4500 words – 30 minute read

Introduction

I never intended to write further about my resignation from the Scottish Green Party. When I resigned, I agreed with the Party not to say anything further.

However, I am now aware that there has been some significant misinformation circulated by members and officials of the Party alleging to explain why I resigned.

I have seen emails, Slack channel communications, information from protected Twitter accounts and the Party’s Q&A following my resignation They make wild allegations about my motivations and character. Some of the claims being made are now being circulated and are having a negative impact on my reputation at a time when I am seeking work. I therefore wish to set the record straight.

When I resigned, I reached an agreement with the Party that neither I nor spokespeople for the Party would say anything more (individual members of course are not so constrained). I kept my side of this agreement but others did not.

Immediately prior to my resignation, Patrick Harvie wrote to me saying that my resignation would be a “huge loss to the Party and to Parliament”. Weeks later he was on national TV denouncing me as a transphobe. I managed to prevent that interview from being broadcast but later, during the election campaign, further interviews were given in which false allegations were made about me – a potential criminal offence during an election campaign.

In publishing this blog, it is not my intention to start an argument or to provoke debate. People are perfectly free to disagree with my reasons for leaving but they are not entitled to fabricate them and disseminate lies and smears.

So this blog is for Scottish Green Party members and anyone else who wants to know more. Put simply, I resigned because I couldn’t work in the environment in which I found myself.

So what was it that led me to leave? Some background may be useful.

Background

I have always been a member of the Green movement. At University and afterwards, I was an active campaigner against the modern forestry industry and tied this to arguments for greater local and community control of natural resources. I resisted the afforestation of Caithness and Sutherland and was blacklisted from working in my chosen profession, as a consequence. I worked with Scottish civil society to expose the hypocrisy of northern governments at the Rio Earth Summit, whose records on deforestation were worse than the southern governments they were enthusiastically criticising.

I attended the Commission on Sustainable Development In New York with Bill Ritchie from the Assynt Crofters’ Trust where we briefed Governments on the UK and Scottish Office failures on sustainable development and embarrassed a senior UK civil servant in the plenary session by asking why the UK Government was supporting land reform in east Asia whilst resisting it in Scotland.

I was a co-founder of the Taiga Rescue Network comprising NGOs from across the boreal region to protect northern forests. Since the mid-1990s I have worked on a wide range of projects, initiatives and campaigns that focussed increasingly on environmental justice and land rights.

I argued in my first book, Who Owns Scotland, that Scotland needed a domestic legislature to address properly environmental and land questions that had been neglected for decades. I had productive meetings with newly elected Scottish MSPs and political parties and gave written and oral evidence to Committees.

By 2009, I decided that it was time to nail my political views to the mast and I joined the Scottish Green Party in October 2009. My second book, The Poor Had No Lawyers, increased my profile, and seven years after joining the Party I was selected as number 2 on the Lothian Regional List and was elected to the Scottish Parliament.

I have always been clear that the job of an MSP is threefold: to represent constituents on matters within the devolved competence of the Parliament, to hold the Scottish Government to account for their decisions, and to scrutinise legislation and make laws for the people of Scotland. MSPs are representatives of the people, not delegates of political parties.

During all of my working life I have sought to treat political opponents with respect, not least because a determined effort to understand an opposing point of view helps clarify one’s own viewpoint. Plus, life is more agreeable for all when we can disagree well.

Despite some heated debates at Scottish Green Party conferences and the occasional personality clash, I found the Scottish Greens to be collegiate and supportive and I made many friends. However, the mood changed for me from Autumn conference 2017.

Scottish Green Party Conference Autumn 2017

A motion was debated at the 2017 Autumn conference which was designed to deal with what the proposers argued were two “muddled, contradictory and unclear” policies on prostitution and the sex industry. The proposers of the motion highlighted the contradictions in the two policies and sought the agreement of conference for a review of them both with a view to developing a “revised and consistent policy” which was “consistent with SGP principles and policies that set to challenge patriarchy and inequality”.

The motion was moved and supported by young women and by a number of longer-standing women activists, some of whom I had known for many years before my involvement in Green politics. The debate, however, was rushed at the end of conference and the debate, such as it was, was characterised by hostile and aggressive interventions, delaying tactics and procedural technicalities. At the point of voting, I put my hand up to support the motion but was not so subtly told by a Party activist sitting behind me that I should be voting against. I continued to support the motion but it was defeated.

Afterwards, the young women who had proposed it were in tears at the hostile tone of the debate and for the first time I wondered about the culture within the Party. In the aftermath of this vote, a number of prominent female members left the Party, with one citing self-serving cliques and groupthink that were hampering open and free debate.

2018-2019

In the latter part of 2018 and into 2019, public debate emerged about reforms of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) and rapidly developed into wider debates about sex, gender, identity and public policy more generally. As part of my role as an MSP I met with a range of individuals and organisations to discuss these matters. In April 2019, I co-hosted a meeting in Parliament organised by Scottish Trans Alliance, Stonewall Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland and Amnesty International Scotland, called “Being trans in 2019”.

But I began to wonder where this debate was going following a heated exchange on STV Scotland Tonight on 23 May 2019 where Maggie Chapman, the SGP co-convenor, claimed that sex was not binary. Technically this is true (it is bimodal), but there are only two sexes.[1550 10 Aug 2021 EDIT – what I mean here is that the distribution of primary and secondary sex characterisistcs is bimodal. Sex is binary (there are only two).] If there are more (as Chapman implied) then Section 11 of the Equality Act 2010 would need to be amended. There may be many genders, of course, but I was genuinely perplexed as to why the Party’s then co-convenor thought it advisable to try and advance such an argument in relation to sex on national television.

June 2019

In June 2019, I attended a meeting at the University of Edinburgh called “Women’s Sex-Based Rights: what does (and should) the future hold?”. It was organised by the University of Edinburgh, and a number of MSPs and Scottish Green Party members were in attendance. I was unaware that there was any controversy around the event but became aware that the University Pride Network had concerns. Afterwards, as one of the speakers was leaving, she was subject to an attempted assault and the next day I Tweeted to condemn this and to express my hope that the speaker was fine.

The ensuing publicity that I had attended this meeting prompted a great deal of online comment and personal abuse. Patrick Harvie asked me to apologise for having attended the meeting, telling me that I needed to eat some humble pie. I refused to do so but did issue a statement apologising for any offence caused to Party members who thought I should not have attended.

On the other hand, many people supported my attendance, commenting that it was exactly what MSPs should be doing. These included the co-chair of the University Pride Network whose opposition to the event had been cited by my detractors. The entire Pride Committee was reported to have resigned in protest at the meeting, but in fact they resigned in response to a request from the University to remove content from an online petition that (in the University’s view) exposed the University to legal action for defamation. The co-chair is a transwoman and had herself attended the meeting. She wrote to me afterwards to say that my “support is most appreciated” and that “your presence at the meeting made sense to me”. The organiser of the meeting herself was a member of the UoE Pride Network. She had endured a hellish few weeks with personal threats, smears and defamatory allegations made against her.

