I INDICATED in a previous letter at the beginning of the leadership contest that given certain circumstances we could be watching the spectacular break-up of the SNP as a party. I made this statement with a large amount of “tongue in cheek”.

The basis of this observation was the clear division that materialised between the senior SNP politicians who unashamedly supported Humza Yousaf and at the same time demonised Kate Forbes. I speculated on what would happen if Forbes won and Yousaf lost and vice versa.

Clearly with a Kate Forbes win, many elected and non-elected members who publicly criticised her would have found getting behind the new leader extremely difficult, but hopefully because the SNP membership “had spoken” they would have united behind the new leader. I have to say, with the result now known I am now not so sure!

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In fact the factionalism and partisanship which has unashamedly emerged from sections of the SNP has become bitter, fractious, personal and full of bile. Perhaps such anger would have manifested itself in Kate Forbes failing to get the support of her own SNP MSP colleagues for the post of First Minister, unbelievable as that might seem!

As we now know, Humza Yousaf won with 52% of the vote, with Kate Forbes achieving 48% (after the second round). Now with the result so close, with almost half the vote going to Kate Forbes, you would think “the winner” would realise that this was a close-run thing and that almost half of the voting membership did not support him. What followed from the new leader and now FM was talk of moving from Team Humza, Team Kate and Team Ash to Team SNP.

Reconciliation was in the air, tolerance was required and bringing the party together was his top priority. As a member of the 48%, although disappointed I warmed to his words and intentions. Surely the “broad tent” government about which he spouted and the need to bring his bruised party together was his top priority.

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As a consequence I waited nervously for his new Cabinet proposals to leak out, believing that because his victory was wafer-thin, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan would be offered senior posts in his Cabinet. Both showed their mettle during the leadership campaign. Clearly Kate would retain finance and Ash would have a post driving independence forward. Even if reluctant, surely such decisions would go a long way to uniting the party. Even being cynical, “keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”.

Well would you believe it! What does he do? He offers Kate the Rural Affairs Secretary job! Not only is this a clear demotion and an offer he knew she would refuse, but it was and is a humiliation! An insult to Kate Forbes and the 48% of the membership who voted for her. Both now know the direction Humza Yousaf intends to take. No doubt aided and abetted by party mandarins, and dare I say the now-gone FM and her deputy, he has taken the road to the destruction of the party to which I have given my heart and soul.

It is clear that unless you meet the “progressive criteria” as laid down by the cabal now running the party and their Green friends, there is no tolerance or a place for you at the top table.

The future of my party is in doubt and my continued support of it. I will never, however, give up my dream of independence.

Dan Wood

QUITE a message to send out. Humiliation for Forbes. A position she could never accept. And the clearest message that the party is divided, which the Unionist press will seize on. Not only is indy now on the back burner, for the very doubters we’d hoped to sway it’s not even in the cookhouse.

James Taylor
via thenational.scot