I've written a few times about my fears that a Humza Yousaf win, even if it only results in him being leader for a year or two, could cause such damage to both the SNP and the independence movement that it might not be repairable by the person who replaces him. I think we're now getting to the point where this leadership campaign itself is causing enough damage that there's going to be a major problem even if the right person wins. The idiocy of the people who told the media a direct lie about the membership numbers has caused newspapers to wreak their revenge by portraying the SNP as a party riven by sleaze and on its way out. That is going to be hard to come back from, and the only way it can even possibly be done is with a completely new broom. A Yousaf leadership is no longer a credible option.
The independence movement has split into two completely different types of hellscape today. If you're brave enough to venture into the Wings comments section, you'll bizarrely encounter a party atmosphere as people effectively celebrate a process that could be killing the independence cause before our eyes. As much as I understand the schadenfreude about the long-overdue downfall of Peter Murrell, there is, as ever, a total failure to see the bigger picture. I presume many Wings commenters do still support independence to some degree, but today that seems to be coming a very poor second to the settling of old scores.
And on the other extreme, we have the true believers, the diehard defenders of the current regime and of the continuity candidate, who are lashing out angrily at just about everyone apart from the ones actually responsible for this mess - ie. their own side. What they don't seem to understand - or want to understand - is that the lie about membership numbers couldn't have been covered up indefinitely, even if Kate Forbes and Ash Regan had conveniently played along with the veil of secrecy. When the leadership election result was announced, either the membership numbers would have been visible in the result, or else the result would have been expressed only in percentages, which would have been so suspicious that the media would have known instantly a cover-up was going on. The problem was always the lie and not the calls for transparency - and yet we have Nicola Sturgeon's own sister saying she's so furious with the calls for transparency that she would rather vote Tory than vote for an SNP led by Forbes or Regan.
In this situation, it is unthinkable that a continuity candidate could emerge as leader of the SNP. An analogous event was the downfall of Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons, when it was obvious to everyone that if confidence was going to be restored, the person who replaced him would have to be in a completely different mould. But the problem is that the SNP have arrived at this moment after the bulk of votes for leader have already been cast - which raises the horrifying prospect of Yousaf being elected as a zombie leader whose position had already become untenable in the days before he took office. Responsible Yousaf supporters who care first and foremost about the interests of the SNP and the independence cause should now be giving urgent thought to how that scenario can be averted. The obvious solution would be for Yousaf to make a dignified withdrawal and for his supporters to make their peace with Kate Forbes.
There was a TV series in the 1970s called The Sandbaggers, which is often considered one of the most realistic depictions of espionage ever seen on TV because it was written by someone who was believed to have been an intelligence officer himself. There's one episode in which "C", the head of the intelligence service, suddenly stands down due to ill health, and his Director of Operations - the lead character in the show - starts panicking because he realises that the most likely replacement is a personal enemy of his and someone who has a completely different prescription for the future of the service. So he spends the episode frantically trying to fix the selection process so that the new "C" is a different person who he knows to be completely unsuitable for the job but at least isn't his enemy - somewhat analogous to the various tactics being employed by the SNP establishment in favour of Humza Yousaf. By the end, he's patting himself on the back because he thinks he's succeeded - but then his chosen candidate does something so stupid and ridiculous that it would result in the end of the service. So he sheepishly goes back to his superiors and tells them he was completely wrong and that he can now see that his enemy was always the best person available - the right man at the right time. His humiliation is complete when he is told that his enemy has already been appointed anyway. But in later episodes, he finds he can work with his enemy effectively enough, albeit in an uneasy fashion, and he can even start to see a few merits in the philosophy of the new "C", which he had previously regarded as so alien.
If I was constructing my ideal First Minister, Kate Forbes is probably not the person I would choose. I'd want someone a bit more left-wing, a bit less socially conservative (I do agree with her about the GRR, but that's got nothing to do with social conservatism), and certainly a lot more radical on independence strategy. But a responsible party of government needs a leader, and that leader needs to be the best person available, the right person at the right time. Making that hardheaded choice can sometimes mean giving a new leader some latitude to chart a different course that you might not be entirely comfortable with - but that's still infinitely better than choosing an obviously unsuitable person. If this contest is boiling down to Forbes v Yousaf, the decision ought to be a no-brainer in the current climate. The party establishment have backed the wrong man, and they need to be responsible enough to set aside factionalism and petty grievances. and to put their mistake right before incalculable damage is done. They can surely see that a Forbes leadership wouldn't be the end of civilisation as we know it - they had her, after all, as their own Finance Secretary.
