Chris Hanlon, political education officer at West Fife and Coastal Villages SNP branch and candidate for election to the party's standing orders and agenda committee (SOAC), says a rethink of internal SNP structures would be a strong reflection of a party acting for the people
WE have a fantastic opportunity this week to get involved in the formation of a better nation.
Delegates to the SNP conference in Glasgow, which begins on Thursday, will be debating the most important resolution put to them for some time.
The outgoing national secretary has proposed a far-reaching consultation to review the SNP's internal and constitutional structures.
The fact is that Scotland may well be an independent country soon, and the character of that country will be largely determined by the SNP.
It is no surprise to most of the electorate that there are problems with our present model of representative democracy. Many a taxi ride and quiet drink down the pub has been dominated by our pet theories as to what the problems with the government are and how we would go about fixing them if we were in charge.
Here is a golden opportunity for the SNP to lead from the front, to show Scotland just what sort of democratic future it can look forward to. With nearly 100,000 new members, energised by the referendum campaign, there is a vast pool of talent to engage in the process of making the SNP the best examplar of a new model of democracy.
The review of the party's internal structures will lay the foundations for the organisation going forward and how effective that organisation is in the future will be constrained by the quality of those foundations.
With nearly 100,000 new members, energised by the referendum campaign, there is a vast pool of talent to engage in the process of making the SNP the best examplar of a new model of democracy.
The Scottish electorate will be watching this process carefully to see if a future independent Scotland is the sort of place where their voice will be heard and acted upon by government; a country where they can trust government to put their interests before those of the establishment and global corporations.
We have already begun to see exciting developments in the form of direct selection of topical resolutions for debate by conference delegates. However that experiment turns out, it is a signal that the SNP is looking to the future and is willing to make changes to better reflect the will of its membership.
It is now up to all of the SNP's members to get involved, make their voice heard and mold their party into the sort of democratic powerhouse that inspires Scots to believe that their future is safe in the hands of Holyrood and that Westminster can be safely discarded as the anachronism it is.
This time next week the party will have a new depute leader and national secretary. They, and all the other new national officers elected at conference, I hope, will feel a duty to press forward with this review and ensure it produces the results that it so tantalisingly offers.
Our future nation thanks them in advance for their dedication and foresight.
Picture courtesy of the SNP
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