SNP independence fund fiasco may not be criminal but it's a breach of trust with the public – Kenny MacAskill MP

It’s no surprise that neither the police nor the Crown thought there was any criminality involved in the Indyref2 funds story.

Nationalists are unlikely to exonerate the SNP after more than £600,000 raised to help pay for a second independence referendum campaign was spent by the party, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Nationalists are unlikely to exonerate the SNP after more than £600,000 raised to help pay for a second independence referendum campaign was spent by the party, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Both organisations view these matters as largely internal for the SNP and, given the wording of what people donated to, it was always unlikely. They’ll see it as being for members or the Electoral Commission. But that doesn’t mean that, in the wider court of public opinion or more importantly the independence movement, they’re exonerated.

For they most certainly won’t be by the latter and among the former it just adds to the growing incredulity and concern at what’s going on in Scotland’s governing party. For as ever, it is the lies that catch you out. It seems funds were there, then they weren’t and now it’s ‘they are but they aren’t’.

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When I was a party member, the national treasurer assured me that they were there, just threaded through the accounts – a phrase I’d never heard whether in accounts for LLB students or during my many years as a cashroom partner operating under very strict Law Society rules.

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That fiction remained for quite a while and the then national treasurer was comfortably defeated in an internal party election, only for his successor to resign claiming he’d been denied access to information necessary to conduct the duties of his office.

Then the First Minister, when challenged in a TV interview, suggested that the funds weren’t there after all, despite the previous protestations.

Now it seems accepted that it’s been used for revenue purposes and all’s well and good as they’ll ensure the same amount is used in the future for Indyref purposes. To cap it all off, restored to the post of national treasurer is the man who assured me and others that it was all there, just threaded through.

Defeated in the democratic vote, he’s returned Lazarus-like to the post, albeit requiring to accept a new narrative even if no doubt still unaware of the full facts which saw his predecessor resign.

There’s been a breach of trust with the Indy movement and it’s not just delay but dishonesty that is now the problem.

Kenny MacAskill is the Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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