Do we need to talk about the SNP leadership, now?

sturg1 kiss madeliene.jpg

I’ve been a ‘stout’ proponent of the primacy of party unity in the face of our common enemies but there has to be a limit to my tolerance of immorality, and I’ve reached it.

It pains me to write this.

I’ve just finished reading:


It’s an impressive but deeply disturbing work in which, not only are the First Minister’s aides exposed as dishonest and frankly evil in their intentions but, I’m afraid to say, Nicola Sturgeon seems to have been more than a bystander in these disgraceful machinations against the former First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Here are some of the key arguments:

  1. The FM seems to have lied in her defence of her permanent secretary and the investigator.
  2. The FM was aware that Salmond was being stitched up.
  3. The FM’s chief of staff is the likely source of the leak to the Daily Record.
  4. The FM’s feminism is distorting her political judgement .

The last-mentioned feminism brings me to a concern I’ve held for some time, that the FM’s world view with particular regard to foreign policy and the role of the US in it, is ‘Atlanticist’, as in the views of Gordon Brown and most Blairites. Worse still, it is hawkish as in those who support Hilary Clinton.

During the last US presidential election campaign, the FM, came out in explicit support of Clinton. I was horrified. Clinton is an evil, self-serving, utterly corrupt hawk whose actions, had she won, would have resulted in even greater carnage in the Middle East as she led US intervention against her personal foe, Putin. The monstrous Trump’s isolationism, even limited by the US establishment as it has been, may well have saved the lives of thousands of women.

I wrote this, at the time, to the FM only to be fobbed of by one of her aides:

Letter to First Minister Sturgeon re her support for Hillary Clinton

I did my best to forget this as I walked the streets carrying ‘I’m with Nicola’ stuff to push through letterboxes. Then she did it again, tweeting enthusiastically that we should all have a look at the new book by Henry Kissinger! Henry Kissinger? A man of such monstrous horrors including the illegal bombing of and mass deaths in Cambodia? See this for more detail.

Once more, I suppressed it and returned to focus on the greater cause but, for a reason now clear to me, Salmondgate, the puss-filled wound has re-opened. The FM is prepared to support any feminist position utterly regardless of even the most nauseating considerations. She could have said nothing about the US presidential elections, and she need not have reviewed the Kissinger book, but she did both because she believed it was correct to do so.

It would be wrong of me to patronise her with excuses as I seem to have been doing -ageism? She supported Clinton because feminism trumps anything or, worse still, because she agrees with the Atlanticist position uncritically supporting the US in its interventions. Did she pick this up from Glasgow University? Were they feeding the students with US exceptionalism in the 1980s, just as they previously fed my history teachers with British exceptionalism and Scottish history curricula, as late as the 1950s? Remember, they nurtured the dread Niall Ferguson.

Her enthusiasm for the Kissinger book was because he exonerates the equally psychopathic and hawkish Madeleine Albright, she of: ‘The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq’s non-existent WMD’s!’

Does the FM applaud women, any women, achieving high position, regardless of the deeds they do? It seems she does.

I joined the SNP as an anti-imperialist first and foremost. I think my values are widely shared across the Yes movement and in the party. Are the First Minister’s?






29 thoughts on “Do we need to talk about the SNP leadership, now?

  1. Brobb January 23, 2019 / 2:48 pm

    I too read the Craig Murray article and admit to having mixed feelings. I do feel that the Me Too movement quickly led to an atmosphere where it was hard to express opinions that weren’t black or white and this, coupled with Nicola’s strong feminist stance, boxed her into a corner. It isn’t hard to envisage the kind of hysterical media response there would have been if she had come out and said “Alex is my friend and I will support him no matter what” Possibly the high principled platform she has been set on since she took up the first minister role makes it even more difficult (compared to what most of us face) to admit to nuanced opinions – I think this also played a factor in other cases such as Michelle Thompson, Mark McDonald and Grousebeater. In some ways she is dammed whatever way she plays things, and possibly her personal values and beliefs are the only weakness the media and other parties see able to hit out at.

