Congratulations and good luck to Humza Yousaf, he’s going to need it. 52-48 against Kate Forbes was probably the worst result for New SNP. It won’t bother him as a win’s a win and he’s in power. But from the public and wider party perspective it’s the machine “what won it”. Kate Forbes came within a hairsbreadth of winning despite not being backed by many of the MPs, MSPs and Party staffers. But she did resonate with many of the rank and file.
How he squares that divide between many in the grassroots and the leadership, time will tell, but it won’t be easy. You’ve those who feel justified in what they’ve done and the direction their going in, yet nearly half aren’t. For them as Kate Forbes coined it “Continuity Won’t Cut It.”
A police investigation is ongoing into Party finances and there’s unhappiness in much of the camp as the loss of 30,000 members showed. Questions also still arise on membership when 30% didn’t vote. Really? A root and branch review of SNP HQ is required but that now certainly won’t be forthcoming, unless driven by events and which themselves could be highly damaging.
His failure to reach out to the losing side smacks of hubris. Kowtowing to the Greens and humiliating Forbes with a derisory offer bode ill. He’s pandering to his core support and ignoring the sizeable defeated faction. That’ll end in tears. Its bad politics at any time and especially when you’ve only just sneaked a win.
That’s because “Continuity won’t cut it” as that’ll just be continued failure and declining services. Ferry delays will continue, and Fergusons remains threatened. Being moderately better than south of the border the only target. None of that’s enough to encourage the wider party, let alone electorate.
As for the Party’s true goal of independence, a lot will depend upon whether he’s willing to support the establishment of a Constitutional Convention. Do that and he can seek to lead and bring folk together, failing to do so will be indicate an unwillingness to push for the action that the movement is crying out for. That already looks a forlorn hope and membership will further plummet.
New SNP has won but for how long, when change is what’s needed and more importantly what many want.