Balancing act

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How important is a balanced “ticket” in determining who should lead the SNP?

The Salmond/Sturgeon partnership, which has lasted ten years, is arguably one of the most successful in political history both north and south of the Border.

Now it appears that the new leader, indeed the First Minister, will be determined by coronation, but the vote for her deputy will be contentious (your report, 26 September).

As yet Nicola Sturgeon has not expressed a preference as to who that deputy should be. A choice between Holyrood transport spokesperson Keith Brown and Westminster Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie is between two men of judgment, talent and vigour.

But who wins could be vital in determining SNP strategy in the next five years.

The case for Mr Hosie rests very much on the importance the SNP gives to representation in the House of Commons. Its ability to press for more powers for the Scottish Parliament will depend very much on whether it can gain the balance of power in the Commons after next May’s general election.

The Dundee East MP may be the person who can help persuade the party that Westminster still matters in helping achieving its aim of getting more powers and working for independence.

By contrast, Mr Brown is a more consensual, respected figure. His achievements in transport since he took up the post after the winter debacle of 2010 have been considerable.

The Queensferry crossing will be a lasting testament to his time in office.

But he is a Holyrood man and too great an emphasis in the SNP leadership on just the one legislature may not be the best way to help it achieve its ultimate objective.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court