    So maybe Nicola is human after all and has some weaknesses that impact on her judgement calls and actions. Compared to most other political figures today, she still comes across as caring, principled and on the ball but she is not perfect. Should we expect her to be? Are we judging her by different/higher standards than we judge others? I think Alex would be the first to admit that he wasn’t perfect either but that charismatic leadership, trying to inspire and win over a nation. makes it harder to publicly admit to these flaws as they will instantly be pounced on and magnified to discredit the whole movement

    This seems to be exactly what has happened here with media reports focusing on the SNP “civil war”, the rifts and the mistakes. In less turbulent political times it would be hoped these issues could be examined calmly and with reason but with the drive for independence seen by so many as a threat which must be destroyed dare I say “now is not the time”?

    I do feel sorry for Alex Salmond and my gut feeling is that he has been stitched up. I find it hard to believe though that Nicola played a deliberate part in the initial stitch up but did feel backed into a corner to defend the civil servants out of her own moral high ground stance. I also believe that although Alex may feel personally let down he is big enough to recognise that leaders can sometimes make mistakes or take unfair decisions when the pressure is on.

    Will I still support Nicola and the SNP? Yes while bearing in mind she is human too and won’t always get things right
    Will I still contribute to Alex’s crowdfunders for court costs? Yes, while recognising he is not perfect either and may have done something in the past that falls foul of new moral codes (or equally may be totally innocent of all charges)

    I would like to see Scotland independent in my lifetime. The SNP are competent, articulate and principled enough for me to feel they are the best chance we have to become an independent nation and both Nicola and Alex have done a pretty good job to get us nearly there

    Liked by 3 people

    • Robert Graham January 23, 2019 / 3:52 pm

      A very clear and measured comment in response to what was quite a startling piece by Craig ,the responses were probably expected ” messenger and discharged shotgun come to mind ” , This whole saga might be better parked for the time being ,its another distraction that does not help in any way the quest for independence , it might be better once the dust and fog has settled to examine the facts once they are available for all to see , this is for the SNP to examine not any unionist party with obvious intentions of having a right go at the independence movement which is bigger than just the SNP .


      • Brobb January 23, 2019 / 4:14 pm

        Hi John, I don’t know enough about Atlanticism (in fact had never heard the term before) but will mull it over and get back to you if I have anything worthwhile to say 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gavin.c.Barrie January 23, 2019 / 3:46 pm

    Difficult to get passed contemplating on – The First Minister is given a list of civil servants, employed by Westminster, for her to select her preference to be the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary.

    I’d have expected my Permanent Secretary to caution me of the political risks in authorising the writing of retrospective procedures in order to raise complaints of alleged harassment of some five years passed. In this case it appears the Permanent Secretary wrote the retrospective procedure for the FM’s approval. On her own initiative, or following full discussion on the intent, and consequences, with the FM?

    And so the FM is trapped. If she declines to accept the procedure the press will be duly informed of her protecting Alex Salmond. Allow the procedure and be accused of failing a friend and political companion of many years. And just in case Alex Salmond, entitled to privacy as are the complainents, in formal private negotiations between the the legal teams might win his case, the issue is leaked to the Daily Record.

    The Permanent Secretary remains in her job, although found to incompetent by court. Her employers in Westminster will be content with her for a job well done. Sturgeon and Salmond both stitched up.

    We had a ding dong discussion in our family regarding the Trump vs Clinton USA election. I viewed Trump as the lesser of two evils much to the horror of my adult children. I do occasionally now quip to them, “Trump hasn’t started any wars”.

    Contemplation again – Is it possible that such as Blair, Clinton, May, Bush actually know that reincarnation is a fact, and so killing tens of thousands of people in wars is of no real consequence – they’ll pop back soon, give it 9 months – and so simply socio/economic wordly development?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robert Graham January 23, 2019 / 4:19 pm

      agreed difficult to counter many of the things Craig has highlighted ,rock and a hard place comes to mind for Nicola Sturgeon , as i have previously said this constant drip drip helps only one side , meanwhile lurking in the background is this three dimensional game the Machiavellian mandarins in whitewall are very well acquainted with , after all they have been destabilising countries and states for centuries its in their nature .

