They think they smell blood this time but here’s why the SNP will not split


The combined forces of the Union, party branches, broadcasters and press, are all over this one, snapping, howling and slavering like a pack of hyenas round a lion which has stumbled and which they hope is mortally wounded. They’re in for a surprise as it stands, shakes its temporarily confused head, stares at them and pushes through, on its way again.


Back out of Africa – having attacked in the previous days, first by reminding and insinuating against Alex Salmond, then last night, slicing the other way trying to weaken the SNP Government with his victory in the courts over, in reality, a Westminster civil service appointee, they turn.

Now high on adrenalin, they try to use his victory to split off what they think is a compromised First Minister who, though a friend of his, must defend her Permanent Secretary. Indyref2 predicted this some months ago.

Richard Leonard looks nervous as his colleagues urge him onward – fight, fight, fight. Gammon-faced with pantomime rage, Jackson Carlaw, throws himself at her, all bluster and unsure footing.

BBC Scotland and the Herald feed their diminished audiences who, frankly, have seen more blood with David Attenborough. The Scotsman goes mental letting off its blunderbuss.


Some reader and viewers, trapped in front of their TVs or tired-eyed behind their papers, believe it really is happening. ‘Salmond is in for it now! Sturgeon has made a fatal mistake! She won’t last.’

But wait, as in SNP Civil War I, the infantry have not moved. Kenny is talking to the press. The MacTwittersphere is alive with debate. The Yes movement is showing signs of some anxiety, but the SNP seems unflinching in its outward stare.

The two ‘big beasts’ are wounded. They show it in their faces, but they are not turning toward each other with hatred. At worst there is regret but that will pass.

You should never predict anything in politics, but I’ll make an exception this time. Sturgeon will stay and lead impressively as Brexit and Indyref2 return in full force to demand everyone’s undivided attention. Police Scotland will not proceed with a case against Alex Salmond and the ‘offenses’ will turn out to have been, at worst, relatively minor, not physical and the kind of thing older guys sometimes forget they should not say these days but do say with a drink in them. [If I’m wrong I will eat my hat….which is made entirely from dark chocolate-covered ginger snaps]. Despite that, the media will attempt to blame him for the disappointment the two complainants now feel. The permanent secretary will take a package and she, with her alleged ‘rock’n’roll husband, will go off on his motorbike, three strings of pearls flying, to make a Scottish version of a Star is Born.

The SNP hold tight and focused on its purpose.

It’s that sense of overriding purpose that means the SNP will not split. Though now huge and with great diversity within it has a common core of such strength and meaning that it holds the centre together easily.

Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems, in contrast, are coalitions of convenience sharing few essential values or visons. Pragmatic and calculating, they will readily jump ship and join each other as long some material need is promised to be met.

Though some SNP members are most concerned with greater economic and social equality, where others are driven by a desire for a place where all, women, ethnicities, sexualities, beliefs, are treated with respect, where still others foreground the environment and where some, like me, care most about having a foreign policy free of imperialist pretensions and violence, all know one thing.

We know that only independence from the last part of hostile, unequal, jingoistic, delusional superior, Britain, will allow any of our shared desires to be achieved. We know how high the stakes are. If we split, all is lost. The centre will hold because it must.




17 thoughts on “They think they smell blood this time but here’s why the SNP will not split

  1. Craig Fraser January 10, 2019 / 5:27 pm

    I have really struggled to understand the relationship of the civil service at Westminster and Scotland. After listening to the likes of Gordon Ross (Indy car) and others it is now crystal clear and once people understand this fundamental basic concept it is, in my opinion easy to see what is going on. There is no Scottish civil service it is the British/Westminster driven/guided civil service in Scotland. This supposedly Scottish civil service is there to undermine the SNP lead Scottish Government? I just ask myself the same question (s) when I see issues arise such as is currently happening with Alex Salmond “who is the eventual beneficiary”? The Scottish government or Westminster government? Keep asking this question long enough and patterns arise the Westminster government will try every underhand and devious trick in the book and ones they have not yet thought of to make sure Scotland never becomes Independent.

    Liked by 3 people

    • johnrobertson834 January 10, 2019 / 8:31 pm

      Yes, just so. Salmond has defeated not the Scottish Government but the UK Civil Service in Scotland.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lollysmum January 10, 2019 / 5:37 pm

    Spot on John. The British parties don’t understand nor have a clue about SNP.