Very soon afterwards, some Party members submitted complaints through the internal Party system. I tried to respond to them as best I could, but was never informed as to what exactly the complaints were and what it was I was alleged to have done beyond some generic references to the Code of Conduct and to a transpositivity statement (of which more later). In the wake of my resignation, one of the complainers, Eilidh Martin, complained that swifter action had not been taken against me.

I was shaken by these events and disappointed at the smears and allegations levelled against me, mostly in private, but some in public, by Party members. I began to wonder whether I could continue to be a member.

This event was swiftly followed by a Parliamentary motion in the name of Jenny Marra MSP lodged 2 days later which stated:-

“That the Parliament notes that a well-attended discussion on women’s sex-based rights, with a range of invited speakers, took place at the University of Edinburgh on 5 June 2019; believes that universities should be safe places for complex and sometimes controversial discussions to take place; and strongly believes that there is no place for violence or threats of violence towards women engaging in public life in Scotland.”

Patrick Harvie asked Green MSPs not to sign the motion and a bad-tempered meeting of Green MSPs attempted to discuss the matter. I signed this motion as I support free speech, the right of Universities to hold meetings to discuss complex and controversial matters, and obviously believe that there is no place for threats of violence against women.

Further complaints inevitably followed.

Scottish Green Party Autumn Conference 2019

The Party’s Autumn conference was held in Inverness in October 2019. The results of selections for the Holyrood election were made public and I was pleased to be selected again as number 2 on the Lothian List with 133 first votes, second to Alison Johnstone with 191 and with the Party’s co-leader, Lorna Slater in 3rd place with 36. (Lorna was then to take my place after I resigned.)

One of the motions brought to conference was titled “Inclusive debate within the Scottish Green Party”. The motion noted the “increasingly toxic, aggressive and intimidatory nature of political debate in society and the departure of a number of longstanding women activists”. It stated that “it is a matter of concern that some members have reported feeling inhibited from expressing their views publicly at some recent SGP conferences and events” and that the “General Meeting also notes with concern the number of committed feminist activists who have left the Party in recent years.” The motion went on to recommend the establishment of a working group on ensuring open, inclusive and egalitarian practices. When the motion was called, no one came forward to propose and speak to it. It therefore fell without being debated.

The reaction of many of the delegates was to whoop and cheer. I was sitting near the front and turned round with a quizzical expression on my face to try and understand why. A number of those who had been and would become my detractors noted that I was not joining in the celebration and later I overheard someone asking what the motion was all about. The response to this person was to label the women referred to in the motion as transphobes, even though as far as I was aware these women were those who had resigned in the wake of the vote on the sex industry and prostitution debate (nothing to do with trans rights or the trans debate).

Earlier that same day, the Party had just adopted a new Code of Conduct which committed members to be inclusive, considerate, respectful, understand that diversity gives us strength, forgive mistakes, maintain political discipline and help each other be better.

I now realised that elements of the culture within the Party were in direct violation of these values.

January 2020

Given my experience of attending a meeting in June 2019, one might expect that any Green MSP attending any such meeting again would be subject to a similar reaction from Party members.

On 14 January 2020, Patrick Harvie attended a meeting in the Scottish Parliament at which the Declaration of Women’s sex-based rights was launched. The meeting was criticised in advance by the Equality Network as being “anti-trans”.

In a conversation with a senior Party member, I asked why Patrick had attended given the criticism levelled at me and why no apology had been forthcoming, I was told that Patrick was clearly not anti-trans. When I said that neither was I and that the criticism was that I had attended such a meeting not that I was anti-trans, I was told that this was different. When I asked what was different, I was told that this was a meeting in Parliament and not a public meeting. When I asked what difference that would make to Party members who were so critical of my attendance at such a meeting, I was told that Patrick was doing his job. When I said that I was doing my job too, the conversation stopped.

By this time, it was clear me that the public debate was now embracing more than the proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). The meanings of the words “sex” and “gender”, the  theory of gender identity (as opposed to gender dysphoria) and public policy around these were increasingly at the forefront of the GRA debate. Language and the meaning of words were at the heart of the debate.

I support reform of the GRA to become more person-centred but do not believe that it is necessary to change long-established concepts or scientific fact or meanings of words to achieve this. Far less do I believe that is necessary or relevant to have to embrace queer theory in order to support the advancement of trans rights.

Then the pandemic happened.

The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill

One of the problems with bringing to justice those responsible for sexual assault is that victims are reluctant to complain in time for forensic evidence to be gathered. Even when forensic evidence had been gathered in a health setting, there were problems with admissibility in court. The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill sought to put the good practice that had been established between Police Scotland and NHS Scotland on a statutory footing and place a duty on health boards to provide forensic medical services and to enable such evidence to be held until such time as a complaint might be made to the police and criminal investigations commenced.

Of necessity, the Bill amended parts of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014. Section 8 of that Act implemented EU Directive 2012/29 of 25 October 2012, which established minimum standards on the rights, support for, and protections of, victims of crime, and gave a statutory right to victims of sexual violence to specify the sex of the interviewer. The 2014 Act went further than this in Section 9, which gave the right to request that any forensic examination be conducted by a person of the same sex as the victim. Section 8 of the 2014 Act implements this Directive in Scots law but uses the term gender instead of sex (as does Section 9).

In its Stage 1 report on the 2020 Bill, the Health and Sport Committee recommended that the words “gender” and “sex” have different meanings and that the 2014 Act should be amended to replace the word “gender” with “sex”.

In the Stage 3 debate on the Bill, Johann Lamont MSP proposed an amendment that would do just that.

This was to prove controversial.

In law, the use of the words “gender” or “sex” in the context of Sections 8 & 9 of the 2014 Act makes little difference, as the intention of the legislation is clear from the context and from the EU directive.

However, the word “gender” is now being used in a much greater variety of ways and has a number of meanings. Whilst changing the words used in Section 9 may not have many practical consequences, it seemed to me that this was, on balance, a justifiable amendment given the language in the EU Directive and the recommendation of the Committee.

Furthermore, I was in receipt of significant correspondence from constituents who had been victims of sexual violence asking me to support the amendment. I initially responded saying that I was not convinced that changing the language would be meaningful. However, in the 48 hours leading up to the vote I had undertaken further research and now felt that on balance there was a good case for supporting it and advised the Group that I was minded to support it and that legislation dealing with matters of the utmost sensitivity relating to (mainly) female victims of sexual assault would not be conflated with other debates about trans rights.

The replies I received were interesting. Voting yes to the amendment would be “best described as biological essentialist” and that this was in “direct opposition to gender recognition and therefore incompatible with trans people’s human rights”. This is of course nonsense. Sex is the protected characteristic that categorises women and men. Using accurate language has nothing to do with trans people’s human rights.

