The Cheats’ Election 173

It is over ten years since I allowed a guest post on this blog. This is because I never listen to anybody except myself. That way I avoid hearing anything disagreeable.

(Those last two sentences are a joke, deliberately in the style of Jane Austen. Of course it ruins the joke to explain it, but if I don’t, then twitter will be full of trials writing jibes about narcissism).

I have turned down hundreds of requests, but today I have decided to publish Stephen Norris, the Convener of his SNP branch, who has just had enough.

The SNP Inner Circle’s desire to fix the election for Humza could hardly be more obvious. Murrell and Sturgeon remain in place to oversee the process – and are carefully diverting attention to the counting process rather than the issuing and verification of login IDs.

Almost half of the campaigning days available are to be taken up by a series of 8 regional hustings meetings. The SNP machine (ie the Murrells) have decreed – against the will of two of the three candidates – that these will be closed meetings and neither reported nor streamed.

All are fully booked with no tickets available, and the party machine that booked them tipped off their own people to grab the seats. The candidates will only be able to speak to 3,500 members in total through these hustings, out of a membership claimed to be over 100,000.

It is deliberately designed to tie the candidates up and minimise their exposure. Of course, as a new mother, it is particularly constraining for Kate Forbes.

Now Stephen Norris has captured regional list MSP Emma Harper breaking party rules by emailing the South of Scotland membership on the SNP email system, urging them to vote for Humza Yousaf.

This plainly contravenes the election rules, but is on a par with Humza appearing everywhere with placards etc using fonts, styles and materials exactly as used by party HQ, and almost certainly produced by them.

Before I finally hand you over to Stephen Norris, I might further explain that ultra-Sturgeon loyalist Emma Harper MSP was jemmied into her seat by a fake process designed to exclude the Independence stalwart Joan McAlpine MSP – a talented and independent figure detested by Sturgeon.

McAlpine was removed by a rule change adopted by the Sturgeon controlled SNP national executive, which rules that regional lists must be topped by disabled candidates. Members voted for candidates in the normal way and the boosting was done AFTER the vote, with the disabled promoted to the top.

The extremely talented McAlpine was therefore forced out of parliament by the ultra loyalist nonentity Emma Harper, on the sole grounds that Harper has diabetes. It is worth noting that in other regions, candidates with less than 5% of the members’ vote were promoted to the top of the list, above individual candidates with ten times as many votes, and are now MSPs.

So now you know how Harper got to her position, I give you Stephen Norris:

“Election Cheating

I write this with a heavy heart and after much soul searching.
But events over the last few days have left me with no other choice.
I trust that those who read this understand I do so out of loyalty to my party, to Scotland, and the wider independence movement.

THE SCOTTISH National Party will stage the first of eight hustings on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Arguably, with Alex Salmond gone and Nicola Sturgeon going, it will be the most important leadership election in its history.

Sadly, and to the shame of those involved, the process of choosing our new leader and Scotland’s First Minister has been compromised before it starts. The act has been perpetrated in the most sleekit, arrogant and undemocratic manner imaginable. And I use that word “undemocratic” deliberately.

Once upon a time, the party to which I have devoted 41 years of my life, campaigned for, argued for, stood for and believed in, prided itself on a democratic power derived from its diverse and multi-talented membership. A power feared and respected by our unionist opponents and one which led our movement to the brink of victory.

Be in no doubt, that victory – the vital independence of our country and the restoration of its social and economic fortunes – remains within our grasp. The grassroots Yes movement still survives and thrives and – despite a succession of surrenders and false promises – a platform of around 50 per cent support for independence remains as our start point.

But the independence our country so desperately needs will not be achieved with Humza Yousaf and his backers at the helm of the SNP.

On Friday, February 24, 2023, two hours and 26 minutes before nominations for the leadership contest closed at noon, I received an email. It was from Emma Harper, the sole list MSP for the region, and time-stamped 9.34am. On investigation I discovered the same email had been sent to SNP members across the South of Scotland, whose numbers run into thousands, at exactly the same time.

Members in the three southernmost constituencies, Galloway and West Dumfries, Dumfriesshire and Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, received this email. Ms Harper holds the SNP brief for these seats because these are the only ones where there is no constituency SNP MSP.

I have learned that she spoke to Mr Yousaf about his campaign and strategy for the south the day before she sent the blanket email – a fact of which I have written proof. It transpires that Ms Harper, with the consent of party HQ, has been granted access to the South Scotland membership database, ostensibly to broadcast her work as an MSP. The email was not issued via Ms Harper’s personal account but from “Scottish National Party” with the delivery email of [email protected].

It states:

Dear Members,

As we draw closer to the end of the nomination process in the contest for leadership of our party and for Scotland’s next First Minister, I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you all with my decision to back Humza Yousaf for these top jobs.

As I am sure we all agree, Nicola Sturgeon has served Scotland and the SNP with absolute distinction. As the first female First Minister, she has also been the longest serving incumbent in the role. Both of these are stunning achievements in themselves. Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy in Government is one which has improved the lives of tens of thousands of families the length and breadth of Scotland and is one which has brought us ever closer to our nations independence.

Being First Minister is the top job in our country. It requires experience and dedication – a First Minister is never off duty. In my opinion, and after consideration, I believe Humza Yousaf to be the best person for this role. Humza has had many of the toughest jobs in government over the last 10 years – Transport Minister, Justice Secretary and Health Secretary in the midst of a global pandemic. He has also openly reaffirmed his commitment to our nations independence, to progressive politics and to equality for all, all of which I view to be crucial in Scotland’s journey to become a fairer, progressive and more equal country.

