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Wings Over Scotland

The Bearers Of The Crown

Posted on March 08, 2023 by

The great unknown in the SNP leadership contest is an extremely significant one: who are the voters? Nobody but Peter Murrell really knows how many members the party has, but almost nobody believes the claimed number of over 100,000. (Our guess, based on pretty much nothing but a gut feeling, is 75,000 plus or minus 5000.)

But more to the point, nobody knows who they are. The average member age in most political parties is over 50, and according to figures published in 2019, more than 80% of SNP members are over 40, with half of those being over 60. There’s also an almost 3:2 bias in favour of men.

So the sample on Newsnight last night was pretty representative.

And the segment illustrated the difficulty in predicting the result of the contest.

The BBC picked out four party members from the Dumfries area (it’s a shame they couldn’t have managed one more for a more accurate gender balance).

The first one to speak was Brandon, a very obviously gay young man.

He was backing Humza Yousaf because he believed Yousaf was in favour of a de-facto referendum, which is slightly awkward given that Yousaf disassociated himself from the plan over two weeks ago.

But a Newsnight source has told Wings that Brandon wasn’t supposed to be on the panel at all. He was a late replacement for Scott McElvanney, the head of office for South Of Scotland regional MSP Emma Harper, who was this week sanctioned by the party for “accidentally” breaking its election rules in order to promote Humza Yousaf.

According to our source, “the entire show almost had to be cancelled because [McElvanney] wasn’t answering his phone even after filming was due to start”, until the stand-in was rushed to the studio by taxi. Whether the no-show was at the behest of Yousaf, keen not to be embarrassed further over the Harper incident on the day the story made the front page of the local press, is a matter for speculation.

Next up was Sylvia, a woman we’d put in her early 60s.

She was also leaning towards Yousaf, because “he was quite jokey… I think he spoke well and he’s quite personal with people, you know, he remembers people and things”. (It’s been very noticeable at all the hustings so far that Yousaf makes a point of saying questioners’ names.)

Third to appear was Steve – in fact Steve Norris, the person who actually broke the story about Emma Harper’s breach of the rules on Craig Murray’s blog a week ago.

He said he was supporting Kate Forbes for her “integrity and truthfulness”, which drew a dissenting interjection from Brandon who unsurprisingly objected to Forbes’ views on equal marriage. (While Wings strongly disagrees with Forbes’ views on that subject and others, it’s hard to accuse her of being untruthful or lacking integrity over them.)

And finally came Roland, an elderly (no offence, Roland) English gentleman with one of those accents that occupies a grey area between “camp” and “posh”.

Roland said he definitely hadn’t made up his mind but that he liked what he described as Ash Regan’s “policies on Citizen’s Assemblies”, although as far as we’re aware the only mention Regan has made of the idea is being willing to consider the possibility of one perhaps being used to debate the future of the Gender Recognition Reform bill, “if there was an appetite in the country for it”.

It’s actually Humza Yousaf who’s actively proposed assemblies, although they were to be regional, for SNP members only rather than the general public, and only for the purposes of discussing independence strategy.

If the Newsnight sample is in any way representative of the wider SNP membership, the bookmakers’ odds on the contest are the result of pure guesswork, because it’s simply not possible to draw any meaningful conclusions from what we learned.

(A fact reflected in polling released tonight, which revealed that almost 40% of SNP voters – not members – have no idea who’d make the best FM.)

Even a group of just four people were widely varied in terms of information levels, plain wrong on some factual issues, and by the end of the brief chat Sylvia had moved from leaning towards Yousaf to being undecided between him and Forbes.

None were enormously firm in their support for any of the candidates, although we’d bet money that Brandon will vote for Yousaf, as he was adamant that the Section 35 order over the GRR should be challenged. (And none of them made any mention of the endorsements of the candidates by Parliamentarians and other party figures.)

But he’s part of only 3% of the SNP membership that’s in (we’re guessing) the 18-24 age group – the smallest proportion of any party in the Scottish Parliament, which surprised us – so it’s doubtful that Yousaf, who’s openly targeting the SNP’s self-styled “progressive” youth wing, can expect much of a boost from that area.

Older voters, more likely to be socially conservative, probably also won’t be put off much by Kate Forbes’ views on abortion and equal marriage. But it also seems credible that those who’ve spent the longest time in the SNP will be the most likely to be running out of patience with the lack of progress on independence, and the years of delay implied by Forbes’ vague, evasive comments on strategy might not impress them. Her 6-month-old daughter might have plenty of time, but Roland doesn’t.

Forbes is also very young at just 32, which may not impress a membership looking for a wise head. (Yousaf is just five years older at 37.) If Ash Regan – who turns 49 today, cake fans, slap bang in line with the average SNP member – can make play of her greater life experience, maturity and similarity to the membership, and put clear water between herself and the others by really hammering home the far greater urgency of her plan to restore Scotland’s nationhood, she may well upset the carrot wagon.

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0 to “The Bearers Of The Crown”

  1. Ian McCubbin says:

    I so hope you are right Rev.
    Ash us making media headway, Let’s hope it transfers into member’s votes.

  2. Cath says:

    For a split second I thought Michael Heseltine had turned up.

  3. Calum says:

    “The carrot wagon” – perfectly put!!

    Yes, let’s hope she can indeed upset that wagon.

  4. Terry Darvel says:

    Yousaf will steal it, and Jo & Ash need to start an Indy party for grown-ups.

  5. Doug says:

    As someone asked on the previous thread, is it possible for Murrell to exhume the names of former members [of which I would suggest there are guid few] and use their “votes” to bump up Yousaf’s percentage.

    In any case, since we don’t know the actual living membership total who’s to question the results?

    Count Dracula?

  6. Johnny says:

    That “he remembers names (swoon!)” reminds me of nothing so much as Nick fucking Clegg and we know what happened there.

    Why are people so easily impressed and why do they never learn they were impressed by the wrong things?!

  7. David Searil says:

    Gaun yersel’ Ash

  8. Robert says:

    You’d imagine Humza would have the majority of that demographic already sown up considering both Ash and Kates position on the GRR which makes his decision to put this issue front and centre of his campaign even more bizarre

  9. Astonished says:

    I think there are less than 50,000 members. Less than 3% controlling everything. Says it all really.