SGP MSP Meeting

An urgent meeting was called for, on Thursday. This was online, and was attended by all SGP MSPs except Alison Johnstone who was on long-term leave for health reasons. She was the Party’s spokesperson on health, and the Party’s member of the Health and Sport Committee. Apart from one MSP who was initially relaxed about my voting yes, the 3 others were implacably opposed. They advised me in very stark terms that voting yes to the amendment would lead to complaints from within the Party and action against me, up to and including deselection and suspension.

One SGP MSP colleague advised me that it would be in direct contravention of a transpositivity motion passed at the AGM of the Spring 2018 conference and it was trans-exclusive to vote yes to the amendment. They told me that “the Party will absolutely take action against anyone who votes for the amendment” because the Party takes an unequivocal stance on trans rights as voted by conference. It’s perhaps worth saying something about this trasnspositivity motion.

The transpositivity motion was debated at the AGM of the Party in Spring 2018. It was passed under AOB at an AGM attended by “in excess of 90 members” according to the Minutes. It was later to be cited as evidence that I was minded to vote against Party policy. But AGM motions are not Party policy. Party policy is made on the conference floor and documented in the Policy Reference Document. The motion was only presented to members attending the AGM early on a Sunday morning. There was no advance notice in order to allow amendments to be proposed and the motion itself says nothing about when it is appropriate to use the word “sex” and the word “gender”. If using the word “sex” in legislation is to be deemed trans-exclusive then the word needs to be excised from all legislation including the Equality Act (a move I would not support).

It was later argued by some of my critics within the Party that the transpositivity motion was part of the code of conduct, but a new code of conduct passed in Autumn 2019 did not incorporate the 2018 motion. Indeed, at the time of my resignation many members made clear that they had never heard of it and it transpired that the Party had never published it.

The tone and content of this Group meeting left me deeply distressed. The clear view of the majority of the group was that dire consequences would follow if I voted yes.

I discussed the matter further during the afternoon and decided that I would in the end vote against Johann Lamont’s motion, as I was clear from the SGP MSPs’ Group meeting that were I to vote for it, then I would have to resign immediately, and I was unclear at that stage of the consequences for myself and particularly for my staff.

On reflection that evening I decided to resign from the Party for the simple reason that I could not work in an environment with such a censorious, bullying and intimidatory culture and where I was expected to agree that scientific facts such as sex are to be sidelined. This position has never been debated and agreed by Conference but appears to be an implicit consequence of the Party’s stance on trans rights.

Aftermath

I resigned the following Friday (resignation letter here). Party members whom I had regarded as good colleagues immediately denounced me as a transphobe, accusing me of wanting to participate in a moral panic about transpeople. One Edinburgh Councillor thanked me for all that I had done but, on learning of the circumstances of my resignation, recalled the message and said I was disgusting.

The Party immediately embarked upon a damage limitation exercise. A Q&A document purporting to set out why I had resigned was distributed to members and discussions took place on online platforms, most of which I believe I have now seen and have copies of.

A number of Party members, including office-bearers, were suspended for expressing views in support of me. A proposal was made to Party Council for an independent investigation into my resignation but was defeated 33-4. Senior Party officials told members that I had deliberately set out to cause as much damage to SGP as I could when in fact precisely the opposite was the case.

Three accusations have been frequently levelled against me by the leadership and other senior officials.

The first is that I had taken the view that the vote on the amendment was a vote of conscience. I never took this view and never argued that it was. The vote was on which word to use in a section of a Bill. Asserting that I might have thought this was a vote of conscience is untrue.

The second is that I was uncomfortable with Party policy and that steps had been taken to ensure I was comfortable explaining and defending the Party’s policy on transgender rights. I was never uncomfortable with Party policy and it is patronising to tell members that many in the Party had reached out to me and that I had not engaged. In fact, I would contend that I was unusually well informed about trans rights, being a legislator who aimed always to research diligently both proposed legislation and its context, and having engaged with a wide variety of constituents on this matter. The problem all along was a cultural one and an expectation by key influencers in the Scottish Green Party that being supportive of GRA reform was not sufficient evidence of one’s support of trans rights – one also had to subscribe to tenets of queer theory which were and are not Party policy.

The third was the accusation expressed frequently by Patrick Harvie in media interviews that I was opposed to Party policy and had never taken any opportunity to bring forward amendments or debates at Party conference. This was a key argument at Party Council on 6 May 2021 against any independent investigation. To re-iterate, the Scottish Green Party does not have any policy on the use of the words “sex” and “gender” in legislation. Plenty of members have views and express them vigorously and I have never taken issue with their right to do so. But the idea that voting for the amendment was in violation of the transpositivity motion or Party policy is based on a particular interpretation and a set of implicit ideas that have never been set out nor debated nor become Party policy.

The Q&A for Party members and other public statements are insistent that my fault was to have wanted to vote against Party policy on trans rights. This has never been the case. What has been the case is that the Green Group of MSPs insisted that this vote on an amendment to a Bill concerning victims of sexual assault should be viewed through the lens of trans rights and queer theory, and that there was a hostile and bullying culture within the Party.

I have never understood why one has to subscribe to queer theory and gender identity theory in order to improve the lives of trans people. But that’s the bar that has been set in the SGP.

To conclude, I resigned because I could no longer work in such an environment. That others can and do is fine and I am not seeking a debate as to whether I was right or wrong. But for me, I need an environment that is more tolerant, more questioning, more critical, more empathetic, and more willing to listen.

This blog is far longer than I intended it to be but I am not prepared to let misrepresentation and falsehoods gather any more credibility.

I have an audio recording of the SGP MSP meeting of 10 December 2020 and will not hesitate to publicise a transcript if the Party and its office-bearers persist in spreading lies and misinformation about me, my views and my motives.

Only one person knows why I resigned and that is me.

This blog attempts to explain why.

86 Comments

  1. George Carnochan

    You’re an incredible loss to the party Andy and have only been a force for good in Scottish politics.

    While supporting trans rights, I-like you-cannot support a situation where people cannot question, challenge or express their own views or beliefs.

    To see conscientious, capable and committed politicians see easily and quickly vilified and expelled from public life sets an uncomfortable stage where campaigners ostensibly seeking equality are themselves bullying, victimising and ultimately behaving with extreme prejudice towards anyone not wholly and uncritically subscribing to a very black and white, puritanical orthodoxy when unfortunately, this doesn’t accommodate the reality of the world.

    Courage and best wishes to you, you are very much missed.

    Reply

  2. Just A. Punter

    As someone who disagreed with you on the #NamedPerson legislation, I never lost respect for you and in fact, voted for you.

    Thank you for this explanation. It has opened up my eyes.

