It would be fair to say that Nicola Sturgeon is a wounded animal at present, the wolves are circling around her, not only is her position unsafe, so is the position of her husband, SNP Chief Executive Peter Murrell.
It seems the ‘stalking horse’ to break the Sturgeon/Murrell monopoly of the party is none other than former Justice Secretary Kenneth MacAskill.
Is MacAskill preparing the way for a former MP to be installed as the new SNP Chief Executive?
Is MacAskill preparing the way for a former MP to sown the seeds for a leadership challenge down the line?
Is the fact that a senior Nationalist speaking out a realisation how much damage the Sturgeon brand as done to the party, it isn’t a secret but Nicola Sturgeon is a bad leader.
MacAskill seems to have a goal in his scathing attack on Sturgeon who is the SNP’s top official, he wants him removed and now, I think he is onto something in his comments that Murrell must be more than “cheerleader-in-chief for his spouse”. As I mentioned yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon’s time is up as leader, her new venture of fighting Brexit is nonsense, she cannot affect change, she has no role; she is powerless.
Brexit will happen and there will be no real input from the SNP, that’s a given!
MacAskill is correct on what went wrong in the SNP in that Murrell has over-promoting his wife, but remove Sturgeon from the equation and replace him with Salmond and you see a pattern. The SNP used the ‘cult of the personality’ which focuses on the leader as some kind of semi divine hero of worship who can do no wrong.
Dictators and despots use this technique in order to promote themselves and silence dissent around them, which is what has happened in the SNP. The SNP is a one man band, everyone else is either a cult member or part of the fringe; the SNP operate as a party within a party. Not only has this backfired with the installation of Sturgeon, but as other commentators beyond MacAskill have stated, it has damaged the independence cause.
The SNP go from one short term gimmick to another, the wider goals have been abandoned, there isn’t talent behind Nicola Sturgeon, although MacAskill likes to kid on that there is.
Is he right to blame SNP chief executive Peter Murrell?
Patently, the answer is yes!
“The SNP is bigger and the cause wider than just her [the First Minister]. Focusing on her been both a high-risk and short-term strategy. Others need allowed to blossom.”
Note the use of the word, ‘her’; one can speculate whether this is utter contempt emerging, after the many had built up the party since the change of 2007, the vote going to 50%, it has now been destroyed and sits at 37%.
Further to fall when the election cycle kicks in methinks!
MacAskill like me has become a leading critic of Murrell, his concerns emerged after the SNP lost a third of its MPs in the General Election; mine started when Murrell ignored my complaints and treated me with such utter contempt. Both of us have arrived at the same place but it took MacAskill a considerable time longer to call for Murrell to be replaced.
MacAskill although he talks about the “succession strategy” to replace Murrell, and the need to recruit a deputy with the intention of replacing him in a year, we should think back to Shirley-Anne Somerville after she was kicked out of Holyrood, she was the deputy chief executive before scuttling back to Holyrood. In fact I never saw her job as anything other than give her a pay packet.
MacAskill hits on another problem in his criticism, saying Ms Sturgeon and her husband need to reinvigorate the party’s grassroots campaign. The SNP did run a bad campaign, it was also an arrogant one, in
Glasgow; they thought
that they had the place sown up after 2015, now they are finding out different.
Every seat held in
by the SNP is up for grabs, no seat is safe here for anyone, and the fact the
vote has dropped dramatically will be a concern for their MPs and staffers who
stand a pretty fair chance of ending up on the breadline!
It is interesting that MacAskill says that Stories abounded of SNP campaigning errors that would make old stalwarts weep. Although the party got a lot of people joining it, and that increased the number of people who did activism in comparison to others such as Scottish Labour, the numbers weren’t that great. The SNP Cult at its core, ‘users’ of people which is their modus operandi, they hold ordinary members in the main, in contempt.
The general direction of the SNP is backwards now, the idea that activism on the ground can solve the general problem is fantasy, there needs to be a clear out at the top of the SNP to restore confidence.
The complaints and misgivings within the SNP about a husband-and-wife team running the party ever since Ms Sturgeon took over as leader won’t be going away, either Sturgeon goes as leader or Murrell has to be replaced, there is a crisis of confidence. And the crisis is real, there will be another election; there always is but at present heavy losses seem to be more or less unstoppable. The more senior SNP who lose their seats, the more infighting will take place, it has already started.
Finally, it doesn’t stop with the replacement of Murrell; that only buys unpopular Nicola Sturgeon time, her direction of travel is out the door as well; Murrell is just a sandbag to take the political bullets.
The SNP have to start planning for a post Sturgeon era!
The Campaign for Human Rights at