The Scottish National Party effectively stopped being a political party quite some time ago.
What is it now?
It is a nasty vile poisonous clique run along the lines of the ‘millionaires boys club’, people who get together for their own personal self advancement and greed.
SNP cronyism is so embedded in the party that the SNP deserve to lose the Scottish independence referendum and will.
A new cronyism row has blown up with Alex Salmond embroiled in it.
£16,000 of public support was given to a project headed by a senior member of the SNP and the pro-independence campaign.
Public money going to SNP members little ventures isn’t new, however many people would say that such practice is an abuse of power.
More than £9000 of taxpayers' money was spent on the launch of the Scottish Asian Women's Association (SAWA) at Stirling Castle last year.
The kicker is this was 48 hours after it applied to become a registered charity.
So, the SAWA threw a ‘do’ and half of the £9,000 was spent on grub which was hosted by the First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond.
No surprise that the founder and chairwoman of SAWA is Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, a member of the advisory board of the Yes Scotland campaign.
The SNP has form when its Glasgow Asian members set up groups, then the Scottish Government supplies them with public cash.
The Scottish Islamic Foundation was used as a vehicle to promote Osama Saeed and Humza Yousaf.
That organisation was so SNP crony ridden it was a disgrace.
So, who is Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh?
She is a former Pakistan television actress who now practices as a solicitor in Glasgow, prior to taking part in Nicola Sturgeon’s 2011 campaign; Ms. Ahmed-Sheikh had done no activism for 5 years.
At present, she is being pushed forward by the SNP leadership to become a Nationalist MEP next year.
Apparently she knows Alex Salmond since she defected from the Conservatives.
Ms Ahmed-Sheikh was also a Labour party member in the 1990s, then she stood for the Tories in the 1999 Holyrood election.
After failing to get elected she defected to the SNP, a switch Mr Salmond said was a coup.
In 2008, Alex Salmond put his support and considerable public money behind another group, the SIF headed by a friend and SNP candidate, and former aide Osama Saeed.
Saeed's Scottish Islamic Foundation made a series of overblown promises and was a complete failure, now the SNP don’t talk about them anymore.
After blowing £203,000 of taxpayers' money, the company behind it was formally dissolved with nothing to show for the cash and Saeed resigned as its Chief Executive.
So, what should other political parties do about SNP cronyism?
It is quite simple, refuse to attend these events.
Earlier this year, the First Minister hosted a SAWA awards ceremony, which was also attended by Labour leader Johann Lamont and LibDem leader Willie Rennie.
A Labour source said:
"It was made pretty clear to any non-SNP guests they were asked along as political cover."
The reason that Lamont and Rennie went along was possibly that they didn’t want to be branded or hinted at being racists.
It is also possible that people looking at this might conclude that the reason for SAWA existence is all about getting the Pakistani Muslim women’s vote for Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minster Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow Southside.
In the event that Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh gets elected to the European Parliament, one can wonder how long it will take for the SAWA to quietly die.
I don’t see her getting elected, however, I think given the way the Scottish National Party works, she will probably get selected to stand against Anas Sarwar in the 2015 Westminster election.
It is highly likely that the SNP will field a Muslim to stand against Anas Sarwar even before SNP candidate selection takes place.
As one SNP official explained to me some years ago, the Scottish National Party has the best election system that money can buy.
A Scottish Government spokesman said:
"Any [cronyism] claims would be wrong and totally unfounded. The launch in April 2012 - was beneficial to both Scottish Asian women and wider representatives of Scottish civic life and industry. The association now has charitable status and its most recent event was attended on a cross-party basis."
In future, political party leaders should make themselves unavailable because anyone wishing to be the next FM should show some leadership and backbone.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University