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  3. I believe you are a person of honour and courage … well done

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It is informative, not surprising but informative. Your work is important to all of us in Scotland and your views on environmental challenges and the forthcoming COP are particularly needed. I do hope you consider publishing via sub stack and subscriptions regular commentary on the issues of the day.

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  5. Chris Ferguson

    Andy,
    I am fully supportive of your stance. The Green party is not the nice cosy party they present themselves as, but are quite dictitorial and brook no other than party line. They are lacking in the means of proper debate.

    I too had my problems with them and left. It was for different reasons. I recieved some secterian abuse from one of the other party members. When I complained, those complained to tried to explain away his actions. Secterianism is Secterianism, it can not be explained away but must be dealt with. They tried to sweep it under the carpet. But I saw that the majority of party members knew absolutely nothing about secterianism in Scotland. If you are not aware of it – how can you say you understand Scottish politics? The Green party needs to infrom party members about it, the damage it causes and how central it is to Scottish politics and understanding it and a major section of Scottish life. But the party does not want to address it.

    Yes Green issues are vitally important, but they do not exist in a vacuum. You need to see them in the environment you are trying to change.

    So through this abuse, it not being dealt with, the incident being swept under the carpet and the party unwilling, or not seeing as important, the issue of secterianism in Scotland, which has and does cause much division and grief, then they are deluding themselves

    So I too left

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  6. Very clear statement. Thank you.

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  7. I am not and never have been a member of the Scottish Green Party but having bought and read your book “The Poor Had No Lawyers”, I’ve had an interest in your work as an MSP. I’m pleased to see from this blog that you are still the honest Andy Wightman I always believed you to be. All best wishes for your future.

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  8. Jeannie Mackenzie

    As a former member of the SGP who was hounded out of party shortly before you on similar grounds, I stand with you and am appalled at the treatment you have received. You are right to publish the full details. I am particularly concerned at the action of party officials against you during an election.

    My trouble started when I raised with Lorna Slater my concerns about an inaccurate statement she had made in Twitter about JK Rowling. I was invited to a zoom meeting with Lorna Slater and the then Co-Convenor of the Rainbow Greens, Emma Cuthbertson. I though we had reached a level of understanding, but at the close of the meeting, Lorna Slater told me to ‘find myself another party’. I was shocked at the tone, but did not follow up as I felt so intimidated.

    A few days later, I was sent an email saying a case had been raised that I had broken the code of conduct. I asked for evidence and was sent screen shots of some tweets and retweets. There was nothing in them that could be considered to have broken the code of conduct, in fact one of them was supporting some action by the Scottish CND, and had nothing to do with trans issues. I was told that the people investigating the complaint did not think these tweets broke the code of conduct, but other members of the party could be upset and offended by them, as they believed they were transphobic. I was told that there would be no further action taken if I removed the tweets. I relied that even tho they clearly not offensive nor did they break the code of conduct, I would remove them, which I did immediately. I asked for a statement in writing that the slur that I’d been transphobic be removed. After three weeks, as no statement was forthcoming, I resigned from the party. I was told I should have waited, but by then the false accusations and the bullying were having an affect on my health. It was particularly devastating as I am a trans ally and have been very supportive of trans issues. I have a trans grandchild that I have always loved and supported on their journey. Like you, I believe that one can work to improve the lives of trans people without subscribing to gender identity theory or queer theory.

    I am a long term admirer of your ethical stance. I wish you well and do hope that you will be able to continue your important work.

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  9. As someone who also resigned, I understand. As someone who knows your important work, I support you.

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  10. Deborah Ritchie

    Absolutely agree with your views. As one of the women who resigned over the party’s refusal to review its policy on prostitution I am grateful for your validation. I found it shocking to be subjected to the appalling hostility during that party conference. A party unwilling to debate issues with respect and consideration is obsolete in a global world that needs sophisticated debate of many complex issues. In short we need leaders and critical thinkers like yourself.

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  11. Very well put Andy although I feel the hate and smear campaign against you will escalate, actually just so you can be really despised why not join ALBA as any level-headed and intelligent person that does is turned upon with equal vitriol and ferocity…
    Seriously I consider it, as you would be welcomed with liked minded people that share the same sense of social justice and well being fighting for all the people of Scotland and our lands…

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  12. Finally, we have moral code over politicising and skullduggery. Reading your blog clearly demonstrates your understanding of the sex and gender theory, it’s articulate and your stance argued impressively. I’m sorry you were left with no choice but to resign from a job you clearly have a supreme talent for. I’m under no illusions that you will find a measured position to continue to add value to Scotland’s way of life.

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  13. A worried scottish woman

    Poor you so many smart Scottish politicians being sacrificed so men can erase women.

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  14. Dear Andy,

    Until I read this, I had never heard of you or the work you have done in government.

    I am a welfare officer in a sports club, an employer, ex school governor, father of two girls and brother to a trans sister. It is because of all these responsibilities and the complexity of the debate over sexual identity and how this is perceived in law and society, that I took the time to read your blog.

    It is clear to me that you have done what any reasonable person would have done to ensure that you are well informed and objective. It is a shame that some of your colleagues seem more engaged with virtue signalling and the opinions of others than forming their own informed opinions to be able to contribute to an open public debate.

    I am sure that you still have much to offer in public life so please do not give up. There is a shortage of decent, courageous people willing to serve the electorate and their communities with honesty and integrity.

    Zealotry, intolerance and cancel culture will continue to proliferate if good people stand by and do nothing.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do next,

    Jon

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  15. Andy, my heart goes out to you. Personally, I’d no idea that the Greens were so involved in other matters. I’d have thought they had enough on their plate decarbonising the industrial, transport, domestic and agricultural sectors of Scotland. Beloved Leaders never take kindly to intelligent and good people who want free debates and discussions and constructive working environments. Identity politics helps to divide and destroy humanity but it ramps up idiocy and hysteria. Thank you for setting it all out in such detail. I hope things pick up for you again. Will you write a book?

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    • Word error by me above: Identy politics helps to divide and destroy humanity AND (not but) it ramps up idiocy and hysteria.
      Andy, you got caught up in this identity politics. Many so-called leftists have taken up identity politics while they abandon – as do the Greens with their anti-economic growth ideology – the working classes. Nobody can do well till our land is used productively and people are busy producing useful and lovely things and selling these to eachother and the rest of the world. People in politics like Patrick H. are in jobs funded by us tax payers and given the current state of things, we should criticize more. If we let such people define our policies, outcomes will not be good. Mind you, it’s not just people in Scotland. Identy politics is huge in many other areas of the UK, in the US, Europe and the world, Very well done for following it through to its conclusion. To dominate the current cancel and extremely judgmental culture, one would have to be infinitely strong with huge patience, resources, courage and oratory skills!

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    • (GP members in all countries are constantly having discussions about all sorts of subjects, since many are seen as connected: eg education, a particular area of concern in the early 2000s. But I’m afraid you will hear only about those things that the media themselves are interested in discussing; that is a hazard of politics… By coming to Conference however, one can become aware of the diversity.)