    Peter will have to hide this. And the police might want a word (if COPFS let them). And where is the missing cash ? And cash and to keep the show on the road ? And how will he attract donations ? And how will he keep the transcult onside ? And what will he do if Humza makes another gaffe ?

    And if he resigns (or Humza loses) then the truth will finally come out. And he will have nowhere to hide and no one to protect him.

    It’s great that Peter is fighting fires on so many fronts.

    And how many irredeemable nuSNP MSPs and MPs wish, with all their hearts, that they had never appeased Sturgeon’s transcult ? I’m sure a lot of them blame Peter.

    I wish we were preparing for independence but the downfall of the Murrells is the best we can look forward to in the short to medium term.

  10. Bill says:

    I am the older person ( but have not been a voter in this for a long time, basically since they removed party democracy) but I certainly would like to see Ash win.

  11. RoyVictor says:

    I rarely comment here as I am BRITISH by choice (self identification?) and English by birth. Although, as a Geordie, I think Northumbria has as much historical claim to “independence” as the Scotland of today. But REALLY people – these islands are too small to be considering dismembering the Union. Redesign it for sure but let’s not forget that the BRITISH Empire was achieved by ALL the component parts. The SNP is destined to be a footnote in history but BRITAIN can be great again. Take this opportunity to reassess the aims for the future. Scotland has provided some of the greatest leaders of these UNITED islands, and can do so again. Please think about how we can all achieve that / TOGETHER!

  12. bluegrass banjo says:

    ‘No’ leads by 9 points.

    Scotland Independence Referendum Voting Intention (2-5 March):

    No, against Independence: 51% (+6)
    Yes, for Independence: 42% (-7)
    Don’t Know: 8% (+3)

    looks like scotland is prepared to see what labour party does regarding devolution



  13. Ruby says:

    The fact that these people are still members of the SNP tells you all you want to know about them.

  14. Geoff Anderson says:

    If Murrell can make £600k vanish then a few votes will not challenge him.

  15. Dan says:

    @ bluegrass banjo

    I don’t think Labour will deliverance from EVEL.

    After all, When someone shows you who they are, best believe them the first time…

  16. Kcor says:

    “So the sample on Newsnight last night was pretty representative.”

    I doubt it.

    Would the BBC ever have an unbiased representative sample?

    IMHO, the SNP has been stuffed with the wokest of the woke who don’t give a damn about independence.

    The BBC in collaboratin with the SNP/Unionist establishment is trying to present Yousaf’s “election” as being broad based.

  17. 100%Yes says:

    I’ve been watching the SNP husting in Johnston and both Kate and Ash stood up and said to the audience there’s people in the audience who have been in previous hustings, no comment from Humza.

  18. Dan says:

    @ Ruby

    Indeed, you’d think after scoffing so many carrots the remaining members would be able to see things better.

  19. Dorothy Devine says:

    RoyVictor , some of us have read the history of the British Empire and dislike what was done to all the countries we invaded and pillaged.

    Apparently there are only 22 countries in the world that we didn’t invade – presumably they didn’t have anything worth stealing or killing.

    But hey! We british are so tolerant and lovely.

  20. Karen says:

    I wonder if someone will do a PhD on leaders’ looks? Certainly Attlee, Wilson and Churchill were quite ugly. Thatcher, Johnston and Truss were plain. Dewar, McLeish and May were not lookers. But many people instinctively choose the best looking as being the healthiest and smartest. In that case Ash is the best looking, Kate is healthy-girl-next-door and Humza is tall, dark and sleekit.

  21. Black+Joan says:

    Ash was interviewed on the Radio 4 PM programme this evening and sounded assured. At about 39 minutes in:

    Before that we got Colin Mackay saying independence is “the be all and end all” for the SNP. Aye, right.

  22. Dan says:

    RoyVictor says: at 8:00 pm

    Redesign it for sure…

    Well due to the democratic deficit within the UK political system, Kingdom of Scotland gets outvoted by Kingdom of England by approximately 10 to 1.
    So us Scots can effectively do heehaw to redesign the UK because the English part of Great Britian and Northern Ireland keep elected fucking Tories of every colour.
    If you 55 million folks down south of the Tweed ever got your shit together then there might be less Scots wanting to return to self-governing status.
    Over the 300 years of this Union the KoE’s population has increased from approximately 5 to 10 times that of the KoS, with all the economic advantage that gave the KoE.
    That’s a fairly in yer face example of there being zero political will under London Rule to address this matter.

  23. twathater says:

    Roy Victor I try not to be overly rude when English people comment on Scotland or independence but please Roy keep your British read English comments to yourself , and while you have time read up on history, Northumberland yesterday today or tomorrow will NEVER be similar or equal to the ancient Country or Nation of Scotland
    Go and read up on king Chuck or vote tory or red tory but don’t be so daft to try and sell britain or the uk to independence supporters

  24. Merganser says:

    Boris Johnson: “Trying to defend this plan is like polishing a turd”

    So many of the SNP’s/Green’s plans are of similar excrement, but the party faithful seem happy polishing away oblivious to the stench.

    Yousaf seems to be the one most happy to be the next turd polisher in chief.

    Who’ll clean up the mess created by Sturgeon and continued by Yousaf if he wins?

    It breaks my heart that such a great country as Scotland should be led by people who think that trying to polish shit is a good idea.

  25. Dan says:

    @ Dorothy Devine

    Your post reminded me of How “GERS” Worked in India.

  26. Doonhamer Dave says:

    I was at the Dumfries Hustings and saw Emma Harper’s little helper, Scott in the audience, sitting next to Emma’s domineering husband. (Emma was obviously too feart to show her face). So Scott definitely doesn’t have the excuse that he couldn’t make it. I suspect he was told not to go to the Newsnight thing afterwards, it would have reflected badly on Emma if her staffer was seen on tv saying “vote Humza” a few days after she’d been caught using the party emails to punt him, there would definitely be accusations of another set up.

    I spoke to someone there who told me the Newsnight producers had put out an appeal for a female participant who supported Kate. They weren’t asking for someone who supported Ash. On the night they appear to have ended up with one panelist who supported Humza, one who supported Kate and two undecideds. I wonder why they weren’t asking around for an Ash supporter?