One of Humza’s many strengths is reaching out to bring people together and that is exactly what we need right now. However, as you will be well aware, my priority – as it always has been and as it will continue to be — is on representing the views of people in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. To this end, I will be making the case to Humza to prioritise the needs of our region if he is successful in becoming the leader of our party and First Minister. Issues like addressing derelict buildings, improving our transport infrastructure, addressing rural healthcare needs and unlocking the potential of the region – to name just some.

I will, of course, keep members updated on the actions I take to ensure our area is represented and listened to. As always, members can contact me at any time, should you be looking for any advice or support.

And a wee final reminder – please ensure you log onto MYSNP to nominate your candidate and to vote for who you think is the best option for party leader and First Minister.

Yours for South Scotland,
Emma Harper MSP


The last paragraph, by any interpretation, attempts to add a veneer of impartiality to everything above – which is nothing more than blatant electioneering on behalf of Humza.

No other candidate or campaign team leader was offered a similar facility to make their pitch to the South Scotland membership, in the same way Emma Harper did for Humza Yousaf. I do not – and for many reasons could not – support Humza, so I phoned round my Kirkcudbright and District Branch executive to see if they had received a similar email. They all had – at 9.34am.

I then contacted members in the two seats east of Galloway and West Dumfries – Dumfriesshire, and Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, with the same question. They too had been issued the same email by Ms Harper, via Scottish National Party and [email protected], with precisely the same time stamp – 9.34am. I have these emails in my possession – written proof that they were sent on behalf of Humza Yousaf across all three constituencies. Suffice it to say my friends in Dumfriesshire and the Borders are equally incensed at this sleekit attempt to manipulate the vote and sidestep our party’s strict electoral rules.

The Kirkcudbright branch secretary then told me something else. A second email had gone out later that day, February 24, this time to “All Conveners, Secretaries, Organisers, Membership Secretaries, Women’s Officers, Political Education Officers Councillors, MPs and MSPs.”

I am convener of Kirkcudbright and District Branch SNP. It is dated February 24 with a time stamp of 19.10, headed Scottish National Party and sent via [email protected]. It was sent out after nominations had closed at noon that day, and nine hours after Ms Harper’s first email.

It states:

Dear colleague,
With the candidates now confirmed for the Leadership Contest, I wanted to remind all members who have emailing rights on about their responsibilities during the period of the contest.
We encourage branches and elected members to make sure that members are aware of the contest, and engage with it, either through attendance at in-person or online hustings. It’s an important period, and it’s important that members have buy-in to the process, since for many it will be the first time that they’ve voted for a party leader.
The dedicated page for the contest on the member portal will stay up to date with information throughout the period of the contest.
I would like to draw your attention to the section on organisational neutrality. It’s important that, in sending emails to members, that personal thoughts on who to back are not conveyed to others. Who an individual member chooses to vote for will be up to them. This also applies to branch/organisational social media accounts. The views of the individual(s) with login details for a social media account do not determine views of the branch/organisation. So no mention of support for a particular candidate should be shared on those accounts. And under no circumstances should any membership data be given to a candidate or candidates.

Please also note that under Rule 4.2 any party organisation organising an event with any candidate during the election period must issue an invitation to all candidates.
The relevant part of the rules (which can be found here) are:
9. Organisational Neutrality
9.1     All hustings must be conducted in a manner which gives no advantage to any of the candidates seeking selection.
9.2     No resources of the Party, including membership data, may be used by, or made available to, any candidate seeking election.
9.3         No Party meeting may take a vote preferring any candidate in the election.
9.4         No member may use a Party email facility to seek to influence the votes of members in the election.
9.5         Headquarters staff must not act, or be asked to act, in a way which would call into question their impartiality.
9.6         Parliamentarians and councillors must ensure that neither they nor their staff use parliamentary or council resources for campaigning.
If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Lorna Finn
National Secretary

Of particular relevance are points 9.2, 9.4 and 9.5.

Point 9.2 clearly states that “No resources of the Party, including membership data, may be used by, or made available to, any candidate seeking election”. Ms Harper is Humza’s lead campaign organiser in the south. She deliberately, on his behalf, lobbied thousands of members across the south seeking their support for him, to the total exclusion of the other candidates.

Similarly, point 9.4 states that “no member may use a party email facility to seek to influence the votes of members in the election”. Ms Harper, acting on Mr Yousaf’s behalf, did precisely that in direct contravention of the party’s constitution and rules regarding ‘Organisational Neutrality’.

Point 9.5 also has relevance: “Headquarters staff must not act, or be asked to act, in a way which would call into question their impartiality.” Plainly, headquarters staff granted Ms Harper access to the entire South of Scotland membership database. It is inconceivable that Ms Harper’s actions were unknown to HQ – and, suffice it to say, key personnel therein. In short, they too stand accused of acting outwith the party’s constitution and rules.

There is much more I could say but at this moment in time I will refrain from doing so.

But I want to place on record one thing.  This is my party, the party I love. Unlike many, I have never left, and I will not do so.

I leave it up to others to decide who is bringing our great party into disrepute – I, or all those at whose door I lay the blame for this shameful cheating and trashing of Scottish National Party internal democracy.

In conclusion, Scotland’s cause means more to me than words can express. I have six grandchildren all of whom, for the present at least, thankfully remain within Caledonia’s shores. I want only that they should have the best possible future as citizens of an independent Scotland, of Europe and the world.

And it is for them that I fight for independence – more, much more, than for myself.

Such a happy and necessary event can only happen if the SNP returns to form at the head of the entire YES movement. Our party will never be able to win independence without that great civic force for good, of creativity, hope and imagination.