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  16. Thank you for that and for standing in the election.

    We were relieved to have the opportunity to vote for you even though we did not think there was any chance that you might be elected. There is evidence that people in Argyll and Bute don’t vote for any party: They vote against Con; Con+Lab; Lab or SNP. This used to deliver enviable majorities for LibDems in both parliaments even though they had few positive supporters.

    There were a lot of candidates we did not vote for.

    There are several terms in your text of which I do not know the meaning, if there is one. By the time you are my age you will be one of the few people around who can explain to the young what they mean. I am reminded of the comment made in the 1960’s by a Danish man.

    I had asked him his view on UK news reports of changing social customs about sexual practices and public nudity.

    He said: “It’s in the newspaper, not in the family”
    He said

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  17. UILLEAM ALASDAIR FRASER

    Hi Andy

    It sounds like the SGP is like all other parties where a clique tries to control the rest. I came across this while a member of the SG PCS Group Executive Committee in recent years.

    Why you resigned is your own business and unfortunately in these days of many media outlets there will always be people you thought of as friends/colleagues etc willing to do you down for their own interests and good.

    It takes a strong person to stand up for what you believe despite the bad mouthing against you.

    regards

    Uilleam

    Reply

  18. I do not support the Green Party as they are Pro Indy Ref 2 . And personally I think after reading your summary , I think your well out of it P Harvey is not someone that I could spend 2 min talking to and that goes for his second in command . I think you have been badly treated and have did the right thing in leaving a Toxic Party ,

    Reply

  19. MR STEPHEN LAING

    Dear Andy.
    Why are the Greens wasting time on issues like transphobia when many, if not all, thought that they were there to represent people who are more interested in actual Green issues, like forestation, land abuse, and land theft. The SNP got into power in a big way on the back of Land Reform and 15 years onwards, where are we now? My guess is nowhere.
    Kind regards

    Stephen Laing
    p.s. Why is Scottish Water in charge of who and what has access to the north side road of Loch Katrin? It should be open to the public, and secondly, why are the roads so very bad in the Trossachs National park?

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  20. Respect to you Andy

    Reply

  21. Andy, I am not a Green supporter – as things stand- but I admire the way in which you have conducted yourself on this matter and others. I’m afraid I find the whole debate around trans baffling. I fully accept that all people have rights to which they are entitled, but feel that many of the more strident proponents are completely out of order when it comes to attacking other peoples’ stance. I also don’t like the way in which political parties have been infiltrated to promote a trans agenda. While this is an important issue to resolve, it is also one which I don’t believe that the general voting public comprehend, particularly the older generations, and I am concerned that infighting in the independence movement over this issue could delay or derail progress on the most important current issue – a self governing Scottish state.
    After all, the trans movement would be denied the leverage by the Tories in a UK context to flourish. Better to fight for independence and then discuss respectfully and openly.

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  22. I’m one of the people expelled from the party for supporting you after your resignation in addition to emphasising debate around women’s rights.

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  23. I’m glad you did this blog. The clique at the top of the party are hurting the party.

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  24. Isobel Delussey

    You deserve a badge of courage for standing up to coercion. It terrifies me that small groups in huddles make policies behind a front which never explains them clearly to the populace. People have no idea what is happening and would leave in droves if they knew the real agendas. If they were honest and truly believed what they would vote into law, they should print their leaflets clearly stating Queer Theory is/ will be a major Green Policy and would be included in their manifesto. We need people of your calibre fighting for Scotland’s future. I too left a Party in which I had invested years and hopes. I have now accepted that dreams of independence have foundered on the rocks of misguided/manipulated policies which have nothing to do with managing out own country and I have reconciled myself to starting from scratch again with ALBA. I implore you to do the same and invite you to restart the build for justice and self determination.

    Reply

  25. Bravo Andy – it’s sad that it takes a lot of courage to speak out in support of biological reality these days. So sad that you felt obliged to resign and are no longer in Parliament to advise on land reform. I hope Holyrood finds a way of consulting you on these matters. We need people of integrity as legislators.

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  26. This is all as I suspected.
    I know in my gut, and from meeting you, reading your work and listening to you speak that you are a decent, tolerant, honest and extremely diligent worker who operates with the highest level of integrity. You have, I would say, higher integrity, authenticity and coherence, than anyone else I have ever encountered in public life.

    Sadly, because I support Green approaches to how we organise society, I foresee the SGP becoming an irrelevant, inward-looking dead end if their intolerance of diversion from narrow doctrine persists.

    I can not continue to fund an organisation which treats people so badly for using their own intelligence and agency. I will be withdrawing my support of SGP forthwith.

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  27. Elizabeth Marriott

    Mr. Wightman –
    I admire, as ever, your way of getting to the heart of a matter and presenting it to others. This is another such case and I applaud you for taking a clear stance and letting others work out why your example has so disturbed them. I do hope this will not lead to you leaving Scotland’s public life: your clear mind is very needed on many fronts.
    Kind best wishes,
    Elizabeth Marriott

    Reply

  28. Thank you for this detail. I don’t follow the detail of Scottish Politics, but I did the TV broadcast of the Salmon/Sturgeon issue. Your contribution was appreciated. I am also aware of the work you did to be re-elected. Sadly, it seems unless you are in a Party, the chances are slim. I did tell some friends in the Highlands to vote for you. I don’t think they did..
    Parliament is only as good as its members and ours is diminished by your absence. I might not agree with all your views on land ownership, but I know your arguments will be well thought out and to be respected. Keep trying.

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  29. Thanks for the explanation, as a non UK citizen I realised at one point that you had left but no clue as to the reasons ‘why’. As I do now I can understand your position much better than that of the SGP.

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  30. Rosemary Smith

    I am so glad that there was someone in Holyrood who is a principled individual because honest people in politics are very few. You can look the world straight in the eye. We need people of your character who understand what’s happening. Please keep talking.

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  31. Your resignation from the Scottish Green Party is a great loss to the party, but it is entirely understandable that you had to make that decision. You absence from the Scottish Parliament is a greater loss. Best wishes for the future.

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  32. I feel so sad for the way you were absolutely unfairly treated. What a shower of reprobates. I thought the Scottish Green Party were genuine and caring. How wrong was I. I could never consider getting involved with such a party. Good luck to you in the future.

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  33. A decent man of principle lost to Scottish public life because of empty woke agendas.
    Holyrood is a disastrous cesspit of tiny self important minds

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  34. Norman Michael Todd

    Sorry you had to resign. You have been a big loss to Scottish politics and I had hoped you would have been returned in the Highlands, however we got 4 Tories and a completely useless SNP list MSP instead.