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ronnie January 23, 2019 / 3:47 pm

    agree with you entirely John. #uncomfortable


  4. Ronnie January 23, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    Sorry, but I should have added, Scottish independence would be meaningless in my opinion if we were to carry on being a US (or even a rUK) poodle in world affairs.


    • Alasdair Macdonald January 23, 2019 / 4:50 pm

      Firstly, I am not and never have been a member of the SNP, but, I support independence and have voted SNP and Green for a number of years.

      I think that your ‘Atlanticism’ argument has some validity. The matter was raised some years back in the debate about support for NATO. For people like I, who has been a long term supporter of CND and whose attitude towards ‘US imperialism’ is probably close to Jeremy Corbyn’s, I have been suspicious of Atlanticism for several decades.

      Re relatively recent things I was, for example, disappointed in the acceptance by the SNP leadership of the Skripal story. I do not think that Mr Putin is an enlightened leader, but, the whole story stank to me and Mr Craig Murray dissected it pretty thoroughly.

      Mass parties, as the SNP has become are always faced with the problem of holding together a wide range of political views from extreme right to extreme left and a selection of loonies. In such cases, messages are ‘attenuated’. In addition, there is the short term political point scoring. And, in trying to hold coalitions together and maintain discipline, issues of dirigible and authoritarianism can arise. The SNP leadership, being human, is not immune to the things which affected others, but, until now, has been remarkably ‘clean’ My gut feeling is the accusations against Mr Samond are possibly trumped up or distorted, because, until now, in a long career, there have been no indications of such behaviour in the past, despite the fact that he has been reviled in the media. Had there been ‘dirt’ they would have found it. Nevertheless, given the history of neglect of issues like harassment, I think we must respect the rights of those who feel they have been harassed to have a proper enquiry, as well as Mr Salmond being treated fairly.

      Politics also attracts big egos and many of those people can lose a sense of proportion and ‘take their eyes off the prize’.

      The issues raised by Mr Murray have to be dealt with and I think that over the weekend, when he appealed for calm, Mr Salmond was Epping his eye on the prize.

      During the sorry Brexit journey, Ms Sturgeon has been just about the only major politician to have been consistent and clear. She has won many admirers furth of Scotland. On the whole, I think she has performed very well. She is human like nooner else and, like the rest of us has to balance competing claims on her loyalty. But, people like me do not lead large parties nor run a country and the continual pressures take their toll. I only had to run a large high school and at times I felt the pressure and made mistakes.

      I think the Atlanticism issue has to be parked for the short term as Brexit approaches the next denouement. The harassment enquiry and related matters is underway and, I am sure the Daily Record will heap more ordure. I think the Permanent Secretary should resign or be dismissed.

      But, I think we need to focus on independence and make it a stronger condition in the ‘consultations’ with Mrs May, even though she does not consult and is even more of a lame duck. Her Cabinet is going to fracture. Mr Hammond’s conference call with BIG business indicates that.

      It is clear that the situation in Ireland is the rock which will break the UK.

      Liked by 2 people

      • johnrobertson834 January 23, 2019 / 9:38 pm

        Thanks, thought-provoking as always but I can no longer park the Clinton/Kissinger ideas. Maybe I’ll resign.


    • Brobb January 23, 2019 / 4:54 pm

      Ok, Ive done a bit of research and came across a Guardian article that includes the following

      “The idea that the world’s stability and prosperity is defined primarily by a partnership between Europeans and Americans is called Atlanticism or transatlanticism, and the people who care about it are convinced that Trump is out to tear up the alliance. For the politicians, professors, thinktank pundits and journalists for whom “Atlanticist” is a badge of honour, an end to this partnership is not just a geopolitical issue, but a threat to liberalism and any hopes of political betterment around the world. Democracy, free speech, anti-totalitarianism, constitutionalism and free trade that manages to enrich all of its participants – these ideals, to the Atlanticists, depend on the close relationship between the US and Europe. As goes the transatlantic relationship, so goes the possibility of western progress”

      I think there are comparisons to this concept in another Guardian article about Britain’s relationship with the EU in that it is the idea that cooperative working based on certain ideals that is important even though there may be profound disagreements about different policy direction between the countries concerned. So, it is possible that we could view Nicola’s support for Hilary Clinton as implying these ideals would be lost if Trump took power (as he did) rather than an endorsement of every aspect of US policy?