The onus is on us to lead by example, whereby our internal party democracy acts as a template for our country’s future democracy and constitution, one founded on the pillars of justice, truth, openness and equality of opportunity for all.

In conjunction with that it goes without saying that corruption, nepotism and gerrymandering of opinion have no place in our party, and never should have.

We cannot, must not, emulate the unionist parties in going down the anti-democratic path.  We are better than that.

As an ordinary SNP member and branch convenor, I therefore call on Humza Yousaf, as a matter of honour and integrity, to immediately resile himself from the leadership contest and withdraw his candidature, for the reasons I have outlined above.

Caledonianly yours,

Steve Norris
Kirkcudbright and District SNP ”


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173 thoughts on “The Cheats’ Election

1 2
  • M biyd

    There’s something very strange about the Nursery case raised in Dundee and why it was suddenly dropped shortly before Sturgeon’ s removal.

  • Lovely

    This is the problem with leaders embedded in their own corruption. They cannot just go quietly and must try to secure continuity of their corruption for fear of various skeletons tumbling out of all sorts of closets, not to mention the mouths that need to be fed of their support networks, who have not gained their status on merit but rather dumb feudal fealty of the worst kind. Very difficult to undo all this once it has become the rule. We can only hope that the severity of the situation means we hit rock bottom soon and can then reassess and rebuild quickly and strongly.

  • Republicofscotland

    Thank you Mr Norris for this, it must be really difficult for you to watch this happening in the party you love and have served for decades, we can’t let this happen, this gerrymandering, this deceit and sleekitness, our entire country rests on the openness and fairness of this contest, something must be done to ensure that its a democratic process, those within the party must fight for its soul or the party will be lost and go the way of BLiS.

  • Goose

    Kate Forbes and Ash Regan need to unite and start releasing joint statements condemning this outrageous preferential treatment by SNP HQ. Treatment and resources aimed at manufacturing a joyless victory for their already ‘chosen,’ deeply uninspiring candidate.

    • Alf Baird

      Forbes has nae plan for independence as her interview on STV tonight confirmed. What can one expect of a Cambridge graduate? She’s nae leeberator, neither’s useless. That anely leaves Regan. This isnae deeficult, SNP members. Tho maist o ye nivver seen throu Sturgeon either.

      • Funn3r

        As a free speech enthusiast I feel bad for asking this – but is this ScotSpeak thing really necessary? It’s hard to read at best and pretentious at worst. I am from Yorkshire but I don’t pepper every post with “Ay up chuck” and “By Gum.”

        • Alf Baird

          Peoples in self-determination conflict are always linguistically divided. Language is central to ‘national consciousness’ and without the latter there widnae be ony momentum for independence. As Albert Memmi wrote, due to colonialism: “the colonized no longer knew his language except in the form of a lowly dialect. In order to emerge from the most elementary monotony and emotions, he had to borrow the colonizer’s language. In recovering his autonomous and separate destiny, he immediately goes back to his own tongue”

          • Funn3r

            Yes I can well see your valid point. The first act of an oppressive occupier is to outlaw the native language, as we have seen recently in Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine and Latvia where Russian language got banned. I was not complaining. However if you were using it for stylistic effect I was respectfully pointing out that it did not work (for me.)

            In fact it raises interesting questions about what actually is the “real” language of Scotland? When I used to travel to away games at the Glasgow Ice Centre I, as an English native English speaker, genuinely failed to understand much of the speech of the locals. I definitely would have had no chance with Scottish Gaelic. Post-independence from England/Westminster would Scotland even want to keep a language named “English” I wonder.

          • Alf Baird

            Obviously, ” it did not work (for me.)” “as an English native English speaker,”

            Thons cause Scots isnae yer ain mither langage. Englis isnae ma langage tho hit wis garred doon ma thrapple in the schuil.

            There are two indigenous languages in Scotland – Scots and Gaelic – and only Gaelic has since 2005 been given ‘authority’, the other (‘Scots’) is far too risky politically because if ‘Scots’ was taught to maist Scots, the fowk wad suin ken thay haed aye bin deprived o lairnin thair ain mither tongue. Language forms the basis of national identity and national culture, hence is rather critical in any self-determination of ‘a people’ situation.

            What Scots speakers suffer from is what is known as the ‘torture of colonial bilingualism’, where they are forced to marginalise and subordinate their own language in favour of another peoples ‘superior’ language.


          • Funn3r

            An interesting read Alf and it supports my point. I quote, “The Scots language is therefore a key determinant of Scottish independence.”

            I looked at your parliamentary website ( and it seems to be presented entirely in English English with none of the widnaes. Someone should tell them they are doing it wrong.

          • The Seer

            If I had a pound for every time Alf Baird started a sentence ….” As Albert Memmi wrote…..”
            Do stop it Alf …. you’re becoming boring.

          • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

            Funn3r: “I looked at your parliamentary website ( and it seems to be presented entirely in English English with none of the widnaes. Someone should tell them they are doing it wrong.”
            Language has strangely never become a mainstream political issue in Scotland. In my view Alf Baird is entirely correct to persistently emphasise that the Scots have internalised (ie thoroughly submerged and suppressed) their linguistic — even more than their economic and territorial — colonisation. They seem frustratingly impervious to Orwell’s unassailable existential insight in 1984 that our language comprehensively (though happily not exhaustively) influences our consciousness. And it is not just a matter of differing terminologies. It involves holistic immersion, from tenses to timbre, and all the joyous resonant familiarities of contemporary and historical community. Orwell seems to be read more often simply in terms of traditional left-right Clydeside politics. But he certainly needs to be listened to by Scots far more assiduously. His message remains vital for our survival —

            “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and very subtle expression to every meaning that a party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word ‘free’ still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’, since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.
            (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Harmondsworth, 1968, pp. 241-2)

            Scottish (Gaelic) does have a profile on the Scottish Parliament website, though beneath the veneer one is quickly back into English:


            This is in marked contrast to the authentic integral (belligerent) bilingualism of the Welsh Senedd:


            Interestingly, on the European Parliament website Irish now has an expanding place, though essentially just for text. In-house videos suggest the main-lining of English more since Brexit (curiously):


            Which all rather brings to mind François Mitterand, who once said: “Un peuple qui perd ses mots n’est plus entendu de personne” (“A people which loses its words is no longer understood by anyone.” The writer Philipe de Saint Robert added: “Et par malheur ne s’entend plus lui-même”(“And unfortunately no longer understands itself”). Lucien Bouchard, one-time Canadian ambassador to France remarked: “Pour nous, Canadiens, la Francophonie n’est pas seulement une façon de vivre – c’est une façon de survivre” (“For us, French-Canadians, being Francophone is not just a way of life/ vivre — it is a way of surviving/ survivre”).

          • Bayard

            “This is in marked contrast to the authentic integral (belligerent) bilingualism of the Welsh Senedd:”

            It does seem to me that the Welsh care more about their language than the inhabitants of any other of the non-English parts of the British Isles, also that a greater proportion of Welsh infants learn it as their first language.

        • Robert McAllan

          “ScotSpeak”! Thayres nae sic a thing min! Ah jalouse ye micht hae bin dumbfoonert whan ye cast yer een ower the comment o’ Alf Baird yestreen. Dinna fash yersel, if ye cannae unnerstaun OOR langage,OOR ain mither tung. Losh me, thayres nae mair pretentious than yon Yorkshire chiel Wullie Hague haverin awa wi’ a bool in he’s moo chauvin tae spik richt fine like!

        • DGYP

          Whit’s some Englishman daein oan a Scottish site whining aboot the wey Scottish folk talk oan it? Incredible! Yer like a yank wittering oan aboot watching Scottish films n needing subtitles fir thum. Gauche beyond belief. Still annoyed the English didnae manage tae batter it ootay us in aw yer attempts tae kill oor culture n mither tongues? Awa tae some English site n spread yer petty, tacky Scots-linguistics-loathing contempt n condescension aboot the ‘Sweaties’ n the funny wey we speak.

      • sadscot

        Your outright hostility towards Forbes is really ugly and on a par with those who attacked her so viciously last week.

        • Jules Orr

          He points out she has no plan for independence and is therefore useless as a candidate to lead the independence movement. They are inconvenient facts about her not “ugly” or “vicious” libels.

          • sadscot

            His attacks on her, so far, have been disgusting. And vicious. And ugly. I am allowed a view, thanks very much, so please don’t dictate to me how I should think.

      • richard mackinnon

        Alf Baird
        February 28, 2023 at 23:42
        ” What can one expect of a Cambridge graduate? ”
        Wow. Words escape me.

          • Alf Baird

            Fact is, A dinnae see mony Scottis naitional leeberators comin oot o Cambridge Uni (or Scottish ‘elite’ uni’s either). Red and blue Tories aplenty, aye. A micht bi wrang, mebbe. Our cultural values are difficult to cast off.

            But let us know when/if you ever find Forbes’ (or Yousaf’s) plan for independence…………..

  • Stewart McMutrie

    I personally don’t think that the closed hustings is being done for the benefit of the candidates. I am an SNP member with a seat at a hustings and I would not feel comfortable asking a question if the proceedings were either live streamed, televised or reported in the press. I don’t feel I am alone in that respect.
    Steve Norris makes a powerful argument for democracy within the party which I fully support. Throwing its members to the ravages of a largely unsupportive media is not democratic as it will, IMHO, merely stifle the likelihood of interesting, probing and informative questions being asked

    • Goose

      How are members who can’t attend supposed to judge in that case?

      There’s talk of allowing just one camera and livestreaming, not the entire media pack. And there are other ways to submit questions if someone is too nervous to speak; either by written means, or by an audience ‘show of hands,’ prior to the hustings. Given the SNP’s New Labour-esque control freakery, and the determination to impose Humza, they’ll probably try to rig the audience with Humza supporters. As per the BBC’s Question Time and its frequently appearing ex-UKIP council candidate, Billy Mitchell.

      The most popular question from any truly representative audience, to each of the candidates, would doubtless be: “What is the quickest way of achieving independence?” SNP supporters will want to hear their answers.

    • craig Post author

      To be honest Stewart, having been involved in politics my whole life alongside every kind of character you can think of, I have limited sympathy towards somebody too scared to ask their question in public, and I even have a very callous feeling that somebody who is too feart for a simple participation in a democratic process that is perfectly normal, should just stay out of it, or give their question to a less scared person to answer.

      I am afraid I have stopped feeling any desire to try to understand the modern fashion for elevating “feelings” above logic.

        • Goose

          I think you’re perfectly valid in seeing possible ulterior motives and HQ chicanery for these ‘behind closed-doors’ demands.

          Justice should be seen to be done.

          It’s far harder to claim Humza dominated the hustings, if people can watch online, and suspicions mount that the audience was rigged with Humza supporters. This could well be the real reason they want no live coverage? Think that kind of mendacious behaviour is beyond these people? If only.

