Readers' Letters: Leadership race brings out SNP's true colours

The true colours of the SNP are emerging during the present leadership election.

For some time now the Scottish electorate has been duped into believing that Nicola Sturgeon and her followers were united in a common quest. In fact the SNP is dangerously close to self-destruction at present; and this is reflected in a fall in their membership numbers.

One must surely question the integrity of key figures within their ranks, including the chief executive. Surely in the situation that the party has found itself in following the unexpected resignation of Ms Sturgeon, the last person who should be directly involved in the selection process to appoint a successor is her husband, Peter Murrell?

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For those of us who opposed “independence” at the 2014 referendum, and continue to do so, this present fiasco merely serves to prove our point that the Scottish Nationalist cause is harmful not only to Scotland, but in so many aspects to the whole of the 300-plus-year-old UK.

Peter Murrell should not be involved with the vote to replace wife Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)Peter Murrell should not be involved with the vote to replace wife Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)
Peter Murrell should not be involved with the vote to replace wife Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Robert I G Scott, Ceres, Fife

Cronies ahoy

Stan Grodynski treats us to a parody of a defence of the SNP leadership candidates, compared, of course, with politicians at wicked Westminster, where the demonised Tories dispensed with their unsatisfactory leaders, Johnson and Truss (Letters, 15 March). Having praised Nicola Sturgeon’s “competence and integrity”, both of which qualities can be contested with reference to her record in government, Mr Grodynski claims the same qualities for Kate Forbes. The lie is given to this by Martin Redfern’s adjacent letter noting that Ms Forbes has publicly disowned her own figures for Scotland’s deficit.

Mr Grodynski praises Humza Yousaf for his work on the Covid pandemic, where his brief was in fact taken over by Ms Sturgeon, who fronted the media performances and took the decisions. As we all know, Mr Yousaf’s record at Transport, Justice and Health has been, to put it no stronger, undistinguished.

Mr Grodynski claims “UK democracy has become a sad joke… open to cronyism and corruption”, clearly unaware of the rebellion by two SNP leadership candidates against the cronyism and corruption evident in the SNP’s conduct of its leadership contest.

And there is the biggest cronyism of all: the SNP CEO, since 1999, is the husband of the woman who has been SNP leader since 2014.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh


Stan Grodynski disapproves of “exaggerated” criticisms of SNP ministers from writers to The Scotsman. Perhaps he should attend more to the criticisms of those MSPs themselves. He could, for example, count the number of times the word “unacceptable” occurred in the BBC debate in relation to the performance of a government the candidates themselves are serving in! Is this exaggerated criticism?

Mr Grodynski goes on to compare Nicola Sturgeon to Liz Truss, Kate Forbes to Kwasi Kwarteng and Humza Yousaf to Matt Hancock. If he is trying to impress on us the quality of our next or current First Minister by such a comparison then I have to say he must be easily pleased! Being better than them would scarcely reach the level of “mediocrity”.

I certainly do not seek to refute his complaints that the Tory government is “autocratic and corrupt”. But again, perhaps he should open his eyes to the machinations of the SNP government of which he seemingly approves. Yesterday’s paper carries a report that yet another battle is to commence over the endemic culture of secrecy which lies at the heart of the SNP. The Scottish Information Commissioner's ruling on the question of who held crucial evidence in the Salmond case is simply being ignored two years on by the SNP. And now we have even the three candidates themselves openly writing to the SNP hierarchy for details of information on the running of the leadership contest and demanding a “robust third party auditor” to take control!

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The problem is not Westminster or Holyrood but the fact that the parties currently in power in each case are simply not only incompetent, but dishonest.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Hardly Christian

Murdo Fraser MSP describes himself as a Christian and has appeared at Christian meetings and parliamentary prayer events in that capacity. How this squares with his mocking of Kate Forbes for reluctantly expressing expressing some of her traditional Christian values I do not know. In his Scotsman column (Perspective, 14 March), Mr Fraser referred to Ms Forbes “throwing herself under her own ‘Jesus Saves’ bus" and cited her “righteousness” as a fault.

