1.  When I joined the SNP in 1974, a mandate for Independence would be obtained when the Party won a majority of the Scottish MPs sent to Westminster.  This “Big Bang Theory” was accepted by (almost) everyone, including Margaret Thatcher and, way before her, Winston Churchill.  Devolution changed everything in the 1990s when Alex Salmond persuaded most Nationalists (including me) to accept Devolution as a “first step to Independence”.  “If only we could show the poor Scottish people that, with limited self-government powers, we could make a go of running things for ourselves, surely the path to full-blooded Independence would be obvious!”  This route was to prove an unattainable mirage.

2. Salmond put far too much faith in Nicola Sturgeon in the old days, thinking he could control her. While he attended to constitutional and economics matters as FM, she was his deputy who had free rein over health, social care and other social matters – a huge remit. He trusted her, which he must bitterly regret now!  However, she was not on the same personal agenda which I have discovered in my research.  Whether they had a “lavender marriage” or not, the Murrells, Peter and Nicola, had a plan for private power and control in political life.  I believe Salmond, who is on record as objecting to the pair being at the top of the Party and Government, stated when he was on his way out as FM. It was too late then and the Murrells just ignored him.  He should have done something about it when he was in power, not complained afterwards. A few high-profile people, such as Kenny MacAskill, objected but it was also too late. Since then, Sturgeon has successfully ridden two horses as Leader of the Party, with her husband as a mere apparatchik, and, separately, as First Minister, . She has successfully convinced many people – for example within the MSM – that she has Chinese walls in her brain. No pillow talk between the Murrells, of course!

3.  One crucial thing that Salmond did was introduce a popular referendum of the Scottish electorate as a necessary step to go through to achieve Independence.  “Surely after achieving a majority of SNP MSPs at Holyrood (as in 2011 but not repeated since then) and at Westminster (as in 2015 and thereafter), we could win a referendum of the people”.  But it was not to be.

4.  This alternative Gradualism (akin to “Steady State Theory” in Physics), plus a a steady Party growth, allowed the SNP to attract: (a) lots of mediocre carpet-baggers who saw a career at Holyrood, one that they couldn’t achieve outside, and (b) lobby and other action groups to latch on to this new rising political movement, not just the usual lefty-liberal types but emerging forces like Feminism, LGBT and others, who seldom saw the pursuit of Independence as their cause, but a suitable “local” vehicle to associate with. These groups returned little to us but Sturgeon (and others) were receptive, new forces within politics to court – and with her particular persona and psyche, she reciprocated.

4.  From 1999 to 2007, SNP MSPs were mostly people with  real-life baggage with them.  In other words, they had earned a living and inhabited the outside world, free from immersion within the political bubble.  Salmond did the right thing in 2007 in assembling a pretty competent government who didn’t make too many mistakes.  The message was minority, but competent government.  Sturgeon was one of the few who didn’t have much experience after she qualified as a solicitor – and a chequered short career it was too.  Our circumstances changes in 2011 when in the Scottish Election we were able to “game the electoral system”, winning 69 seats out of 129 (53% of the total) with only 46% of the vote.  (Labour choose the wrong “game” by concentrating on constituencies with no dual nominations to constituency and region.) 

5.  We  lost the Independence Referendum in 2014 by 55.3% to 44.7%, a huge margin of 10.6%.  In my opinion, Salmond was wrong to resign – stupidly he thought he could still control Sturgeon who was “crowned” with his blessing.  Big mistake.  The MSP 2011 input had produced a cohort who often thought, largely, that they could rule the world but they had little experience of the actual world outside politics.  Few had earned a living in trade, business and the professions.  The result has been growing governmental incompetence ever since.

6.  Nevertheless, the Government and many MSPs were easy meat for Wokish lobby groups, either due to: their own orientation, being flattered by attention, seeking an easy, cumfy life, or occasionally thinking they were doing good.  Also, the Party has been completely corrupted internally, starting in 2017 with the abolition of National Council and the reduction of ordinary member representation and the proliferation of overlapping special interest groups on the NEC.  Now NEC controls everything, including direct candidate selection, through the Murrells, Angus Robertson (predictably), Michael Russell (sadly) and several others in the Nicola band of acolytes.  Conferences for many years are just Nicola fan-club rallies. 

7.  There will be no indyref2 next year and Sturgeon and her coterie will play us for sheepish fools until the Party collapses or they leave at their own choice.

This is the story of many organisations, not just political parties.  A complete change, either internal generated, or forced upon it, will be required to reverse out this nasty cul-de-sac. 


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