          That may indeed be cynical, but with good reason. Look at the Labour party. Starmer spends £1m on his leadership campaign, the most on any internal UK election ever. While refusing to reveal those financing it and pushing an entirely false left-wing prospectus. And now, like some dictator, Southside HQ is excluding long serving local candidates from party long lists, instead parachuting in candidates who couldn’t find the places they are seeking to represent on a map. UK democracy, insomuch as it exists at all, is shit.

        • Stewart McMutrie

          I initially felt shut down and dismissed as a lesser being for not having your political experience but you were self aware enough to apologise so apology accepted
          My issue remains that you and ‘Goose’ both considered it acceptable to judge me without knowing my circumstances and it is that instant rushing to judgement which is so prevalent in the MSM and social media that I cannot risk and which IMHO is damaging wider engagement in society in general.
          I wasn’t and am not saying that I am right, only that I have a point of view on a topic you raised which I think is valid and which you may not have considered. With that I will withdraw back into the shadow that is the internet probably never to be seen here again

          BTW Goose – FYI to get my ticket I didn’t have to fill in some Question Time style proforma. I just applied and gave my membership number, nothing else.

          • Goose

            Stewart McMutrie

            How do you know if they don’t hold other information on you as a member? Parties these days compile vast datasets on members, under the guise of ‘comparative research.’

            The point I was making, is that it’s in the interests of natural justice and fairness, for these events not to be rigged. And to be judged as giving a fair hearing to all the candidates.

            The ‘safe spaces’ stuff is nonsense. This is rough, tough grown-up politics, not an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The Scottish people have a right to see their prospective next First Minister taking questions, do they not?

          • Alf Baird

            You only have one candidate offering independence, Stewart. Lat’s howp you an ither SNP memmers mak the richt chyce, eh!

          • yesindyref2

            I was at two depute hustings during my 3 years membership, and asked a question at the second. I wouldn’t have even attended if I was to be splashed all over TV – I have a micro business and Unionist customers.

            On this issue the SNP is totally correct about not allowing in the media, but a single camera just pointing at the candidates ONLY could be OK as long as the members can remain anon.

          • S

            I think it’s good if everyone could become more aware of why certain people don’t participate in public debates. People have lost their jobs from ill-thought-out or misinterpreted political quips, and so many people prefer to remain anonymous. I am forever grateful for people who do publicly debate.

            That said I have mixed feelings about the hustings. I would love for more people to feel able to participate in the political process. But shutting out 90% of the electorate doesn’t seem to achieve that goal. And we will get biased reporting from the hustings, with no way to know what actually happened.

          • craig Post author

            Stewart, I had no political experience either, until the first time I got on my hind legs and spoke my mind. Try it, it’s very liberating. You don’t need to hide.

        • Runner77

          Has the truth now become unsayable, even by those who are ostensibly critics of the ongoing corruption? Are you not undermining the accuracy of what you first said, and at the same time exemplifying the currently politically correct prioritisation of “feelings” over reality??

          In an era when truth itself is threatened by the imposition of wall-to-wall propaganda, this sort of evasiveness and denial leads downhill very fast . . .

    • Stevie Boy

      Ignoring the total corruption being openly waved in people’s faces, I would say if the candidates for the role of FM cannot stand the heat of modern questioning practices (moronic shouting and grandstanding) then they really shouldn’t be in this particular kitchen !
      Modern politics is not informative, interesting, probing or grown up, it’s a club for mentally deficient grifters.

    • DavidH

      That’s an incredibly weak defense.
      Of course, what’s the point of “interesting, probing and informative questions being asked” if the answers aren’t heard by anybody outside that room?

    • lawrenceab

      It is far better the media attend, for transparency. As of course far better to enable live-streaming.

      You can prevent media abuse either by allowing them in as observers with no right to ask questions; or by allowing them one question only each (per organ! 3 attendees from say BBC, but one BBC question)

    • Jane Morrison

      Simple solution.. Questions can be written down on a piece of paper and asked anonymously.. For those who are camera shy.

  • Robert Dyson

    What’s to say? This is like elections in the countries with dictators (what am I saying?).
    I hope that the near 100,000 SNP members who cannot hear the debates will pick this up and with rage (and hope) vote for one of the women.

  • MrPJS

    Is Emma Harper’s misuse of members’ email addresses a personal data breach under the GDPR? Members didn’t sign up to receive emails promoting leadership candidates, after all, did they?

    The fines for this can be enormous. should everyone who received Emma Harper’s email report her and/or the party to the information commissioner’s office?

    here’s the link if anyone’s interested:

    • Macamhaoilein

      They certainly didn’t sign up to have their details shared with one (at the time) unknown candidate, at the exclusion of others.

      But, more importantly, no-one agreed to have their details shared in any way that was against the rules of the party.

    • Graham

      I’m sitting here spitting blood. Yousaf, “honour and integrity”, he doesn’t know the meanings of those words. Sadly, Mr Norris has just reaffirmed why I will never vote SNP again (after a lifetime of doing so). I suggest he finds another political party to further his independence ambitions.

  • NeverEndum

    It seems like the SNP just can’t help inviting proceedings for Judicial Review. This behaviour seems eminently actionable if Humza continues as a candidate and is elected. For the good of the party, and its finances, he should withdraw now or risk a court declaring the process void. ‘Tainted by bias’ springs to mind. The Government paid Alex Salmond’s costs of over £500,000. This time it would have to come out of SNP coffers. The members are already £600,000 down it seems. They shouldn’t have to fork out more for this act of gross incompetence.

