Scottish independence movement needs a convention as SNP starts to drag it down – Kenny MacAskill
Suggestions that it had nothing to do with her resignation are risible. Many knew and only the timing was unknown. Irrespective of what happens with Peter Murrell, her reputation will not survive and rightly so. She’s been hoisted on her own petard. The Snow Queen upon whom not a fleck of dirt could be allowed will be shown to be far from squeaky clean.
Many of us who left her New SNP did so not just on a policy basis but our concerns over internal democracy. It’s why we’ve a mixture of sadness about what she’s done to a party we gave so many years to and for the rank-and-file member who’s been sold a lie, indeed many lies. Many are devastated and some are still in denial. A unionist plot, MI5 are all bandied about, but it simply won’t wash. The collapse of the House of Sturgeon is on her and her cronies.
But there’s also contempt for her acolytes, many still in senior positions who knew and said and did nothing. Some through fear of damaging the cause, ignoring the harm she was doing, for what they saw as the greater prize. How wrong they’ve been.
Others though are implicated in her distortion of what was once arguably the most democratic party in Scotland. This wasn’t done by a big boy who ran away but a cabal around her. They may not face prosecution but, as with her, the court of public opinion will see to them.
Where does that leave the SNP and Humza Yousaf? He’s now in charge but left standing in the burning embers. Continuity won’t cut it but how can he cut himself free? It’s only a few weeks since he was the Sturgeon machine’s golden boy and the operation set out to get him elected. In turn, he praised Peter Murrell albeit for his electoral success. But the malaise is deeper and wider than one man and many of the guilty party are in his Cabinet or else his cronies.
He only just sneaked home despite Tammany Hall machinations. It’s almost certain that had this been known he’d have lost comprehensively. Where stands his legitimacy now? If the SNP want to survive this, then they should have another ballot. If he wins so be it, it’s what the members want.
More likely though he’d lose and another incumbent could seek to cleanse the stables. Rooting out the HQ cabal who have been operating like some Chicagoesque politicians of old and similarly removing the sycophants and careerists who flocked to Sturgeon’s New SNP and were rewarded for their loyalty. The woke brigade who put gender before independence, spin over substance and hollowed out the party, leaving it bereft of vision.
If they don’t do that, then they’re going to pay a heavy price. Even that’s not guaranteed to save them. But it might and it’s the only course. If they don’t, then as with other political parties they need replaced.
Independence is bigger than the SNP and indeed they’ve become a drag on it. The sooner there’s an independence convention the better.
First published in The Scotsman on April 13th 2023