      I also think there is a moral dilemma for us all (even though we ordinary folk don’t have to make any hard decisions) – do we support trade/relationships with other countries no matter what their record on rights, ethics etc, or do we need to be pragmatic and operate in the world as it is. A recent example could be the Greens saying the upturn in oil production in Scotland shouldn’t be something to consider a plus in Scotland because of climate/planet concerns. This may well be true but the oil production and fund possibilities won’t just go away because Scotland takes the high ground and refuses to be part of it. I tentatively suggest that politicians may sometimes need to take in a bigger picture and look at jobs and the economy in the now before taking a principled stance

      Not a very knowledgeable stance I’m afraid but just some initial thoughts based on a very quick reccy of info available – open to debate or correction!

      Liked by 2 people

      • johnrobertson834 January 23, 2019 / 9:43 pm

        Thanks BROBB. Very informative and thoughtful. You might be correct about the FM and Clinton but I feel the uberfeminist theory is strong.


  5. gavin January 23, 2019 / 6:02 pm

    If Salmond can bury the hatchet with Sturgeon, then so should we all. Independence must trump any petty ego issues. There will be a legal remedy for his travails with the civil servants who appear to have stitched him up.
    Atlanticism is on the back burner as long as Trump is POTUS. Regard the USA as you would any other country, and you will find it does things for its own benefit. The Marshall Plan was its last magnanimous gift to the world—all else has been exploitation of the world by its own military-industrial complex–often to the disadvantage of the American people.
    I see little resemblance of Sturgeon with Jim Murphy, a poster-boy of Atlanticism, but that is just my opinion.
    The new generation of Democrats give a little hope for the future. Kamala Harris etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. William Henderson January 23, 2019 / 6:28 pm

    My thoughts are that this is a time for us all to remain cool, calm and collected. The SNP is a very broad organisation with representation of many, sometimes conflicting views. Nonetheless it is the most powerful tool we have in the quest to repeal the Acts of Union and it would be the height of foolishness were we to allow it to be broken before its job is done.

    After Scotland resumes full sovereignty the question of our constitutional arrangements for government are open to choice and it may well be that the SNP, as a political party whose central purpose is to obtain that sovereignty, will cease to exist as a single political force.

    We are not there yet, so let’s not do anything rash which would weaken our position and lend succour to the opponents of national progress.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jon January 23, 2019 / 9:58 pm

      William, that’s how I see it. Nicola’s our leader, we stick with her and we stick together.
      Hopefully she’ll see sense regarding Evans and McKinnon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald McGregor January 23, 2019 / 11:06 pm

        I’ll join you in this view.
        ‘But’ I think NS has a legal trained mind that in instances like this proves to be a weakness. We need a big visionary like AS to shout and holler and gather the troops.
        Quartermaster leadership alone won’t do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Robert Innes January 23, 2019 / 8:26 pm

    Hi John,

    I love your site, but think this article is not well advised, though I too have my misgivings. That’s it, don’t want to say any more, except that I hope you will still continue to provide killer ammunition for the cause of Independence. In the meantime, I’ll continue to push leaflets through letterboxes, man street stalls etc, as there’s really no alternative.


    Robert I


    • johnrobertson834 January 25, 2019 / 3:22 pm

      Thanks but why not well-advised? Must admit to taking no advice before writing.


  8. Hugh Wallace January 23, 2019 / 9:26 pm

    A thought provoking article, John. And some very thought provoking comments too. Not quite sure which way to jump now on this issue…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jon January 23, 2019 / 9:53 pm

    Atlanticism, it was on Alex Salmond’s watch that the party voted to join NATO, so it’s not just Nicola, Although I’m not aware of Salmond praising Kissinger or his book.
    Trying to extract Scotland from England’s clutches is task enough for any party or movement. Why make an enemy of America. We would only loose.