    I’m proud to say that Im one of their English members & never in my 66 years have I seen a party act so honourably in everything they do. Britnats are in for a shock as Alex bounces back.

    Both Nicola & Alex are very aware that politics is a dirty business so they’ll shrug it off & get on with planning for indyref2. Watch this space 😎

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Dr Jim January 10, 2019 / 6:52 pm

    In England thousands are losing their jobs, homeless are dying on the streets, shops are showing their worst ever downturns, police are losing the battle against crime, hospitals are really in crisis, infrastructure England wide is falling apart and nobody mentions Theresa May as possibly responsible for any of it

    But here in Scotland a safety pin goes twang and the *Scottish* media turn into Zombie like creatures screaming for brains and the blood of the SNP
    She’s guilty if she did she’ s guilty if she didn’t, we don’t care we want her guilty of something even if it means we have to fabricate the guilt to fit the crime that nobody actually has been charged or found guilty of

    Liked by 4 people

  4. gavin January 10, 2019 / 7:19 pm

    The SNP are not, and will not split.
    This “event”, however, shows a difference in leadership styles between Salmond and Sturgeon.
    Sturgeon is calm, methodical and takes the hits on the chin—apologising if need be.
    Salmond ALWAYS played to win, a score draw if he had a bad hand.

    But the tools were at hand here, for Sturgeon to have at least come out eachy-peachy.

    Theresa May asked Whitehall’s most senior civil servant to conduct an investigation into First Secretary Damian Green who faced allegations of sexual harassment. Green was NOT asked to leave the Cabinet while this investigation was on-going—-so he met May EVERY DAY for seven weeks, until he was sacked for breaching the Ministerial Code. So Sturgeon met Salmond five times while May met Green dozens of times.
    Green was also acting Deputy Prime Minister, while Salmond was remote from power at the time the respective allegations were made.
    There was much else in the Green narrative which stinks, and also deterred other victims from coming forth.
    Why didn’t she throw this in Carlow’s face?
    There is also the ludicrous Tory internal investigation process—which will ALWAYS find the Tory miscreant “innocent”.

    Labour? Monica Lennon. Nothing else needs to be said, though Alex Rowley is a good back up. And all these racism cases outstanding.

    Sturgeon has to change her style at FMQ’s, and start to fight her corner. The media certainly wont help her

    Liked by 1 person

    • gavin January 10, 2019 / 7:24 pm

      I should clarify that I meant Salmond was remote from power when these allegations came to light (and the investigation was initiated), not when misconduct was alleged to have happened, which I understand was in 2013.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marconatrix January 11, 2019 / 12:33 am

        Keeping her powder dry for the really important battles to come? This whole business being just an unpleasant distraction.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Gavin.c.Barrie January 10, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    It is a big step to decide to set out to ruin the reputation of a person by recalling alleged incidents some 4 years previous when, it seems – no medics were called, police weren’t contacted, no complaints was lodged at the time.

    Did the complainants continue to work in this environment at Holyrood on the same assignments? Is it the case that the two complainants are civil servants engaged by Westminster, seconded to Holyrood? If so, why didn’t they raise their complaints with their Westminster employer in 2013?

    Nicola Sturgeon and Alec Salmond have been SNP colleagues for many decades, it takes a cold callous person to try and make a case that Nicola should have turned her face away from him when he was confronted with the complaints laid against him.

    And with Brexit in turmoil at Westminster, Carlaw and Leonard take it upon themselves to indulge in pygmy politics and attempt to make such a case that Nicola Sturgeon should have turned her face away from Alec Salmond. Leonard, with Monica Lennon sitting behind him, Lennon who publicly stated her sexual abuse by a senior Labour member, was not investigated. Carlaw with his exclusiveTory members investigation panel to confront complainants.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate January 10, 2019 / 8:34 pm

    Indeed. WM seems unable or is just unwilling – to assimilate the information that the concept of independence is greater than the members within. Independence is like a worm, if you cut off it’s head and tail, You don’t lose one worm – three worms are created in its place. You may be able to cut off independence’s head (Nicola Sturgeon) and cut off the tail (Alex Salmond who is NOT in Scotgov anymore and not even an SNP member) but if the worst happened & Nicola & Alex fell, two just as determined SNP MPs would take their place – and more likely create at least one other indy supporter or many others through the clear and obvious machinations of a thwarted Westminster, and get angry as often happens. And thus – will take out SNP membership as a converted indy supporter. They refuse to accept that with each obvious witch hunt, they do nothing but make more converts TO independence, rather than obtain the result they desperately hope for! I dare say they think it worth a try… Polls would suggest that kind of thinking is NOT WORKING.