  27. 100%Yes says:

    You only had to watch newsnight on the 07.03.23 to realise just how far from reality the SNP members are on Independence.
    One guy said Humza had the most credible plan because he was going to go and ask for another section 30. Another gentleman said why would you keep hitting your head against a concrete wall (section 30 order request) and expect a different result, but then he said he’d vote for Forbes who is going to ask for a section 30 order, it begs the question why? The woman said we had to build the economy to get independence, who are these people?
    Not only has Ash got a plan, but she’s said that she’d already spoken to all the leaders of the other prop-independence parties, so before she is elected as leader she is already taking decisive steps that ought to have been done years ago, and no other candidate has either taken or are planning on taking. Come on people get a grip, listen to what these candidates are saying, not what they look like, who they have as friends, but their plans for Independence. It’s as simple as this, Scotland without independence means, our people will continue to live in poverty, be subservient to London the Tories and Labour, and ultimately Scotland will no longer exist.
    If Scotland and the cause of Independence has to be left to these individuals (SNP members), then we are finished.

    No disrespect to Steve but your barking up the wrong street voting for Kate Forbes she wants to ask for a section 30.

  28. Dan says:

    @ Roy Victor

    Mentioning independence for Northumbria. Feel free to take back one of your own called Braden Davy who wandered north.

    Right, I’m offski before I get barred for over-posting.

  29. Monica Worley says:

    Just FYI – Kate mentioned 100k members in tonight’s husting.

  30. Astonished says:

    Roy Victor @8.00pm

    Thanks for your comment – Now get to the back of the bus and shut-up.

  31. Jeremy Wickins says:

    @RoyVictor – you might gain more support (though not much) for your stance if you made a case for what the Union has done for Scotland, not what Scotland has done for the Union. I’m an Englishman who has taken time to read history – the Union was fraudulently brought into being, and should have been dissolved long ago. All those Scots you refer to could have been doing things for their own country, not someone else’s.

  32. Robert McAllan says:

    If that is a true reflection of a cross section of SNP members in that constituency and were it to be extrapolated across the whole of the SNP membership then we are well and truly BULL FUCKED!!

    Steve Norris criticising the Section 30 process as a “dead strategy” then alluding to Forbes as his possible choice when that is her intention makes an absolute mockery of logic!

    The late John Laurie must have had the second sight, WE’RE DOOMED AW DOOMED!!

  33. Peedoff Scot says:

    As far as the true membership figures of the SNP is concerned, their HQ and Humza Yousaf claim they have over 100,000 members. They are being hugely misleading and disingenuous on that matter, so nothing new there then!

    The reason that they are using that inflated figure is probably because the House of Commons Library publishes the annual membership numbers of each political party,

    From a high point in 2020 of 126,000 members, the number in August 2022 was 104,000 – a drop of 17.46%

    However, we also know that since August 2022, the numbers of members leaving the SNP has been enormous, mainly due to lack of any real progress towards what is supposedly the SNP’s raison d’etre, mismanagement of the country and of course the FM’s incredulous fascination with gender politics and the creation of the absurd, deeply flawed and unpopular GRR Bill.

    This year’s membership figures for the SNP will make for interesting reading!

    The question that Ash Regan should be asking their “continuity candidate” is, “You have stated that you wish to continue with the policies of the current FM – does that mean, if elected to Leader and FM, that you intend carrying on in exactly the same manner as you have done and which has led to the massive loss of members recently?

  34. Tom says:

    Ash on R4 PM programme earlier with Evan Davis; starts about 33 mins in, including preview with STV’s Colin MacKay:

  35. Graf Midgehunter says:

    A woman is an adult human female.

    ALL women need your support so get the petition signed.

    “Sign the petition to make the Equality Act clear

    Will you join the 95,610 people who have already signed the petition?”

  36. Dorothy Devine says:

    Dan , thanks for that – what a bunch of devious liars they were and continue to be.

  37. Bill Craig says:

    Slightly off-topic, but relevant to the context, I see a pointed criticism of Humza Yousaf on a matter of fact in today’s Scottish Legal News.

    Evidence of incompetence, I reckon, in someone who used to be the Secretary for Justice, no less:
    “Humza Yousaf has promised to decriminalise abortion in Scotland – despite the fact it is not a crime here.”
    By Kapil Summan, editor.

  38. laukat says:

    The Newsnight piece scares me. I expected a Yousef stooge but the likes of Sylvia and Don really worry me.

    To be swithering between Yousef and Forbes implies you are judging on presentation and not what their policy differences are as they are quite far apart on social issues and thats not a criticism of Sylvia’s thinking to me that’s more a reflection that SNP branch members have been told that style matters more than substance because fundamentally that’s what Sturgeon did.

    For Don to like the regional Assemblies policy of Yousef means he’s either not aware that it will be stuffed full of people picking up a pay check or that actually he is aware but see’s nothing wrong with that because that’s the norm in Sturgeon’s SNP.

    The fact that none of the four had really heard of Regan re-enforces how much Murrell has centralised power and influenced thinking at grassroots level.

    Its been known for while that dissent at the top tier wasn’t allowed and only the Murrell’s opinion mattered. I think the Newsnight piece shows that grassroot level SNP is riddled with that thinking.

    the only hope in the piece was Steve who represented the soul of the SNP in its hay-day but even he is voting for a candidate (Forbes) who doesn’t align with his thinking rather than voting for a candidate (Regan) who has policies in line with his thinking. I fear even he has succumbed to the idea of style of substance and if you lose the soul of a party there’s not much hope.

  39. Doug says:

    The SNP will go the same way as Ireland’s IPP.

  40. Geoff Anderson says:

    Just watched Debate Night – Why!!!

    I had a low opinion regarding the abilities of Jenni Minto before tonight but her pathetic performance has driven that to a new low.

    Did Sturgeon have a mission to ensure that the SNP became devoid of talent?
    Did surrounding herself with incompetent people ensure she never faced challenge?

    Minto is of course a Humza supporter.

  41. Wee Chid says:

    Roland and Sheila are two I recognise. I’ve seen them around at SNP and Yes events. As for Scott – the least said the better but words like sleekit wee nyaff come to mind. I’ve been told that he favours the legalisation of prostitution and reckons that loads do it to fund their way through university – male and female, I presume.
    As a former member of a Branch in the Dumfriesshire area who now fits the 60+ description I would have been voting for Ash Regan.
    I might add that the most active Yes campaign group in the D&G area is Pensioners for Independence who have been constantly campaigning with street stalls etc all during the Nic inaction years.