    • johnrobertson834 January 24, 2019 / 7:21 am

      Yes but why praise their monsters? This must mean something about how she thinks and feels. Think I’m out.


      • Brobb January 24, 2019 / 10:45 am

        Sorry to hear that John, hopefully you will keep talking up Scotland though and reminding us we are not the shitty basket case BBC Scotland would have us believe. As many have said the independence movement is bigger and more important than any individual politician and we need all the supporters we can get

        Liked by 3 people

      • Jon January 24, 2019 / 9:20 pm

        John, hope you don’t mean you’ve given up on Independence for Scotland, (don’t believe that). Maybe she thinks / hopes praising their monsters will keep them out of the the struggle for Independence. I think that is pretty much it. When any SNP politician comments on world politics they always tow the USA / UK policy line. I just can’t believe she enthused over Kissinger’s book because he exonerates Albright.

        Right now Salmond is in deep trouble, where do we stand if Sturgeon fails?


  10. Graham January 24, 2019 / 1:52 am

    Spot on. Ms. Sturgeon is jealous of the far wider notice that mentally ill psychopathic hawks like Clinton receive on the world political stage. She clearly wants to bat way above Scotland’s weight, with every new policy seemingly a ‘world leader.’ There is an air of female-centric megalomania, and utter disregard for men, here, that is deeply disturbing. Her feminist obsession with the American extremist #Metoo witch trials led us into this disgusting case, led by two unbalanced feminist ideologues (Mackinnon and Evans), against Ms. Sturgeon’s former mentor Mr. Salmond. The fact she did not apologise to him for the compromising of the feminist stitch-up case, though apologised to the two complainants, speaks volumes.

    Nicola Sturgeon does not want sexual equality, she wants female dominance. That has been clear for years, only, if, as a man, you point it out, you are instantly called (sneer) ‘misogynistic’ and your views dismissed as drivel. A very dangerous state of affairs, and a total disgrace from top to bottom. Just as well Clinton did not win. Imagine the fawning Sturogeon would have done over her, falling over herself to get her to visit Scotland. Still, at least she didn’t go over during the election and bring back a cardboard cutout of Clinton, like the oaf Dugdale did. On my more bitter, cynical days, I sometimes think that that level of embarrassing parochialism is about the best that Holyrood has to offer. I truly hope not.


    • Hugh Wallace January 25, 2019 / 9:01 pm

      Sorry. But this is bollocks.


  11. Hugh Wallace January 25, 2019 / 9:00 pm

    In light of the very serious charges brought against Alex Salmond (who is innocent until proven otherwise), I think we need to give Nicola Sturgeon a bit of benefit of the doubt with regards to this issue. She will be aware of details of the allegations that will only come out in any forthcoming trial so it is entirely reasonable for her to have distanced herself from Mr Salmond pending the outcome of any investigations & trials.

    That doesn’t excuse the actions of the Scottish Government, and certain civil servants who should resign, for making such a pig’s ear of the investigation (potentially jeapordising aspects of any future trial) or NS’s apparent ‘stand by her (female) civil servant come what may’ stance but does rather suggest that NS is motivated by something other than feminist ideals in this instance.

    In fact, I don’t think there is good evidence to suggest that NS is adhering to ‘feminism above all other considerations’ but it is a very easy accusation for those of us of the male gender to make. I must admit to not being able to understand why NS was so interested in voicing her support for Hilary Clinton because, however much I loathe Trump, I am very glad that Clinton did not win because we would be embroiled in another war by now if she had (IMHO).

    But then I’m an idealist & the SNP have never been quite left-wing enough for me & NS appears quite happy being a conservative-centralist as far as politics are concerned. And if the SNP weren’t so centralist they wouldn’t have the wide support they do have & we wouldn’t be as close to independence as we are so it is a damn good thing I’m not in charge of the party…


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