  • Ian

    The SNP are now the party of an autocratic inner circle who believe their entitlement to office, and all the perks of power and patronage, are there to further their own interests. They have transformed the party into an elite club for their sectional interests, with members expected to rubber stamp their flaky incompetence and don’t rock the boat. It is very sad that many Scots are duped into thinking these people are somehow working in their interests and consistently vote for them despite their record – giving us a one party state with no challenge to their feeble agenda.
    The idea that hustings are to be conducted behind closed doors, to only a minority of party members, speaks volumes about the levels of arrogance and control freakery with which they have behaved. They are not conducting a mere party election, but one which will give us a new FM. Therefore any party with a democratic mandate would understand that all of the citizens of the country have a direct interest in not just who is elected, but just as importantly, the ideas which are debated and thrashed out. Cutting us all out just tells us how little they care for the electorate or democratic scrutiny. Even Labour and the tories conducted public debates, for the simple reason that they wanted the public to hear their ideas and support them. That the SNP feels no need to persuade anybody, of let some light into their future policies, tells us all how they expect to keep getting voted in, and we can just lump whatever rancid policy decisions they make and whatever incompetent leader they choose – in an election with no oversight of the integrity of the voting or the counting. It makes Trump look like a loser in stitching up his party and elections.

    Utterly shameful. Scotland desperately needs a vigorous, lively open debate on policy and independence. The SNP is determined that we shouldn’t have one. Vote them out.

    • Ian

      footnote: my siblings are diabetic, and if it was suggested to them that they are disabled, they would be very angry indeed. They live full lives without needing to be so categorised. Harper’s election is deeply insulting on that basis.

    • Bayard

      “an autocratic inner circle who believe their entitlement to office, and all the perks of power and patronage, are there to further their own interests.”

      Sounds like the court of one of the Stuart monarchs. It’s not taken Scotland long to regress five hundred years.

  • alan scott

    As a Unionist can I just say to all of you Nationalists out there that this is great fun. Keep up the good work and with a modicum of luck the SNP will implode back to the influence they used to have.

    • Alf Baird

      There is no union so how can you be “a unionist”? In a union a partner has a veto to end it, i.e. via a majority of national MPs or MSPs. Scots have voted in six majorities of ‘nationalists’ MPs and MSPs yet still they take their damn seats and oath to the British croun. The SNP wasters dinnae ken what ‘nationalism’ is.

      • Steph Johnson

        Well said Alan, this whole exercise is truly hilarious – endless rifts and u-turns – and Alf you really need to take a wee break!… There was a “veto” to end it, and it failed, in 2014. A majority of MPs and MSPs is not a majority of Scots. The “will of the people!” as SNats often say! (Oh and it’s “crown” by the way.)
        Why does no-one have the guts to ask Humpty Useless his views on gay marriage? He plays the card all the time, why not on this subject, as his Imam will no doubt have instructed him.

        • Ian

          If the SNP implodes it doesn’t mean the demand for independence will be dented. Quite the opposite is possible, and a more credible, rebuilt SNP in the future may be much more effective. So i wouldn’t get too excited about reversing the obvious widespread support for independence, particularly amongst the young.

    • Stevie Boy

      Yes, but it’s not new is it ? And they’ll all vote for one of the f!!ckers and then sit round moaning about how they turned out to be corrupt afterwards. Still haven’t worked it out yet have they ?

  • John O'Dowd

    This all very familiar to me as a former member of the Labour Party – same dirty tricks, nepotism and manipulation. It was no surprise that Kinnock betrayed the miners when Labour should have been right behind them.

    Working in London for a time cured me of any notion that Scotland’s interests were served by the Union. I spent 36 years in the SNP after that – until two years ago and the stitch-up of Alex Salmond. The present corruption is just the next level of that. Joining the SNP was a breath of fresh air at the time. But it has gone the same way with careerists – and worse – taking control. Same methods – same kind of people!

    My sadness that this has what has become of the SNP is exceeded only by my desolation that a Humza stitch-up will end any possibility of independence for the foreseeable future – which is of course the underlying aim.

    We now have to start at the bottom once again with Alba.

    At my age I fear I will never see a liberated Scotland.

    Beyond sad!

  • PhilM

    It should also be borne in mind that someone elevated from being a cabinet Secretary to First Minister stands to make a personal financial gain of tens of thousands of pounds (just under £60,000 I think). All kinds of potential hangers-on, sorry, valued members of staff would also stand to gain financially as every candidate tends to bring with them trusted friends, sorry, talented colleagues.

  • SleepingDog

    Speaking philosophically, I have attended in-person and online events where the standard of questions were poor, or people made mini-speeches instead of asking a question, or where there was some repetition. Good moderators seem able to weed out some of the chaff, try to make sense of awkwardly-worded questions (or translate for the recipient), compile duplicate questions into one best form. By poor questions I mean things like lacking relevancy, or had answers that could easily be looked up online, or were weaker versions of stronger questions, or were needlessly verbose, or were really directed at someone other than the recipient, or primarily rhetorical, or of overly localised/specialised/generalised nature, or overly aggressive/fawning, or serving the interests of some party but not the general audience or public, or non sequiturs, and so on: questions that waste time.

    Is there a best-practice guide for asking questions at political hustings that the SNP would care to recommend?

  • yesindyref2

    As an ordinary SNP member and branch convenor, I therefore call on Humza Yousaf, as a matter of honour and integrity, to immediately resile himself from the leadership contest and withdraw his candidature, for the reasons I have outlined above.

    No, that is not the appropriate action. It would seem that, if this is all true, Emma Harper should be called to account, but unless it could be proven that Yousaf was aware of this and / or sanctioned it, he can not be disciplined for it.