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  35. Hi Andy, you are exactly the right person to be at the forefront of Scottish politics. I was so over joyed when you were first given the job of msp. I wish you all the best for the future and hope you continue in the same open minded, critical and active debate you have done up until now. You have achieved so much with Scottish land reform. I am looking forward to seeing what you will achieve for Scottish people in the future. We need you, you are one of a kind deirdre

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  36. The hope is that your resignation has not been in vein. The whole of society needs a full and proper debate about all these issues. If it’s done in an air of aggression, intimidation and oppression, society and our beloved Scottish Greens Party will never move forward. Losing someone as knowledgeable, articulate and talented as your good self, Andy, is a major blow. Lessons must be learned.

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  37. I hope you go onto bigger and better things, you have survived many challenges and I look forward to your next chapter.

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  38. Thank you Andy ❤ I could not work in such an environment either. I wish that Green Party’s around the World would get back to being solely focused on the protection of the natural wilderness, waterways, plants and creatures, rather than staunchly and blindly promoting gender ideology which infringes on the rights of other vulnerable groups of people in society.

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  39. What a loss
    SGP are now doomed lost my vote
    Good luck in all u do

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  40. John Armstrong

    I always wondered why, but this clears it up for me.

    all the best for the future
    john

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  41. A hardworking, honest researcher, with only the common weal at heart rapidly defeated by newcomers to the game enticed by huge incomes guaranteed indefinitely if they follow the party line
    which is,, we are second only to God??? We can do what we like ,so this session we are into really powerful stuff we can control/ instigate sex changes, at our leaders request ,, forget human biology , ethics ,physics, common decency, , and moral integrity we are aiming at the school kids letting them try different male and female orientation each term,
    Our aim is complete control eventually and this is a good start to that ,
    This is written by an aged crone ,,,obvously,,,, who was brought up on tales of witches and warlocks , with strange powers, ,0nly met at Hallow,een but now in this enlightened age they sit in paliament ,and use our taxes to, enrich the law lords , and legislate as they think fit, .
    God is not mocked, their day is fast approaching, just hang on all people of the common weal.
    Lisette

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  42. As one of the women who took the motion to have a debate about the muddled SGP policy on prostitution to the 2017 conference, I am pleased that you have included what happened in your blog. As you know I left SGP after that conference and made my reasons known to SGP MSP’s and other key people in the Party. At that time and subsequently I was also becoming concerned about language being used around sex and gender. The term ‘non men’ was being used and by some of the same people who manipulated the vote against our motion to debate prostitution policy at the 2017 conference. What I have witnessed since then is increasing anti democratic authoritarian behaviour from SGP.

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  43. I never believed you were transphobic – Joanne Lamonts proposal seemed perfectly reasonable to me & from a sports point of view there has to be male or female categories – there is no better example of this than the olympics just now. I do believe that trans athletes should be able to take part in sport, but they need to be rewarded in a separate category otherwise you completely decimate women’s sport.

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  44. david mitchell

    Oh what a tangled web ……… Well said Andy . Hold your head high . You are a man of principle . I particularly admire your stance on driven grouse shooting .
    Mr Carbo .

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  45. MarieClaire McGuinness

    Thank you Andy , the Scottish government has lost an intelligent progressive voice , we are to be left with this bullying regressive government, a very sad state for the people of Scotland that actually care for balanced policies and debate which should be open and inclusive .
    The clarification on your resignation is Crystal which leaves the Scottish people with a very toxic mob in charge . As for actual green policies Patrick Harvie is our constitutional MSP and Gad fine diddy squat on any green issues Martin Bartos has done more as a councillor but he also left the Green Party . Politics is nasty and decisive in this alleged progressive Scotland it all has to change

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  46. this explanation by Wightman of his treatment by some Scottish Greens ( misrepresentation, threats, bullying) has parallels with the persecution of Andrea Carey in GPEW by Trans Rights Activists (TRAs). She, similarly, felt she had no alternative to resigning her elected position and her membership in summer 2021.

    In both cases, irrational attacks by TRAs have been made on hardworking, able and valued members for alleged but unsubstantiated transphobia. These attacks resemble the heresy accusations, n’trials’ and punishments conducted by both Protestants and Catholics in earlier times against each other’s supposed adherents. Such attacks threaten to weaken the SGP and GPEW from within at a time when Green policies are most urgent.

    Wightman is correct in insisting that in legislation there should be no careless or unjustified replacement of ‘sex’ with ‘gender’. This is clearly not to reject the term ‘gender’ nor to be hostile to Trans rights, but simply to ensure the word is used appropriately to reflect a socially-created, rather than a biological, category.

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  47. Thanks, Andy.

    It’s not easy being reasoned and reasonable these days in certain areas, as I’ve found out, and have left a group I was a member of because of it. It seemed to me that intolerance was masquerading as righteous indignation, with no room or inclination to entertain alternative views. Indeed I could have made a grand bonfire of the straw men that were substituted for on-point discussion. It was often the case that attacking/defending the argument was utterly subsumed in favour of attacking the person who was expressing an opposite opinion and assassinating their character.

    So, thanks for trying to navigate your way to through difficult issues and for sticking to your principles.

    Jean

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  48. Stephen Webster

    What is the position of the Greens on decriminalisation of sex work, and what is yours ?

    I entirely support the position you have taken here. The Scottish Greens are being led on a road to nowhere by the ambition of its co-leaders, and appear to be about to enter an alliance with the SNP at a terrible time for such a move so Patrick & Lorna can take on the trappings of minor ministerial rôles, complete with chauffeur driven electric cars, hosting luncheons serving organic concentration camp salmon & prime New Zealand venison.

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  49. I feel that you speak for a large number of people in Scottish society who are happy to improve the lives of trans people but are intimidated in real life by the aggressive stance taken by many in public life.

    It seems also that a disproportionate amount of time and resources are spent on this in Scottish political life, with a divisive effect on the nation as a whole, and to the detriment of other parliamentary work.

    Good luck!

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  50. Thanks for sharing Andy … clearly wasn’t a good environment to work in.
    I hope your work on land reform will benefit from the time released from MSP duties, though it would have been good to have you in parliament to do the work there.
    BRs
    Ian W

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  51. winifred McEwen

    I am full of admiration for the work you do and the stand you have taken over this and many others. You are a loss to our Parliament though I know your work will continue. How spineles of Patrick Harvie and others and the Greens to take the position they did – I think the other environmental issues which concern us should be at the forefront of their endeavours.
    Good luck and best wishes, Winifred

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  52. Thanks for this Andy. Although an SNP member I have voted SGP tactically in the past – not any more.

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  53. Quite the story, Andy.

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  54. Imogen Makepeace

    Andy, thank you for your principled stand and for shining more light on this state of affairs in the Scottish Green Party.
    It is a warning to us in the GPEW which we are not ignoring.

