Preparing for Defeat – 30 November 2023


Humza Yousaf has earned respect for his sincere and principled position on Gaza. There’s nothing like the personal to energise the political but he’s been passionate and shown a human side, endearing him to many who did not know him or had never seen that aspect.

But on the domestic agenda he’s floundering. Circling the wagons to defend against repeated failings and despite having the best spin doctor in Scottish politics you can only play the hand you’re dealt.

The intention to give a “robust” defence to Alex Salmond’s legal action simply confirming that it’s “continuity SNP” taking ownership of his predecessor’s actions. Wiser counsel would have advised no comment or simply a reference to responsibility as the current serving First Minister but without accepting culpability for actions taken before his tenure. This barb smacks of a defence of “Sturgeonism” which is now a curse coming to fruition upon the new regime.

An SNP activist I was speaking to recently suggested that he hadn’t really put a foot wrong since his arrival. Really? Other that is than two MP’s and 2 MSP’s gone, What’s App messages perhaps in the ether, a senior Minister now just a matter of when not if he goes. This isn’t sure footed but cack handed. To be fair much has been inherited but that’s what he sought and that’s what he’s now defending. And it’s only going to get worse.

When Brexit happened there was at least bluster. The gentleman crofter bellowing in Westminster that “Scotland wouldn’t be dragged out of the EU against it’s will”. But it was and without even a by your leave or even a scintilla of effort by the SNP to negotiate terms that were apparently on offer and would have mitigated harm.

Now we face the absurdity of a petroleum producing nation lacking a refinery capacity. It’s “banana republic” stuff. Taking your raw commodity at a discount and selling you back a refined product at a premium. But what’s been the reaction this time of the SNP/Green administration? Muted and not even the faux outrage of Mr Blackford.

They’re going with a whimper not even a bang proving yet again that the tawdry Bute House deal with the Greens’s was nothing to do with independence and everything to do with self-interest, whether Sturgeon’s “identity politics” or Harvie’s desire for Ministerial office.

The SNP’s now preparing for defeat. Already openly accepting that they’re going backwards and yet somehow trying to argue they’ll use that as the base to go forward. A recent social media post by a candidate for a currently SNP held seat parroted the drive for independence in his call to arms for activists. Yet he never explained what the sitting MP had been doing in Westminster all these years or how he could do any different with the same lamentable strategy.

I also recently heard of an SNP MP acknowledging likely defeat but stating that given their age it was seemingly acceptable, others are job-hunting. But acceptable to whom? I know the area they represent, and the blood, sweat and tears shed by so many to win it. Contempt’s turning to rage. The independence movement hasn’t gone away but the SNP needs fundamental reform or replaced. As now it’s going down without even a fight.