  42. DebzoHighland says:

    I phoned my uncle on Sunday to wish him a happy 83rd birthday. A life long Indy Supporter.
    I really was taken aback when he told me that he didn’t want to vote SNP at the next election!
    He would never vote for any of the unionist parties….so he didn’t know what to do.
    My advice was to vote for any other Indy Supporting candidate who may appear in his candidates list ( except the pretendy Indy Greens) or if there wasn’t one….to use his ballot paper to write a message to SNP telling them why he no longer believed in them to fight for Indy.
    Possibly looks like I will be doing the same.
    Spent the day today with my 89 year old aunt & she is now resigned to the belief that she will not now live to see our country free. ( I did request that if she passes before Indy that she spend some dedicated time in actively haunting those that have actively waylayed it!)
    Then I visited my 85 year old mother who told me that she had received a couple of letters from the SNP…..whom she had stopped financially supporting at least a couple of years ago. One asking her to sell raffle tickets for them & another urging her to reinstate her direct debit membership as all Indy Support is now needed……..because blah blah.
    She said she was going to put all the unsold raffle tickets into the prepaid envelope & send them back to party HQ & not even bother to reply to their begging letter.
    My Dad… doubt….is spinning in his grave over the state of the Party that he once championed to regain our independence.
    My 27 year old Son is currently out in Australia, but keeps up with our politics on social media & phones me in despair at what he is seeing… is now considering staying on the other side of the world!
    So….out of 6 previously active (living) SNP supporting family members….there are now none!
    Mother, Aunt, Uncle, Son, Partner & Me!
    Well done NuSNP….you are actively destroying your previous supporter base.
    Good job there are other genuine membership lead Independence Parties available for us all to vote for. Let’s just pray that they are able to field candidates in all regions.

  43. davidwferguson says:

    @ DebzoHighland says:

    She said she was going to put all the unsold raffle tickets into the prepaid envelope & send them back to party HQ & not even bother to reply to their begging letter…

    Tell her not to do that. She should sell the raffle tickets, keep the money, and spend it on herself. Then when someone from the SNP comes asking for it she can tell them it’s woven through her accounts.

  44. Louise Hogg says:

    Fairly logical that those still in the SNP after 8 years of inaction, a growing list of barely concealed scandals and increasingly incompetent governance, will be the ill-informed, the easily mislead, the dubiously motivated and those clinging on in hopes that the ship will be steadied as a precursor to actually moving forward.

    I left and then joined ALBA. Decisions I don’t regret.

    However, whether Scotland is best served by the turmoil of the SNP sinking without trace or a stabilised SNP, I don’t know.

    The upshot of the above composition of the membership, will either be an HQ Humza-rigging, or a style-over-substance win. If the former, how soon before some tricky question like ‘what is a woman?’ brings him down? If the latter, the question will be what genuine substance lurks below whichever style appeals to the members?

    Ash will need the advice of those she is at least willing to seek out. Kate will need the moral compass she at least has. I think they will both need each other.

  45. PhilM says:

    Just saw your tweet about Shona Robison Stu…ha ha ha…very good.
    This made me think about something I was looking at a few weeks ago. It’s the number of SNP MSPs who can be identified as being part of the executive (this problem also came up decades ago down at that Westminster).
    Our legislature has 129 members and adding the feckin’ useless Greens we have 27 MSPs in the executive. We have 10 MSPs in the Cabinet and 17 MSPs as Ministers (15 SNP, 2 Groins). So a fifth of our legislature make up the executive and most of them have matured in govt under the worst most controlling politician Scotland has yet seen.
    Then we have 64 SNP MSPs and a few of those such as Sturgeotti and Swinney are probably (and hopefully) never going to be let near the levers of power ever again.
    So how might a Kate Forbes or Ash Regan administration fare when Sturgeotti’s leftovers will be bumping their gums at the result and when the pool of talent in the Parly is…how shall we put it…of the paddling variety. Then we’ve got Sturgeotti and Swinney hanging around for the rest of the term no doubt hissing from the backbenchers at the torching of their ‘legacy’.
    Will something like normal politics return where political ambition sets in after the end of the ancien régime and when it looks like there’s going to be more freedom in the Cabinet to formulate policy so that taken together the Stugeotti era will quickly seem like a fading nightmare or are Kate or Ash going to be stuck in a civil war of attrition with mutinous subalterns? Would Ash dare to populate a cabinet with those who voted against the GRR bill…or is the internal SNP reality so bad that she won’t have a choice but to do exactly that?
    Let’s hope at the very least the Sturgeotti mediocrities are out of the Parly all together within a few years.

  46. David Thomson says:

    How can the party be broke with an estimated 75,000 members?

  47. Geri says:

    What’s the chances of Ash & Kate doing a deal (like Salmond did) with one of them stepping back from the race with a pact if they win they’ll make the other deputy dawg?

    I want Ash to win. Tbh I dunno if their friendship has cooled since Kate went radio silent over Ash resignation/GRR silence/shit she took in parliament during debates. She didn’t reciprocate a compliment Ash paid her in one of the TV meetings they had at the start which was a bit of an ouch.

    I dunno why Kate threw her hat in the ring. A chancer? She was on maternity for all of GRR but obviously didn’t mind speed dialling a babysitter to dump the baby when the top job became available.

    My gut instinct tells me she’s not to be trusted. Ok as deputy for a dummy run?

  48. David W Ferguson says:

    Baffled as to why my previous comment has been held for moderation. Testing.

  49. Effijy says:

    I’ve long term been interested in the true number of U.K. Covid related deaths even to
    ask under freedom of information but their get out is to send you a sea of downloads where you could spend your life trying to figure out what’s in there.

    I found this link

    It seems that in September there were around 310,000 deaths and with an average weekly figure since then of over 600 we are looking at 325,000 to 330,000.

    The Tories claim their Covid management has been world beating?
    What with a third of a million dead, crippled NHS with 7 Million on waiting lists, corrupt Billions spent on Emergency Contracts and PPE for their friends and supporters and of course Dido Harding’s pathetic track and trace wasting £45 Billion.

    Success? I really don’t think so.

  50. Etticus says:

    Support of independence is 37% and 40% last two polls I’ve seen. Neither of those polls are from after the leadership candidates turned on each other, I fully expect support to drop further when more up to date polls are issued.