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James, which episode of The Sandbaggers is that?ReplyDelete
The final episode of series 2: 'Operation Kingmaker'.Delete
I’ve been reluctant to actually cast my vote thus far, simply because I don’t want to do so just before yet another unsavoury revelation emerges and then regret my choice(s). So I’ll wait until a couple of days before the end, in the hope that all, or more realistically most, of the dirty linen is out by then. I wonder how many fellow members are doing the same.ReplyDelete
As I’ve posted here before, a forest fire was needed, and with Murrell departing we’ve already eliminated a particularly stubborn sapling. Proper transparency has to be the way ahead, no more shady deals cooked up behind the scenes. For an organisation aspiring to govern the country well, good governance of itself is a prerequisite. Hopefully the new leader can finish the job.
SNP Special ConferenceReplyDelete
Today is the day that the SNP promised a "special " conference on how to progress a de facto referendum. A conference with Scottish democracy at its heart. It's so special that everyone has forgotten about it. The SNP contempt for democracy, however, has been on full display with its deceitful running of its own leadership election.
What do the WGD numpties, you know the big SNP supporters, have to say on this day about the conference not happening - are they very disappointed - not a word - it seems they have forgotten as well. Nevermind 'Jumpin' Jack Collatin can remember that 20 years ago on this day:- " Today is the 20th anniversary of Shock and Awe when Tony Blair authorised the mass carpet bombing of 10's of thousands of innocent men women and children based on a lie. " but he cannae remember this was supposed to be the big SNP event to get a democratic vote on Scottish independence.
So who scuppered the conference - that's right the SNP's very own leader Nicola Sturgeon. The person who claimed to have been working during her 8 years in office for an independence referendum but fell at the final hurdle because she was 'tired'. The SNP's very own Devon Loch.
The party establishment will back Yousaf to the end. There are too many ministerial salaries, Personal advisors and all sorts of hangers on dependant upon continuity being maintained.ReplyDelete
If Humza wins the leadership contest I think that in upcoming elections the SNP will remain the largest party but at reduced numbers. Wouldn't surprise me if at a uk general election the seats are down to around the 30 mark. Holywood elections become a possibility that unionists parties could take a majority.ReplyDelete
I think you're severely underestimating how bad things could get at the Westminster election. I wouldn't be surprised if the SNP end up with fewer than 10 seats if Humza is leader - we'd be back to pre-2015.Delete
For Yousaf to be elected would be so barmy that the route to recovery WOULD BE Yousaf as SNP leader and FM and for SNP at Westminster to drop to 10 seats as you suggest, because that would bring into play a corrective. It is the same as brexit. It was so barmy that the route to recovery is letting the crazies run brexit and everyone sees them for the crazies they are.ReplyDelete
In the short term it is extremely painful. In the longer term, the truth is out. And it takes a long time to fix. But it will remove all doubt. Although I would prefer people to vote having come to their senses.
I'm sorry but that's nuts. In all likelihood the SNP would never get those seats back. They can't afford for it to happen in the first place.Delete
I'm an SNP member for one reason only; Independence. I can't be the only person who will continue to vote for the party for that reason. I therefore expect that their electoral chances will remain strong. The party is a broad church and we all must hold our noses on one policy or another regardless of our personal views. Let's face it, socialists like myself will only ever see a real socialist government through Scottish Independence. For that reason I've held my nose and voted Forbes, Regan, Yousaf in that order. I sincerely hope Yousaf doesn't win.ReplyDelete
I agree entirely. I have voted SNP at every election since the late 70s for one reason only - independence. Hope Forbes or Regan wins and they work as leader and deputy.Delete
There obviously needs to be a big shakeup, including some de-selections . Independence should be the priority for every SNP member.
