The National:

JOANNA Cherry chose to be circumspect today in her speech to the SNP conference. In it, she referred to the "Trumpian" behaviour of Boris Johnson in continuing to veto a second referendum. “If ever any UK leader was capable of Trumpian behaviour then it is Boris Johnson,” she said. “So, it makes sense for us to think about what we should do if he continues to veto a second referendum.”

The party’s Westminster spokesperson for home affairs and justice might justifiably have used her speech to talk about the Trumpian behaviour that exists within her own party. Many of the SNP’s instincts and attitudes are easy to like. This much was clear in John Swinney’s announcement of free school meals for all of Scotland’s primary pupils.

However, there is also an open sewer running through this party. This was evident in those of its elected politicians and party workers who chose to sign an open letter about defending trans rights that had another objective: to maintain the campaign of bullying and intimidation that Cherry has been forced to endure for the last two years. This is mainly because of her insistence on speaking up for the sex-based rights of women in the debate over GRA reform.

The letter included an assortment of Cherry’s colleagues who like cowards were content to use it as a means of avoiding telling her to her face what they thought of her.

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It’s my sincere hope that Cherry, as formidable a lawyer as she is a politician, now seeks legal redress and hits them where it hurts them the most. And that she secures from her so-called comrades a full public apology. It’s been entertaining watching them scurrying for cover and contriving pathetic excuses to get themselves off the hook.

All the recent opinion polls – 14 of them now and counting – indicate support for Scottish independence at a historic high. Swinney’s free school meals will surely eradicate any doubt about the party gaining a comfortable overall majority at Holyrood next May. The SNP thus, has bought itself the luxury of being able to think hard about how it addresses the challenge of securing a second referendum.

All their planning and imagination must be focused on this. The NEC now needs to form a working group of its brightest and best to prosecute this. But before this can happen the party’s governing body must be shorn of the juvenile delinquents and leadership lickspittles who are preventing proper, grown-up policies from being taken forward.

READ MORE: Adam Price: Scotland and Wales must form our own Celtic Union

There must be a renewed focus on making the economy work and post-independence trading with the UK. A clear case must be made for regaining membership of the EU, but not at any cost. This, remember is a rich man’s banking club, and any future arrangement must be wholly to the benefit of Scottish workers.  

Most important of all though, Nicola Sturgeon must show true leadership to stop her party being a gathering place for bullies. And to stop the juvenile attacks on Common Weal and the wider Yes movement who are doing all the heavy lifting in ideas while their critics do nothing but indulge their worst instincts.