    The scales have fallen from peoples eyes, they’ve started to realise what a shambolic corrupt incompetent mess Nicola Sturgeons administration was. Just wait until the truth comes out, it’s going to be a slaughter and what will do the most damage will be the scale of the cover up.

    It was always going to happen when people based their votes on a notional Indy carrot rather than honesty and competence. People were voting for Nicola Sturgeon when they knew she was unfit for public life and it is they who created this mess. All of you take a bow.

    I doubt support for independence has ever been as high as people think, the SNP got Angus Robertson to set up his poll rigging operation to try and drive public opinion. SNP members thought they’d be clever and lie to polling orgs by pretending to be Labour voters resulting in junk results. Indy supporters would set up polls with leading questions. The yes/no question would be deployed instead of leave/remain. All they were doing was lying to themselves. The adage garbage in garbage out has never been more apt.

    None of these 3 candidates are going to change anything, they are all tainted and none of them will survive for very long and we will get another leadership election within 18 months. The party might never recover, I won’t shed a tear. Good riddance.

  51. Ron Clark says:

    What happened to the Stone of Destiny debate?

  52. Vivian O’Blivion says:

    Kezia Dugdale, Director of the John Smith Centre for Public Service uses her weekly column in The Courier to give Humza Yousaf the MI5 stamp of approval. Nuff said.

  53. Geoff Anderson says:

    BarrheadBoy and Robin McAlpine

  54. John Main says:

    A fascinating dissection of the kind of numpties that will get to choose the new leader of Scotland.

    If I was a professional politician I too would hold the voters in contempt. It would be insufferable to be constantly having to listen to the uninformed bleatings of people who evidently can’t be arsed to even find out what the candidates are saying.

    “I’m voting for X because he says Y”, when actually he said Z, is risible. It goes a long way towards explaining why so many voters think politicians are liars though. It’s the voters that are thick, or suffering from memory loss.

    No surprise that Scott Adams claims that in the USA, its always the guy with the best hair that wins.

    Here in Scotland, it looks like the candidate with the biggest, reddest, juiciest carrots could win again. There’s your continuity candidate right there:

    “Carrots! Get your luverly carrots here!”

  55. John Main says:

    @Ron Clark says:9 March, 2023 at 7:13 am

    What happened to the Stone of Destiny debate?

    Was that a debate?

    Looked more like a haunch of raw, bleeding meat hurled into a pack of slavering hounds to keep them busy and distracted.

    Sometimes carrots won’t cut it. Raw, red meat is needed.

  56. gregor says:

    Mhairi Hunter (08/03/2023): Twitter:

    “Once again I must say no health minister could have done a better job than Humza Yousaf. He’s been navigating a perfect storm…”:

  57. Gordon Gekko says:

    What a huge Oppertunity for Alba to take a lot of votes away from the SNP after this shambles.

    The chance is there and it all depends on their strategy and vision and how they position themselves. Question is do they have the skill set within the party to achieve it?

    For Alba the time is now !

  58. John Main says:

    @Effijy says:9 March, 2023 at 7:06 am

    You seem upset about Covid.

    Why not blame those responsible?

    The Chinese government.

    The Chinese government accidentally (probably accidentally) unleashed a synthetic bioweapon on the world that has killed hundreds of millions and cost us trillions of whatever currency you wish to use.

    It’s the biggest single act of destruction in all of human history. Never before has human agency had such a global effect.

    But because the only way humanity can survive is to pretend it didn’t happen like that we all mostly agree to pretend it was something else.

    Apart from you trying to pretend it’s all the Tories fault. In Scotland, where all responsibility for health and social care stops at HR, your claims are beyond risible.

    Change the record FFS.

  59. Jock McTavish says:

    It’s a shame we are all wasting our breath here. The fix is well and truly in already. Landslide for HY and on we go down the carrot orange road. Then murrels quietly disappear and the SNP sink into oblivion continues as they transition neatly into the young woke shouty party.

  60. Breeks says:

    Gordon Gekko says:
    9 March, 2023 at 8:06 am
    What a huge Oppertunity for Alba to take a lot of votes away from the SNP after this shambles.

    Yes, but there’s a far bigger opportunity to address Scottish Independence in a far more constructive direction, Constitutionally using the Claim of Right and International Law, rather than the ineffective treadmill of a supine Holyrood which allows itself and Scotland to be subjugated by invasive colonial doctrines.

    Scotland should be taking Section 30 and 35, indeed the whole rotten Scotland Act, and driving a Constitutional steam roller over the lot on our way to the UN.

    It is unknown the extent to which Sturgeon’s SNP has actually wrecked of chances of securing Independence. There indications support for Independence is flagging, which is hardly surprising considering the past eight years of corruption, incompetence, and the serial misuse and appropriation of Independence mandates to promote Sturgeon’s Perverts Charter.

    My instincts are telling me the SNP isn’t ready to be fixed yet. The cretins who caused this bonfire and loitering on the scene apparently expecting medals for the sterling service they’ve given to the cause. Even to have a “continuity” candidate in the leadership race is telling evidence that many in the SNP remain dangerously deluded, and unfit to be trusted with Scotland’s future.

    The elephant in the room is whether this “faction”, which might even be a majority faction, can be rescued and brought back under a YES umbrella, or whether it’s too far gone and toxic to be risked.

    For now, I think a body of people are kidding themselves the SNP can be salvaged overnight, and I don’t know, maybe it can, but as more and more cracks emerge in the dam, when it breaks and rotten SNP under Sturgeon and Murrell is at last exposed to scrutiny, all things remotely SNP will be tainted to a greater or lesser degree.

    For myself, I believe Scottish Independence can be won on a technicality, and even survive the demise of the Union while there isn’t a popular majority in Scotland for it… It’s doing it the hard way, but I believe it would succeed. But it’s the “what happens next” case scenario which troubles me, if we don’t have a competent semblance of Government, (whatever form it takes), which has the cunning and political acumen to cope with some intense pressures and baptism of fire for Scottish Independence won on a technicality.

    Scotland needs to be absolutely on top of it’s game, and ready to dominate the negotiations and agenda for Scotland’s Independence the way Michel Barnier was always in the driving seat throughout the Brexit negotiations.

    We need a step change in competence and confidence, not just a purge of Wokist insurrectionists, but a defibrillator style jolt given to the kick start a competent, on-the-ball and streetwise Scottish Government in waiting.