Likewise I'd hold my nose if Forbes wins and vote SNP in the constituency vote for the Scottish Parliament. (.I'm finished voting for Westminster elections, it's a superfluous exercise) Hoping against hope that and independent Scotland wouldm't go down a reactionary road like De Valera's. Ireland. If in the unlikely event of Regan winning, I'm off to the Greens - and I'll close the door quietly on the way out.ReplyDelete
In what way is Regan more reactionary than Forbes?Delete
Reader: Ireland is independent and a far better place to live than here. Let's not do that.Delete
De sf : I'll pass that message on to any SNP/Alba canvasser who comes to my door. It'll be interesting to see how brave and progressive the new order is in Scotland is when it deals with the upcoming cross-party Assisted Suiicide bill.Delete
Sadly, this election process seems to be another farcIcal SNP shooting itself in the foot - a joke with 3 middling candidates to drag it out.ReplyDelete
If it's Kate Forbes, Labour will push a Tartan Tory narrative. It's not insurmountable but their campaign become clear.ReplyDelete
If it's Humza, it'll be a boring slow decay
If it's Regan, I've not a clue what might happen.
Yeah a Brexit supporting party which is talking openly about stopping benefits for younger people .Good luck with the Tartan Tory lineDelete
Scottish Labour are Tories without the tartan.Delete
But how to persuade Yousaf to stand down? Only was I see of getting that is for Forbes and Regan to withdraw, and call on Yousaf to withdraw as well. A high-risk startegy - but the right one.ReplyDelete
Lesley Riddoch and WGD big dog Kavanagh NOW coming out and saying the SNP will be all the better for Murrell going etc etc. Talk about sticking your head above the parapet when the flak has stopped. Who's next Ruth Wishart? Cowards and chancers the pair of them.ReplyDelete
Still no official comment from the SNP on how many ballots were issued.ReplyDelete
It cannot be hard to do, so what's the secret. Regan and Forbes asked for this info in their letter last week. They asked for numbers voting on line and postal.
What is the point of the SNP's Chief Operating Officer Sue Ruddick. Murrell resigns so you would think this person should step up and take temporary charge as next in line. The paid employee is overlooked and the unpaid party president Mike Russell takes over. There must be a reason for Ruddick being sidelined. Wonder what it might be.ReplyDelete
Has Sturgeon's sister done a Tarot reading for her and told her the future isn't looking very bright?
Sturgeon on the telly pushing the line that her husband did not intend to mislead. She says he was answering a question that asked whether there had been a 30k drop due to GRR or no Indyref2. Not whether there was a 30k drop. Skier would be proud of her twisted lies. So if he did nothing wrong why did he resign?ReplyDelete
Murrell could have said there has been a 30k drop in members but we do not know the reason for that. A transparent and honest answer - something the Murrell's kicked in to the long grass many years ago along with independence.
Skier confirms he is a liar, likes lying and is happy to continue doing so. He is also very happy for the SNP to lie as well.ReplyDelete
Yesindyref2 says: - " Jings. That says everything anybody needs to know about you."
Case closed - Skier is a liar - says so himself and is proud of it. A Sturgeonite liar and propagandist.
Melbdon will be fuming as like so many numpties they are just plain wrong all the time. He is a liar Don and that's why he won't ever take any legal action against anyone who calls him a liar.
You are D.Ross and I claim my fiver.Delete
Anonymous you are Don from Melbourne Australia and I claim nothing from you. Gday mate.Delete
Anyone find out about the poll question on independence commissioned by the scotch whisky association?ReplyDelete
I voted Ash/Kate early on. I would still stick with that if allowed to alter.ReplyDelete
Ash has grown in presence for me since then and been the most consistent policywise.
Somewhat paradoxically, I’m not sure I would want her to win this leadership election because, if the rumoured shitstorm that is about to hit the party is true, whoever wins it might well be fatally flawed. Perhaps better if she were left out of it but standing in the wing
Ash Regan looks and talks like a manager. Kate Forbes is a smart, diligent person with a good future ahead of her. Hamsa Yousef - do you seriously believe he is capable of managing a government?ReplyDelete