortunately, the Greens are Indy-Neutral.

        Patrick Harvie doesn’t really care either way, and a lot of their list candidates are opposed.

        Admittedly, having an Indy-neutral party is weird, given that everyone who gets airtime is committed one way or the other, but they’re still mercurial allies at best for the SNP, and as the SNP are the only vehicle that looks like it’s got a chance to get us independence from westminster, I’m going to be voting SNPx2, without even looking at who the local candidates are. Because in practice and effect, we’re not voting for people, we’re voting for a party.

        • Rubbish. The Greens’ commitment to independence is in the manifesto. On page 38. “In a second referendum the Greens will campaign for independence.” No commitment to a second referendum in the next parliament, perhaps, but then neither have the SNP. Patrick Harvie was one of the most visible campaigners for Yes in the referendum and to claim he “doesn’t really care” is grossly insulting, and to claim that the Greens are “indy-neutral” is a slap in the face for all the Green Yes activists who worked their balls off in the referendum, and whose view on independence has not changed since then.

          • Del says:

            When pollsters prod the chicken gizzards, occasionally they ask the independence question and break it down by political party. e.g. the past panelbase poll:

            Look at who supports independence. The Green figures are yes:no 48%: 52%
            That’s a small number of people on the streets, rather than politicians or their paperwork. Only 15 greens in that poll, which must surely under-represent them. Nonetheless there was a straight split.

  3. davidbsb says:

    But he is second on their list. They would need to poll about 12% of the list votes to get him elected. I doubt that is going to happen in Central, or we would have detected it in canvassing. The polling is around 6% in Central apparently.

    If he was top of the Green list your endorsement would not be unwelcome. We need pro indy list members. But at this stage while you may guarantee Kirsten Robb’s election, you risk Margaret Mitchell being joined by another RDP member, at Kez’s Eeejits expense.


  4. Some people transcend
    our view of party politics and this guy sounds like one of them, not in my area but I respect your view Paul enough to look into it further.

  5. Henri says:

    It’s clear he is a great friend and definitely one of the good guys we’ll see a lot of post independence. Such people deserve praise. I’d love to see him in at the expense of the tory parties (sic) but if Davidbsb is right there is little chance of him getting in this time. Post independence I and many others currently members of the SNP will be voting Green. But sorry, not yet.

  6. Irma says:

    I’m voting SNP x 2. Any other choice is too risky, regardless of how good and deserving the Green candidate may be. If we start fragmenting, we’re screwed.

  7. Dan Huil says:

    Independence first and foremost. SNP x 2

  8. Robert Graham says:

    While i totally agree with your sentiments and comments on what is a very good friend of yours and a decent person , This election is not a done deal however the media are presenting it , they are promoting division ” it’s in the bag they say give the other guys a chance ” sorry this has been the theme for weeks now on a lot of pro indi sites I wonder why ? just a coincidence ok right .

    • weegingerdug says:

      I can’t speak for other sites. I’m just saying that John Wilson is a good guy.

      • Marconatrix says:

        And your sincerity is acknowledged and appreciated. But …

      • Black Rab says:

        I appreciate what you have written (thank you) and that John Wilson is a good man and I like what he thinks an Independent Scotland should look like. I agree with you that if only we had more John Wilsons we would be Independent already and living in a much more socially just country. I, like you, wish that more people could be more like John Wilson……………………The glorious day isn’t far away when there are John Wilson’s and Paul Kavanagh’s on the case.

  9. mealer says:

    Vote green on the list if you want,Paul.Its unlikely your pal will get in,but he might.I won’t be because it will risk the SNP majority.An outright ban on fracking would be open to a legal challenge that could open the way for fracking.Thats why the SNP haven’t banned it.

    • Marconatrix says:

      Exactly, the SNP are unfortunately sometimes a bit too subtle for their own good in the view of the average voter. A perpetual moritorium is as good as an outright ban in practice and avoids the risk of being overruled by the courts. Likewise raising the top rate of tax would apparently, if you trust the experts in such things, somehow bring in less revenue not more, but try explaining that to yer man in Sauchiehall St.

  10. Papadox says:

    SNP X 2 independence is my game 100%, then party or personality will be open to all and the yoons will have no part in it. FREEDOM.

  11. Fillofficer says:

    Loyalty is admirable, but timing is everything. SNPx2 matters more at this time, Paul. We can create our nirvana post indie but we have to get there first. Respect

  12. Alistair Grapevine says:

    Take no chances, SNP x 2

  13. Oneironaut says:

    I don’t live in Central, but if I did you’d likely have convinced me with this.

  14. Willie Homer says:

    I’ve known John and Frances for sometime but only through politics. johns advise n support over the years has been of great benefit through some bad times politically. Both will tell you I,ve been through the ringer of Lanarkshire political gaming. John even said to me that you have no friends in the game just fellow travelers for a time. We still share many opinions and I would love to see him back but for me the greens just don’t ring true on a few things,and till we get our finally end goal it’s SNP all the way fir me.

  15. pitchfork says:

    Guys John is a constituency candidate for Coatbridge and C, he isn’t just standing in the list. I’m not 100% sure which of his votes WGD is giving John, but some of the comments read like people are not aware of this

    I knew John and Francis many years back when we were students and endorse everything that WGD says. By chance I bumped into them both last weekend at a non-political event (Scottish fleadh, in coatbridge). They haven’t changed over the years.

    Now personally I will be giving both votes to the SNP for the first time ever, as a boots and braces approach:-) I’m not convinced that the seatbelt on a car is wasted if the car never crashes. But Green is also a good choice that I respect. Particularly for individuals like John.

  16. arthur thomson says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post Paul and I have the greatest respect for you and anyone you respect.

    The couple you have written about will, I’m sure, be rightly warmed by your comments. I hope and think that they will also understand and respect the views above.

  17. Dinna_fash says:

    Maybe you could ask John if the following info is correct?

  18. Dinna_fash says:

    Or this link as the previous one appears tetchy

  19. Norma Slimmon says:

    I am naturally a green person! I burn only wood to heat my home and hot water, I recycle and compost everything, grow my own, etc etc, I have always campaigned for the environment and to get rid of nukes, but looking at the bigger picture, I will be voting SNP X 2 as I think it is too risky for independence not to. When I lived in London I used to vote Green as a protest against Labour and not because I think they are able to run office. Whilst I agree that the SNP could be greener, I am actually quite happy with their performance although I am dubious about Mr Ewing..
    At the end of the day you must follow your heart. Big Love WGD

  20. Janine Wilson says:

    The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. – Orwell.

    I personally think the SNP have a dark side to them which i witnessed being a member in my local branch. I feel they need someone to hold them accountable for any action they feel they can pass, like fracking. Best party is the Greens, anyone that says they aren’t for independence is deluded. Voting green x 2 for me. Thank you Paul for your kind words.

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