    I’m not sure it’s enough to have Sara Salyers and SALVO on point. Maybe it is, but if Sara is to be our spearpoint, we need a fully committed Faculty of Advocates at one shoulder and a resolute Convention of the Estates / Provisional Scottish Government at her other shoulder.

    Do we need Holyrood adding it’s weight there too? Yes, if it’s a Holyrood espousing the ascendancy of Scotland’s Red Popular Sovereignty, but a Vichy Holyrood is of no use to the cause or Scotland.

    Holyrood must decide what it is, before we Scots can decide if Holyrood’s contribution helps or hinders us.

  61. steve+ellwood says:

    Like Roy Victor: I’m English by birth, and infrequently comment here.

    Unlike Roy Victor, I’m Scottish by avocation, and have supported Scottish Independence for the last 20+ years.

    For the last 15, I’ve been a member of political parties that support independence.

    Up till the last three years, I was an SNP activist, chapping doors GOTav, canvassing, standing stalls. Conference, the whole 9 yards, including running online hustings.

    The fiddling of the list rankings by a corrupt NEC, enabled by a supine National Secretary made me leave the party, with hundreds like me.

    I don’t support the GRR, or the HCB.

    I like Kate Forbes – I was involved in her selection – and she will always have a personal vote from me.

    Yousaf is indeed useless, and a craven misogynist bully, and would be a disaster.

    Ash Regan is the only one with a vision to take Scotland to Independence in a straight path.

    *If* she wins, and *if* she clears out the dead wood (including the Greens) we stand a chance.

  62. Ottomanboi says:

    Having been born well into the year 2003, albeit «abroad», I have found young Scots to be largely indifferent to politics. Independence, if it happens ok, if it doesnt ok.
    Leaving the country ok too. The social media mind is rootless and self obsessed.
    There is plainly no discernable dynamic in Scottish nationalism. It appears dull, at best grey but certainly nothing interesting there. No candidate excites. The winner will be an «apparatchik» of some hue. The boat will not be rocked the punters dont care for that.
    Whose fault? Do not need to overexercise the grey cells.
    Sturgeon, smug complacency, lack of imagination, Britishness, weariness, demographic decline, the thing itself is I suspect intellectually moribund and will remain so until the fire returns. For that you need to have the courage to rekindle the flame and the rest…..
    Where Québec led is Scotland following? I do pray not.
    This is definitely no time for complacency, crying into your uisge beatha or the customary «noble» resignation.
    The «Great» Britain of the older generation is at last slipping into decline. Its apogee in 2023 will be an old man having a fancy hat put on his head by another old man in a fancy hat….oh the semiotics…

  63. Republicofscotland says:

    Y’know last night watching the hustings in Johnstone, and Yousaf answering a question on working with the Greens if he were FM, one would have thought if they didn’t know that Yousaf was a SNP minister, that he was a Green minister such was his adoration for the Greens.

    Later when the hustings was finished several SNP members when asked who they were voting for plumped for Yousaf, meaning that those members are not interested in independence for neither is Yousaf, nor Forbes for that matter.

  64. Etticus says:

    @john main

    Effigy is wrong about the EU and wrong about covid.

    The Chinese are the ones to blame, everyone in power knows it but to do something about it would mean facing china down and threatening war and no one this side of Donald Trump has the minerals to do so. There are a whole lot of reasons from this ranging from straight up cowardice to being obsessed with using China to offshore manufacturing in pursuit of the agenda of never ending economic growth while driving down domestic carbon emissions.

    My view is China’s plan was to weaken the west economically and catch it between the pincer of pandemic induced economic disaster and Russia invading Ukraine. Then china would take its cue and invade Taiwan and the now weak west would stand by and let them do it. Of course the courage of Ukraine has put a spanner in the works and now china are not so sure about invading Taiwan.

    If you look at the UK performance during covid it is slap bang in the middle of European countries. It is nothing like as bad as the agenda laden spinners would have you believe and it is better than that of Queen Nicola despite the protestations by the SNP 1&2 crowd and of course she only had to do half a job as she didn’t need to find the money to pay for everything. As per usual it was all smoke and mirrors from bute house.

  65. SusanAHF says:

    Breeks what is “Scotland’s Red Popular Sovereignty “?

  66. Rogerborg says:

    The only thing of which I am sure is that this election will be decided – even more so than usual – by feelings, not facts.

    And one of those feelings may be Murrell’s views on what constitutes a… legitimate vote.

  67. sadscot says:

    “but obviously didn’t mind speed dialling a babysitter to dump the baby when the top job became available.”
    Bit over the top, is it not? Are you saying because she’s a new mother on maternity leave she shouldn’t have stood? In any case,she has stressed she has great support from her own mum and her mum-in-law. She did not “dump” her baby.

  68. socratesmacsporran says:

    Geoff Anderson @ 9.33am

    Very funny, and so spot-on, it hurts.

  69. Mia says:

    “My instincts are telling me the SNP isn’t ready to be fixed yet”

    Judging by the number of Mps/MSPs who have parroted the script in support for Yousaf, my instints tell me the SNP is beyond repair. We should stop wasting our time and energy trying to cover with plasters its cracks the size of the mariannas trench and simply bypass it.

    Even in the best case scenario for independence, which would be for Ms Reagan to win the leadership context, the rot is in far too deep. She would have to pretty much change completely the lists of candidates, eject all the troughers and place proper anti-union candidates instead to restore trust.

    This is a work of years, not weeks. I can speak for myself. After watching in disgust how my MSP stood side by side with that Green Party violent male prostitute holding a placard and after voting to endorse perverts, rapists and paedophiles, I will never cast my vote for this individual again, even if he became the only candidate in the ward. A man who puts the wants of rapists, perverts and paedophiles ahead of the wellbeing of women and children, and then goes to endorse the most useless of the three candidates to leader displays no sound judgement and therefore cannot be trusted with a seat nor ability to legislate.

    Same goes for my trougher MP. Decades in Westminster and WTF has he achieved? A nice pension. How does that benefit Scotland?

    The trust is gone. That trust can only come back with fresh faces and REAL and DEMONSTRABLE committment to end the union, by for example committing to not swear allegiance and take the seats. But realistically, of the present crop of troughers, how many will have the spine to do that? I would say none.

    It is very likely all these troughers, pension accruers and all those who had anything to do with the dodgy dealings during Sturgeon’s disastrous stewardship, will fight tooth and nail to bring Ms Reagan down and to stop her clearling out the rot and removing the wheels of their beloved gravy train.