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  55. I’m not Scottish but this blog is a sad commentary on what some powerful people think is more important than anything else – their wallets. Same here in England. We need to be concentrating on re-afforestation, organic farming and rewilding, fair sharing of the resources we have, and climate change. Not imposing queer theory and removing the rights of women to pander to 0.1 percent of the population.

    Bravo. This has been a revelation. Thank you.

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  56. Janet Williams

    Scots Green Party is as toxic as England and Wales Green Party. Little people with little minds going power mad. Little Napoleons.

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    • Janet. As a former SGP member and activist I can only say you have no idea just how right you are.
      A bunch of narrow minded, blinkered and utterly out of touch bunch of people.
      The Teapot Party as some of my friends call it.

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  57. It’s important to take note that the same people parrot “sex work is work”, and “transwomen are women”: these are examples of “thought-terminating clichés”, which attempt to prevent any further analysis.
    As Sheila Jeffreys points out, it’s a movement for men’s sexual “rights”.

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  58. Thank you for setting out so clearly the reason why I, who although not a member had looked to the SGP TO represent in Parliament and in public the issues that concern me, will never again vote for the Scottish Green Party. I have great respect for your integrity and look forward to your having a positive voice in and influence on Scottish public policy in whatever form you choose.

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  59. My support of green causes has been life-long, but I find the Scottish Greens to be a complete waste of space. Personal ambition (and perhaps more, if certain rumours are correct) seems to take precedence over holding the Scottish Government’s feet to the fire over green issues. Instead, the Scottish Greens sit back and do nothing except undermine each other and support greenwash. What are the Scottish Greens *for*?

    Reply

    • Spot on. They have not a clue when it comes to nature, biodiversity, ecology or the environment.
      Busy navel gazing and shutting out debate by people like Andy, who was an absolute credit to the party.
      AW may have jumped while he was being pushed, but trust me they are an intolerant lot, utterly out of touch with real life.

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  60. Publish the recording transcript now.

    Sociopaths will only be silenced when proven to be such, and as a secondary action it removes them from privileged
    position now or later by public voting execution, thus the electorate is served – or the electorate gets Boris, these kinds of people should not be serving the public because a sociopath only serves themselves or a group of them.

    The audio recording transcript should be published, transparency is the ultimate definition of the MP’s voted to serve. It is for the public to judge the transcript.

    Failing it is not released, anyone can ask for a copy of the recording, as if is “in the public interest’.

    In many ways the SNP itself has become internally toxic, as has Parliament:

    SNP, Green Party & Parliament are hiding a NHS Trakcare data breach, 95% of patients med records are on this digital system.

    Boris, Trump, Nicola, Greens (& two Presiding Officers) all self serving.

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  61. Parliamentary politics requires you leave our integrity at the door on the way in. You are well out of it before you became part of it. That’s a good thing. Bob

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  62. There are, unfortunately, other examples where the idealistic goals in the Green movement override what might be argued to be a rational, evidence-based approach.

    The most important of which imperils the survival of our species and many other species on our planet less able to influence the future.

    It has recently become clear to even the most convicted doubters that burning fossil fuels cannot be sustained. The models are already being challenged, they did not predict 49 degrees Celcius in Canada in 2021.

    Wind turbines return less than 35% of their plate capacity, solar less than 20%. In principle, one day, infinitely cheap storage will be able to cover the gaps but to reduce emissions we need to double, maybe treble generating capacities to power vehicles and heat homes in the wealthy West.

    Developing countries rightly ask why their people are forced to shiver, or swelter, due to lack of energy when wealthy countries have been comfortable for decades.

    The Green movement has been provably wrong before. The Brent Spar platform disposal led to a boycott campaign against Shell, eventually leading to the fossil fuel company changing plans to dump the oil storage platform deep on the continental shelf and cut it up in a Norwegian fjord instead. Only later did the science confirm that the environmental impact would have been less if the continental shelf option had been used.

    Sadly, the issue which has taken Andy W out of primary politics is – important though it is to those affected – a tiny minority issue. If we do not replace fossil fuels 100% with zero-emission sources in very short order, we will be far from the only species affected.

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  63. Thanks for sharing this Andy. I voted for you.

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  64. What a sad story. It looks like the thought police got you too. I stopped attending SGP meetings about 5 years ago. I resigned from the party shortly before the Holyrood election and have now joined ALBA. Always room for one more!

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  65. They drive out all the best people, which can’t work out well for them in the long run. It’s a disaster that they’re doing it to the Green Party.

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  66. Eurig Scandrett

    Hi Andy

    As a SGP member I witnessed and participated in many of the events that you relate and concur completely with your assessment. I was glad that a person with your integrity decided to join the party and become a Green MSP, yet also celebrated your resignation. Sadly, through the bullying tactics of an anti-feminist cabal within, the party has abandoned any commitment to sex equality or to a gender regime that challenges the oppression of women.

    I remain, by my finger-tips, a member of the party in the hope that it returns to its roots in the non-sectarian radical and democratic social movements that recognise the structural causes of inequality. I am not optimistic. Sadly, the party has been taken over by a ruthlessly authoritarian identity politics.

    Eurig

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  67. I attended an SGP conference in Perth in 2016 (or was it 2017?). Addressing a proposal to open the doors to refugees, a man said he applauded the sentiment, but asked ‘what about the numbers?’. It seemed a perfectly reasonable question to ask, given the many millions of refugees around the World. However the conference attendees booed and shouted him down, so he slunk off. It wasn’t just the humiliating way he was treated that surprised me, but the fact that the conference seemed to have nothing to say about the environment. People seemed to be wrapped up in things that were completely irrelevant to the well-being of the Planet. The current obsession with gender politics seems to be a similar diversion from the Party’s raison d’etre.

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  68. I am very glad that you have put this in the public domain, Andy. You are a sad loss to the Scottish Parliament. A ‘Green Party’ which sets its face against biological science cannot be credible and is simply unsustainable in the long term. A bullying and intimidatory political culture cannot build a better society.

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  69. Thomas Brennan

    Writing from the USA. I’ve been watching from afar how the tenets of trans supremacy, a far different thing than equal rights for the gender dysphoric, have been warping Scotland’s governance and public life. It’s an unpleasant but instructive spectacle. Your brilliant testimony gives a very particular and first-person history of it all. Makes it clearer how things have come to such a dire pass. The level of rhetorical violence, bullying and bad faith from your opponents in this give the game away. Cultists behave that way. Not citizens engaged in civic debate around public (or party) policy. You do a real service in exposing these tactics. And not just for Scottish people.

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  70. dougie macdonald

    Andy, I can’t add much to the many messages of support above but can join others in confirming that your reasoning and integrity shines through. I’ve long believed that many well intentioned people get involved in the political world and become corrupted by it. I’m encouraged that your decency remains intact. I hope you still have the energy to continue to have a positive impact on public life. Thanks for your work so far and best wishes for the future.