    Scotland NEEDS independence. Over half the Scots know this. They are politically aware and wise to the utter nonsense and see through hijinks of the red & blue tory party. They think Sctots don’t see the appalling behaviour toward our MPs in WM? They think they can STEAL our 24 powers & we didn’t notice? They think they’ll be able to close Scottish parliament and Scots won’t be bothered?? Nope. They are so blatant in their interference in democracy they think they are untouchable. They are hoping,wishing and praying (sorry Dusty! Couldn’t help m’sel!) They think we’re so ineffectual their power is greater than the idea of independence. They are WRONG. Scots won’t let this very obviously smear campaign work. Independence is good to go! Just waiting for the gun… WM have now been TELT!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. johnrobertson834 January 11, 2019 / 6:45 am

    A worm more like the Norse/German ‘wurm’ as in the place in Fife? A dragon!


  8. Scott January 11, 2019 / 9:56 am

    John,you forgot to mention this one in the P&J.

    Quote,Alex Bell once of SNP.

    “Salmond’s hooks into Sturgeon mean they both could sink in tragedy of his making”

    He sounds a very bitter man I wonder why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian Powell January 11, 2019 / 2:53 pm

      He left the SNP in a huff in 2013, and, but for the BritNat press needing a whinge at the SNP source, he would have disappeared forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ludo Thierry January 11, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    Meanwhile May’s exercise of patronage is bringing her ‘Scottish’ tory WM cohort aboard the May brexit deal. Remember – these folk have been considered unemployable in the payroll vote until now – see link and snippet from New Statesman article below:

    Scottish Tory MPs are the big winners from a quiet round of government promotions

    More than half of the 13 Conservative MPs from Scotland now have government jobs after a raft of PPS appointments.

    The exodus of Tory MPs from government jobs after Theresa May struck her Brexit deal left the prime minister with lots of vacancies to fill – or deckchairs to shuffle.

    While those ministers who resigned were replaced reasonably quickly, a raft of parliamentary private secretary positions – the first, unpaid rung on the ministerial ladder – were left unfilled.

    In some cases, this was deliberate: Julian Smith, the chief whip, told existing PPSs in November that some positions had been left unfilled on purpose – so as to give him carrots or “poor man’s knighthoods” to wield before would-be rebels or to reward loyalty ahead of the meaningful vote.

    Since then, appointments to the vacant posts have been made quietly, with announcements made at the discretion of the gigs’ recipients… Andrew Bowie, a
    Scottish Tory elected in 2017, became Theresa May’s second PPS in the days between Christmas and New Year.

    Otherwise, there has been radio silence and the government has not updated its official PPS list since September. The NS has learned, however, that a raft of appointments have been made with next to no fanfare from either the MPs or ministers in question.

    Most striking, however, is the promotion of two more Scottish Conservative MPs elected in 2017 onto the government payroll. Kirstene Hair, MP for Angus, has been appointed PPS to the junior justice ministers, while Colin Clark, MP for Gordon, replaces Julian Knight at the DWP.

    Their promotions – and that of Bowie – means that more than half of the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs now occupy a government job. (David Mundell sits in cabinet as Scottish Secretary while Hair, Clark, Bowie, Paul Masterton, Alister Jack and Luke Graham all have PPS roles.) The presence of Clark and Jack on that list is significant – last February, both signed a European Research Group letter demanding “full regulatory autonomy” for the UK after Brexit.

    That they have been brought and kept inside the government tent in recent months reflects Downing Street’s hold over the 2017 intake and particularly the Scottish Tory MPs, only three of whom – Douglas Ross, Ross Thomson and John Lamont – will vote against the Withdrawal Agreement. The appointments of Clark and Hair to the payroll also mean that more than half of the 32-strong 2017 intake of Tory MPs as a whole now have government jobs. As all else collapses around her, Theresa May retains the power of patronage.

    Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman’s political correspondent.

    I wonder if wee Kirstene Hair will have worked out how to vote by the time (if?) the ‘meaningful’ vote is held in WM next week?


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