While everyone is free to criticise any politician, Mr Fraser must explain why, as a Christian, he appealed to anti-Christian sentiment and ridiculed a Christian for her traditional Christian beliefs. This SNP leadership campaign is certainly bringing issues to the surface.

Richard Lucas, Scottish Family Party, Glasgow

Go figure

The SNP seems to be getting itself into a mess over membership figures; no one will say what the total is, and there is anecdotal evidence of lapsed members being sent ballot papers. In the event of a close result, this could lead to real trouble for them. To misquote the old adage – there are lies, damned lies and SNP membership figures!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Dark money

In the interests of openness and transparency I look forward to the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem parties in Scotland publishing their current membership numbers. In 2021, newspaper leaks reported Labour’s Scottish membership at 16,500 whereas the Scottish Tories keep their membership figures a state secret.

Much has been made of the SNP’s finances, but Electoral Commission figures for Labour’s Scottish Accounting Unit indicate that the branch office is heavily subsidised from London. The much wealthier Tories benefit from funding from several opaque organisations and during the last Scottish Council elections the anti-independence outfit Scotland Matters was bankrolled to the extent of £46,000 by the Centre for Economic Education and Training, which only has a London PO Box address with no record of who is a member or who is funding it and did not register with the Electoral Commission. A further £19,000 donation was from an individual based in London.

Other political campaigning units such as Scotland in Union and These Islands are also very secretive about their donors. “Dark Money”, particularly from third party organisations, must not be allowed to influence Scottish politics and the Electoral Commission should ensure that only voters registered in Scotland be allowed to donate money for Scottish elections or any future referendum on Scotland’s future.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

New plan please

You report that over 300 academic experts in migration, from mostly UK universities, condemn the government’s Migrant Bill as “not evidence-based, workable or legal under human rights law”. Aside from whether we need so many such academics, would it not be more useful if they produced their own credible proposals to reduce the numbers of “illegal” cross-Channel migrants risking their lives at the hands of traffickers?

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Flower dour

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There are green buds on the lilac bush and the daffodils will soon be in bloom, but it will be a long time before spring comes for the economy.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife

Blown away

Dr Richard Dixon finishes his anti-nuclear rant by describing nuclear as “repeatedly failing to deliver” (15 March). Yet nuclear and gas consistently provide 58 per cent of our energy, while – if the wind blows – windmills can produce 29 per cent, but nearly nothing when it is calm.

To produce what we need from wind it has been calculated that windmills would need to occupy an area greater than that of the UK. So Dr Dixon thinks nuclear can’t deliver... yeah, right.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross

Purposeful punts

The Scottish Government is seeking views on potential restrictions to alcohol advertising in Scotland. Looking at the front pages of Scotland’s major newspapers, there is not a single advert for alcohol, presumably because they would be seen by those under the age of 18.

However, six of yesterday’s major papers all carried colourful and prominent front page adverts for “free” bets on horse races at Cheltenham. These adverts are a blatant and cynical attempt to create new gamblers. Gambling can become a dangerous addiction that destroys the lives of gamblers and those around them. Why do we tolerate apparently unrestricted gambling advertising while we are currently considering further restrictions on the marketing and advertising of alcohol?

Chris Harlow, Cupar, Fife

Warm words

I was rather concerned upon reading The Scotsman editorial yesterday to learn that the Office for Budget Responsibility experienced “dire warming” in November. Is this another irrefutable sign of a warming planet? Are the poor employees who work in that office wiping the sweat off their brows as they gather around the water dispenser to refill their cups for the umpteenth time? Upon further reading I realised that the writer meant to write “dire warning” of a full-blown recession, so I relaxed – until it struck me that this was just as alarming.

Carolyn Taylor, Broughty Ferry, Dundee

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