    I just watched for a couple of minutes the debate where Yousaf was embarrassing himself (and anybody watching) by rudely and loudly speaking all over Kate so she could not be heard. He just demonstrated in those few seconds he is an arrogant idiot with absolutely no manners, no respect for women and not prepared to listen to anything other than the sound of his own voice. What a politician. What a man.

    The thing is This is the usual tactic deployed by the brainless tories who have nothing positive to say and are trying to deflect scrutiny, which begs the question if his campaign advisor has been lended by the tories.

    Yousaf constantly talks about the need to fight the S35. But he does not explain why. He bleats about democracy, but he does not go to explain how you can call democracy to the act of the MSPs barricading themselves in Holyrood to force through a piece of legislation the overwhelming majority in Scotland rejects in the strongest possible terms. That isn’t democracy. It is abuse.

    Yet, I have not heard a fucking peep from any of them, ANY, about fighting the ruling of that English court against the referendum bill nor its blatant encroachment in Scotland’s democratic rights. Not a peep. I also see that the useless lady advocate who invited this English court to stick its nose in Scotland’s business remains in post. Under what parallel dystopian universe is this gender crap nonsense and the propping of rapists and paedophiles more important than defending Scotland’s legitimate right to self determination and to unilaterally end the treaty of union?

    Are this man and those endorsing him for real?

    Listening to the crap emanating from Yousaf’s mouth I could not believe anybody, other than the most staunch defenders of the union, could support this individual.

    There is another thing though. Our MPs are watching this fix as it unfolds and they are doing nothing. I do not mean to simply whine in twitter. I mean to grab the bull by the horns and force the whole fucking charade to stop and turn on its head to make it a fair, credible context. They just have to declare they will become independents if it does not happen.

    For instance, that Emma Harper was left off the hook with a slap in the wrist. WTF? Joanna Cherry is being “reported” for the “crime” of retweeting something and this person, who actively breached rules and effectively has potentially rigged the outcome of a leadership context in a particular area is left off the hook by sending a dishonest apology to the other two candidates? Is this for real? Do they take us for fools?

    If I was an anti-union SNP MP I would not be standing by any of this crap. I would be demanding Murrell and Co to stand down with immediate effect and would be demanding the immediate suspension of Emma Harper and any other idiot who has dared to intefere with the process, no matter how high in the hierarchy they are.

  70. Breeks says:

    SusanAHF says:
    9 March, 2023 at 9:33 am

    Breeks what is “Scotland’s Red Popular Sovereignty “?

    I once wrote an article on Barrheadboy comparing Scotland’s Red Sovereignty, (given red pigment to denote the terrerstial flesh and blood of the people), versus Westminster’s “White” Sovereignty, given white pigment to denote the heavenly white clouds of a English divine Sovereignty.

    I then asked the question, what colour sovereignty did Holyrood have in it’s veins? Red Scottish Sovereignty, White Westminster Sovereignty, Pink Sovereignty, or Raspberry Ripple Sovereignty.

  71. stuart mctavish says:

    Curious lot the oxbridge set but if their old axiom about teotwaki when men be wearing skirts South of Watford is anything to go by this wee gem could make for a fun but intriguing pickme up this morning :

    Setting aside the possibility that ACH makes for as dapper a proud Scot but as Humza’s it raises at least 2 half decent questions :

    (a) If Scotland becomes an islamic caliphate post indy, will Humza remain Scottish enough to make Alex an honourary muslim and allow him as many pretty wives as desired (or will his reputation as continuity candidate mean his predecessors predecessor must be shunned lest his own position as caliph is usurped par la suite)

    (b) If any of those potential marriages are not arranged in advance, should Alba be obliged to stand in the constituencies of each and every MP and MSP coming out in support of SNP leadership candidates known to be averse to working alongside it in pursuit of independence (defacto unionist or not).

  72. Oneliner says:

    Alba will not take a lot of votes from the SNP as long as Alex Salmond remains leader. No smoke without fire.

    However narrowly, AS left the door open to let the fire-raisers in. There are those in the SNP who can only see the smoke – not the arson which caused it.

    Apologies for the extended metaphor.

  73. Robert Hughes says:

    When Bumza The TranSturgeon calamity-magnet is duly installed to complete the controlled demolition of the SNP/Independence started by & continuing under the Sturrell Beard n Merkin Corp , the polls ( re Independence support ) hit subterranean levels , heterosexuality is made a Hate Crime , the Groins ( lol for that PhilM ) dispose of the Slarvie comedy duopoly and elect 341 leaders of the Party to reflect gender equity & calls to rebrand Scotland as North Transylvania are met with general approval …..

    Those people interviewed – above , will nod sagely and think to themselves ..” yes , we were definitely right to choose Humza “

  74. Luigi says:

    I think the SNP elites know that they are stuffed in the short term. Is this why none of the remaining heavyweights (Swinney, Russell, Robertson) decided to enter the race this time? Polling indicated that Angus Robertson could have won easily if he wanted it. Does he not want it?(maybe he does). Perhaps the idea is to get Humza in to hold the fort, make a complete shambles of it and then in a year or two, here comes Angus to the rescue, like a knight in shining armour (and continuity is maintained).

    A cunning plan if so. The only problem (and it’s massive) is that the other contenders are increasingly looking like a much better option with voters (party members). Humza is looking so out of his depth that it may now take a massive dose of jiggery pokery to fix it so that he takes the prize. There have been attempts already to make Humza look more plausible (as the “favourite”) when he “wins”, but will the rank and file accept this insult to their intelligence?

    I think Humza may well “win” the leadership contest, simply because the SNP elites and executive cannot afford to let Kate or Ash anywhere near the books. I don’t know how they will pull it off, but they will have a bloody good try. They are in full panic mode. Desperate people do crazy things. The big unknown is will the SNP members accept it? Interesting times.

  75. Alf Baird says:

    Peedoff Scot @ 9:29 pm

    “As far as the true membership figures of the SNP is concerned”

    I hear it may now be closer to 25,000. Though this seems to matter little when a colonial territory may be’managed’ by perhaps 1,000 well-positioned ‘operatives’ across key institutional decision making bodies.