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  71. Adrian Crofton

    Thank you for the clear account Andy. Many of us aren’t desperate to rejoin an effective a parliamentary green party with a healthy respect for diverse opinions. The two virtues are not exclusive:quite the opposite. I hope this whole episode will not signal the disintegration of Scottish parliamentary democracy which I believe is more robust than that but instead will be our collective lesson on the perils of entryist politics. In which case I hope to see that you have returned to parliament sometime in the coming years. Aw the best. Please do publish transcript.

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  72. Your integrity has never been in doubt by any sensible person. If asked who was the most trustworthy person in the country the answer would be Andy Wightman. The Parliament has lost it’s most conscentious and hard working member. Many people I know only voted Green on the basis that you were in the party. This is a very sad state of affairs. It is the most informative piece I have read anywhere reference the trans issue and has clarified things for me really well. The hysterical screeching and intrangedence of the uber politically correct is not a pretty sight and is avdersley affecting independence and other progressive ideas. The language used and the coinage of all those crazy terms reminds me of Orwell’s 1984. Do they really believe that the average member of the public can get their head around all that “double plus goodspeak”? It annoys me greatly that what the effect of such action will have is to have negative consequences for the trans community. I have always been surprised and impressed by your ability to be so civil when engaging with the “opposition”. If they are incapable of holding a conversation with you they will never be able to speak to anyone else.
    I hope things work out well for you and your voice of reason and progress will continue to be heard.

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  73. Richard Dunphy

    Thanks, Andy. I lectured on sexual politics and feminist theory at Dundee Uni for thirty years and, as a gay man strongly influenced by socialism and feminism, I have always been inclined to see queer theory as a bit half-arsed, elitist and inclined toward intolerance. Throw in the added ingredient of a neo-Stalinist internal party culture (which sounds like what you’ve experienced) and may the gods help us. No wonder I can no longer tell what the SGP stands for. Nothing I find remotely attractive, at any rate. I loved your book on land reform, by the way.

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  74. Thanks for this blog Andy. Although I knew some of this from the Holyrood mag article I’m even more appalled now. Greens not the only Party to bully those who don’t ‘toe the line’. Looked into your position before a decided to help your H&I campaign and would help again in a second if you decide to seek elected office again. Meanwhile we need your expertise and honesty dealing with real green issues . Best wishes for whatever you do and please get in touch if I can help in any way.

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  75. Paul Derbyshire

    I have sat in rooms and listened to you talk about the subject of land reform and have read “The Poor…”. You were a wonderfully – and necessary – knowledgeable addition to Holyrood in 2016 and it was to the great credit of SGP that you were on the team. I miss your presence in both Holyrood and in SGP.

    I was shocked by your resignation and could not understand it. Now I do, thank you.

    At the time I did not go further into understanding your resignation because I don’t have the desire to understand the complexities behind trans issues. In my view, fairness to all is necessary, but I struggle to understand some of the nuances and intricacies of the debate you yourself were trying to understand when you attended the events.

    So, anyway, I resigned myself from SGP last month because of the intolerance of some members; it’s tiring isn’t it?

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  76. I was very sorry to see you leave Parliament as you were one of the few honest Parliamentarians I trusted implicitly to represent the people of Scotland without fear or favour. Your interventions during the debate on Land reform just confirmed to me your credentials.
    I am even more disturbed to read the comments section of your blog confirming the environment within the Green Party as you have described which has com as a major disappointment.

    It is a sad reality of our democracy, such as it is within this Union, that those who are willing to serve their constituents ahead of being a party delegate are treated in this manner.

    “I wish you all the best for the future” doesn’t seem to be adequate as you will be sorely missed by many of us neutrals who take a strong interest in our democratic institutions.

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  77. Alister Clunas

    Andy outlines a sad and sorry tale of his disgraceful treatment by members of the Scottish Green Party (SGP). I resigned as a member of the SGP over his treatment at the time but little did I realise until I read this blog just how bad that treatment was and that it continues to this day.

    Andy brought a huge fount of knowledge on, amongst other things, Scottish land ownership, land reform and current land management practices to the Scottish Parliament. The SNP government has made no meaningful progress on land reform and his absence in parliament to pursue this issue means that the government will not be held to account in the same way. It is imperative that he finds an outlet for his talents that will benefit the Scottish people.

    I campaigned, in a small way, for Andy in his bid to be an independent MSP for the Highlands and Islands. Sadly this did not to come to fruition both as a result of SNP supporters following the mantra of “both votes SNP” and SGP members following the party line and not recognising what a loss Andy was to the Scottish Parliament.

    The Scottish Parliament has lost an experienced, honest, knowledgeable and effective MSP and is the poorer for it.

    I wish Andy every success in the future and hope he finds a suitable role for his undoubted talents.

    Andy is a man of integrity and no slurs or innuendo can diminish, detract or remove this.

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  78. I’m so sorry to hear of this. Its horrible and completely against the grain of how I had understood the Green Party to be about.
    But then I was naive.
    I was an active member in the the Uk GP for many years but left after Challenor. Their handling of it covered us in shame, and upended my belief in the democratic running of the party.
    Its the oppressive lack of transparency and back room dealing I find so disturbing.

    I used to proudly tell people when campaigning that the Green Party was the only really democratic party in Britain. Its so not true.

    I was fooled and I fooled myself, and then fooled others.

    There must be so many of us now.
    It must be time to start either The Environment Party, a party for and dedicated to protect our environment from Climate change, chemical pollution, deforestation, habitat and species destruction, or An Environment Group with the same aims, that links together people like yourself across Britain, ex Greens etc to campaign both locally and nationally and to influence government policy.

    At this point in time anything else is superfulous and inevitably brings intercine warfare.
    Anyway the other parties have got the human rights angle covered, or at least they fool themselves that they have.

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  79. Nancy Somerville

    Thank you for publishing this, Andy.
    I entirely agree with your stance and view your treatment by the SGP as shocking and underhanded, but sadly not unexpected in these times. I have long admired your writing and work on land issues, backed up by research – an attribute which is sadly lacking in many who subscribe to the trans- activist agenda. The SGP and the parliament have lost one of their best assets.
    I think the clash of timing re the Scottish parliament election and your campaign to be elected as a new Highland list MSP was unfortunate but I do hope you stand again when you’ll be better known in the area. You got my vote and would again in the future. Don’t give up!

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  80. Interesting, it shines a light on something I have ignored for ages now.

    I tend to believe in Trans rights, but not at the expense of ‘Womens Rights’ or ‘Mens Rights’.

    Odd, is it not, that a political party doesn’t want to debate the issue.

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  81. James Robertson

    As I have long believed and as your blog confirms, you are a person of great integrity, and it is appalling that the Scottish Green Party has treated you in this way. It is their loss, but greater is the (I hope temporary) loss of you to Scottish public life.If I lived in the Highlands you would certainly have got my vote. Know that you are respected and valued by many, many people.

    Reply

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