    That is exactly the same as that rigged the National poll, where all those votes suddenly appeared (I was watching it and keeping count of the votes for a fair time as I was watching the TV). In fact for that poll there was a similar burst for Regan and Forbes – as the National actually described in its article. They too can not be held responsible for whatever bots were involved there.

    However, even more people will be watching this election, voting can not start until 13th March, and THAT should be checked out. If you wanted to take it further, a report to the ICO might be appropriate – the SNP data officer is responsible for members’ data.

    Ultimately too, I believe that unsuccessful candidates can legally challenge the result, and clearly a fully honest and transparent voting process would be required in court to prove that the result was fair.

    Good luck, and be alert. Scotland needs Lerts.

    • SleepingDog

      @yesindyref2, well, quite. A condemnation of an alleged breach of due process is hardly bolstered by an insistence on the relinquishment of due process.

    • David W Ferguson

      No, that is not the appropriate action. It would seem that, if this is all true, Emma Harper should be called to account, but unless it could be proven that Yousaf was aware of this and / or sanctioned it, he can not be disciplined for it…

      Should have gone to Specsavers. As Stephen Norris explained in the article:

      I have learned that she spoke to Mr Yousaf about his campaign and strategy for the south the day before she sent the blanket email – a fact of which I have written proof…

      • yesindyref2

        Try reading what it actually says:

        I have learned that she spoke to Mr Yousaf about his campaign and strategy for the south the day before she sent the blanket email – a fact of which I have written proof.

        That does NOT say he requested it, approved it or even knew about it before it happened – or after for that matter. All it says is that she “spoke to Mr Yousaf about his campaign and strategy for the south the day before”.

        Unless Steve Norris wants to clarify, and it turns out that his “written proof” does include Yousaf’s certain advance knowledge and approval of her actions.

        • sadscot

          The point is that Harper should be facing an investigation for breaching rules right, left and centre, including Data Protection laws. That is serious and should be made public right across our media.

    • Steve Norris

      Jeezo. The data officer?
      SNP HQ itself facilitated Mr Harper’s blanket email to members.
      And Humza knew all about this, as I outlined in my article.
      Please put away your fig leaf.

      • yesindyref2

        And Humza knew all about this, as I outlined in my article.

        Actually you didn’t, as I said above in reply to David W Ferguson – could you clarify what your proof actually says to show that he actually did know, rather than just have a blether in general terms with Harper?

        Jeezo. The data officer?

        Data Protection Officer. The individual responsible for GDPR compliance at the SNP. If you and those other members think your personal data has been abused you can complain to that organisation as the first step, then to the ICO.

        SNP HQ itself facilitated Mr Harper’s blanket email to members.

        Hence the data officer, whose duty it is to prevent any breach or misuse of personal data, according to the registration which details use of members personal information, such as email addresses. The SNP is a tier 2 registrant.

        You don’t seem to understand Steve. If there has been a breach of the GDPR, the maximum penalty is 20 million euros. It’s a serious issue.

        • yesindyref2

          Oh, and if there was any breach by any organisation, it’s up to that organisation to self-report that breach to the ICO, and it’s the duty of the DPO to make sure that anyone in the organisation with access to the data, is trained in its use and their responsibilities to the GDPR. That would include restricting use of that data to the purposes described to the individuals when gathering the info. At a quick glance, that would include 9.4.

          There are no fig leaves when it comes to compliance with the GDPR, and co-operation in the case of any breach. They can be very expensive.

    • Jimmeh

      > but unless it could be proven that Yousaf was aware of this and / or sanctioned it, he can not be disciplined for it.

      It seems to me that this whole election process is screwed. We currently have our second unelected PM sitting in Downing Street. Everyone knows that in Westminster elections, voters recognize the leadership candidate much more than their local constituency candidate. Sure, if a party leader resigns while in office, it’s a matter for the party to choose a new leader; BUT THEN YOU HOLD A GENERAL ELECTION. Otherwise you get this kind of nonsense going on.

      • Bayard

        “We currently have our second unelected PM sitting in Downing Street.”

        If Sunak is “unelected”, they are all “unelected”. Only a party leader’s constituents vote for them at a general election, not the whole country. Not everyone takes the view that the leader is the party. This is the UK, not the US. What you mean is we currently have the second Prime Minister in a row who hasn’t led their party into a general election.

    • terence callachan

      Yesindyref, you are wrong. Humza Yousaf does not even need to be proven as being involved aware or that he sanctioned it; if the members think he did – and I don’t think there will be many like you who think he didn’t – they will put an end to him, simple as that. And hey, remember if you jump to the defence of someone who looks guilty and there is evidence of guilt, you look guilty too.
      I’m inclined to say to you, what’s your game?
      I know you have unionist customers and don’t want them to know who you are but if you want to participate in the Scottish independence discussion, come out from under your bush and show yourself. It’s cowardly, even deceptive, not to.

  • Max

    I am old enough to remember the SNP ‘Yoof’ movement in the late 80s. It seemed to me at the time that its ‘high-flyers’ miraculously climbed the party ladder merely by ‘helping’ count the National Council votes at the yearly conference, – it really was that simple! Fast forward thirty years and those same people now dominate the party. Thus any idea that they might organize this leadership contest fairly is laughable. As Stalin once said, “I don’t care how people vote, only who counts the votes.”

  • Rita Calder

    And that is the party you first believed in….
    Let’s return to the viability of an independent Scotland, give me and all the other people a viable, economical reason, to be Independent, not Wallace, not The Bruce, give us true facts , because this present Scottish Gov. have squandered so much on vanity projects. I don’t need to list them, they are obvious!! Convince this Unionist!! Because “everything will be OK if we are Independent” just doesn’t cut it for me.