  76. Ebok says:

    In chess parlance, we’re deep into the endgame with the clock fast running down as SNP’s once dominant position is no more. Having blundered and lost their queen, SNP pawns are desperately trying to fend off attacks on their beleaguered king, with no hope of counterplay.

    The flag on the clock will fall and signal the end of play at noon on March 27. At that point, Alex Salmond’s good people still left in SNP will finally call it a day by deserting the sinking SS Humza and/or the lost at sea SS Lady Kate. The SNP remnants, now a minority administration, will abandon plans for an emergency debate on the SC ruling and concentrate on S35 and trans issues. HR will be in total disarray. The entire political class will stand naked. YES will unite around a battleplan devised in the weeks leading up to the announcement of the chosen one. Gloves will come off; excrement will hit the fan and we’ll get on with the decisive battle for Independence.
    It didn’t have to be this way. Us and Them.

  77. Dorothy Devine says:

    Just got an e-mail form Chris McEleny of the ALBA party outlining the appalling measures taken against that party by the National – that so called independence supporting paper.

    Utter dregs that they are – time for folk to stop paying any money towards the Herald /National.

  78. Luigi says:

    Oneliner says:
    9 March, 2023 at 10:53 am
    Alba will not take a lot of votes from the SNP as long as Alex Salmond remains leader.

    I don’t think that Alba’s current inertia has anything to do with AS. He has always had large numbers of people both for and against him, even at his peak. IMO Alba is still not viewed as a credible option by the vast majority of independence supporters. Many are sitting on the fence, however, so all Alba has to do is keep going, working hard and chipping away at the credibility barrier. The breakthrough can come suddenly. Just by existing, Alba are already exerting a powerful influence – punching way above their weight. Hang on in there! Some unionists I know are already anticipating (worrying) that AS will be back one day. Stranger things have happened.

  79. Vestas says:

    Geoff Anderson says:
    “9 March, 2023 at 7:55 am

    BarrheadBoy and Robin McAlpine

    This is well worth 70 minutes of people’s time. Not really telling me anything I didn’t already know but I recommend it as Robin is a smart guy & knows his business well.

  80. Sharney Dubs says:

    Alf Baird, I received an email just an hour ago referring to me as an SNP member when I told them to gtf months ago if not years (now a founder member of Alba), maybe that’s how they calculate their membership?

  81. Geri says:

    Sadscot 9:54

    ‘Bit over the top, is it not?’


    She missed vital votes. Especially the one keeping male rapists out of women’s prisons. One vote short to the amendment. Hers.

    Where was her mother that day?

    Much fuss was made of useless dodging gay marriage vote. Kate dodged the whole GRR.

    Having a baby isn’t a disability. During Brexit Mayhem had the sick & the dying summoned to WM. Throwing up in buckets from the benches or babies strapped to thier mam.

    I don’t think she should slide into the top job. I have an uneasy feeling about her. I can see her being another Sturgeon constantly talking shite thinking WM will cave one day.

  82. Breeks says:

    Oneliner says:
    9 March, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Alba will not take a lot of votes from the SNP as long as Alex Salmond remains leader. No smoke without fire.

    I wish Alex Salmond was the litigious type, and could be relied upon to sue smearing halfwits like you for defamation.

  83. Oneliner says:


    I make no value judgement on ‘sleepy cuddles’ from a married man. Perhaps those are your standards, They are not mine.

    PS I’m happy with my IQ score

  84. Mia says:

    “Alba will not take a lot of votes from the SNP as long as Alex Salmond remains leader”

    Well, as a woman who found utterly revolting and unforgivable the actions of a corrupt civil service, shameless opportunistic perjurers, unprincipled SNP executive and Sturgeon’s rotten to the core government for wasting millions of our taxpayers’ money in a farce making a mockery of a criminal trial and police investigation for the sake of political gain, I have very happily and very willingly transferred my pro-independence vote and donations from my embarrasing SNP MP and MSP troughers to Alba.

    Let me tell you I have no regrets and no remorse. On the contrary. It has been liberating.

    “There is no smoke without fire”

    Absolutely. And that is why the industrial scale bouts of “smoke” emanating from Murrell, his magpies, Fabiani’s farce, the COPFS, the former Crown Agent, Sturgeon’s praetorian guard, the collection of spineless (useless?) MSPs and MPs queuing up like obedient sheep to compromise their integrity and reading a script in support for Yousaf attempting to dishonestly influence public opinion, cannot happen without a huge fire.

    Incidentally, the massive amount of smoke around the £600,000 woven through the accounts, the perjurers, the dismantling of the democratic structures of the SNP, Sturgeon’s announcement that a vote for the SNP was not a vote for independence right at the point the SNP was about to win by a landslide, the fact Sturgeon’s supporters get off with a slap on the wrist for breaking rules or the number of “senior” SNP figures emphatically embracing labour policies, cannot happen without a huge fire either.

    And well, what to say about labour, libdems, SNP and Green teaming up to endorse the wants of perverts, rapists and paedophiles while crushing the safety of women, and then clapping like seals to a collection of male prostitutes, freaks and oddballs dressed as women. As you say, there is no smoke without fire. And sure there must be some smoking hot black books out there.

  85. iain MacGillivray says:

    The SNP is beyond redemption right enough Mia, the lot at WM are deep in the trough and keeping their heads down. The forces arrayed against us must be passing around the bubbly as they have surely taken the legs off the Yes movement. Almost a decade and we are left with this debacle, a race to the bottom that is surely nearing the finishing line. Where is the fire, where is the outrage, nowhere to be seen. Ash Regan may win though I doubt they will let that happen, but then like Corbyn she’ll need a kevlar jacket to stop the stabs in the back. Perhaps strategically the best outcome is for Forbes to win and chase the wokerati over to the atrociously inept greens where they belong, but she is definitely too young and too compliant, so that has no long term future. Yuseless will cement the status quo and finish off the exodus from a once great party. More dead than the dodo that is the labour party – north and south of the border. It’s not great is it, but again trying to look on the bright side, this dead-end is now closed, we have to look elsewhere and not wait for any more cunning plans and let’s face it, Sturgeon’s cunning plan was a classic but not for us or our independence.

  86. Geri says:

    Hear, hear.

    We’re not defeated.
    We get up & keep moving.

    One day the Murrells & thier perjurers will be uncovered. Tho we already know it was dodgy as feck.

  87. The three of them are taking each other apart and I am not seeing any real plan on how to get Indy

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