    • DavidH

      I agree. Although Craig Murray here has been one of the few who has led his independence views with thoughts on the viability and practical models of government, I think too many are fighting on political ideals or anti-Tory, nationalist slogans that go no way towards a workable independence proposal.

    • twathater

      Yes, Rita, we need to convince you because you are too lazy or incompetent to look up the information for yourself. There are multiple educational pieces online and elsewhere, researched and provided by independence supporters, not necessarily political party members or supporters.

      In fact one of the things I have posted about interminably on all sorts of blogs is the FACT that the snp and sturgeon in particular have been diabolically woeful on supplying any information to attract, educate or convince no-or-undecided voters to the benefits of independence; YET sturgeon has at every election called on independence supporters to go out and convert no and undecided voters WITHOUT any OFFICIAL material.
      IF you were really interested in what the benefits of independence would be instead of trying to bait people it really wouldn’t take much looking or investigating. For a start, ALL you would have to do is look at the incompetence and corruption on display EVERY DAY by the unionist parties – although I do admit the sturgeon moronic imbeciles are fighting hard and challenging for the title.
      BUT independence is NOT about political parties. It is about CONTROL: who has it and how is it used. With WM we get what england wants EVERY TIME; WE have NO CONTROL. If independent WE set the rules: IF a political party is useless WE vote them out – THEY are responsible to US.
      I want independence to CHANGE THINGS. I don’t want a mini WM and the endemic, entitled corruption that comes with that no matter what colour of rosette. I want honesty and integrity from the people we elect or we SACK them.

      I thank Steven Norris for his honesty in relation to the corruption of his party.

      • DavidH

        twathater – You do seem to be agreeing with Rita to some extent that the SNP, as it now is, is not doing a good job of presenting the economic benefits of independence, or a practical model to get there. As a party proposing that a vote for them is a de facto vote for independence, this is a very large omission. And it shouldn’t be assumed that independence models or economic benefits we might find published elsewhere are actually those endorsed by the SNP.

        • twathater

          David I am to a certain extent agreeing with Rita. My problem is that people want the reassurance without doing the work or the investigating. I despise ALL politicians; as Billy Connolly was supposed to have said, anyone WANTING to be a politician, that act should automatically ban them from being so. Does Rita or anyone else NOT believe we couldn’t run Scotland better than the spivs and crooks in WM? Stevie boy’s comment below indicates that we should just give up because naebody will let us run our own country, and we’re no good enough, a glaring example of the TOO WEE, TOO POOR, TOO STUPID. Well stevie boy and Rita can remain on their knees and let the WM thieves destroy Scotland. I prefer to at least fight back, and my preference would be independence first and the JAILING of Sturgeon the betrayer and her morons to follow for crimes against Scotland.

          • DavidH

            “anyone WANTING to be a politician, that act should automatically ban them from being so”
            I’m certainly not arguing with you on that one.

      • Stevie Boy

        Hmm, taking back control. Where have I heard that before ? How did that work out ?
        The rot runs too deep. We got brexit and are now run by the U$A, Ireland got independence and are ruled by the EU and U$A. Who do you think would run an independent Scotland ? Clue: it won’t be the Scots.
        The whole western sh!tshow has to change before the constituent parts can benefit.

  • DavidH

    On a more general note, it seems that many are confusing the Scottish independence fight with their views on the correct policies of government.
    So Sturgeon’s lot present independence as a vehicle for more progressive policies on gender and equality.
    Others see it as a chance to move away from NATO foreign policy and the neo-liberal world order.
    But unless people come together for the sole purpose of independence, for the sake of independence, and lay out a viable, practical model, it’s not going to happen.
    It should also be said that those seeking independence as a vehicle for gaining a government more in line with their personal ideals are more or less certain to be disappointed, even if that independence is won. As Sturgeon’s lot have shown, it’s still going to be politicians in charge of the show, which quickly and inevitably descends into self-interested power play, whichever flag they might fly. Is the cost of replacing Tory schemers and chancers with SNP ones really worth it?

  • yesindyref2

    I’m very much not a “conspiracy theorist”, but there does seem to be a lot of disquiet in the SNP membership. Any attempt like this to gerrymander the process is likely to greatly increase that disquiet, so perhaps this apparent attempt to cheat should, in its way, be welcomed as it might lead to the total clean out of the SNP HQ that seems increasingly to be needed.

    From that point of view, the extreme attacks on Forbes are one thing, the total absence of condemnation by any of the leadership or hierarchy is blatantly clear to outsiders, as is the totally biassed coverage of the National of the election where it’s Yousaf good every day, and Forbes and increasingly Regan, bad.

    People aren’t as stupid as these idiots seem to think.

    Peter Piper

  • mods-cm-org

    I agree that “ostensibly” would be the most lucid substitute. However, it could alternatively be “audaciously”, meaning ‘boldly’. Moreover, “auspiciously” broadly makes sense – at a stretch – with the meaning “showing or suggesting that future success is likely; propitious.” – in which case Ms Harper would be trying to portray her performance as a portent of savvy political judgement.

    The mods can’t replace the word unless we are certain what the intended meaning was; it’s not our choice to make.

    • Jimmeh

      > However, it could alternatively be “audiciously”

      Since we’re correcting malapropisms, let’s correct them correctly. “Audiciously” isn’t a word. Perhaps (given your context) you meant “audaciously”.

      [ Mod: Thanks for typo-spotting. ]

  • Carl

    It could not be more obvious that Humza Yousaf is the choice of anti-independence media. Even so there should be little faith SNP members will reject him. Keir Starmer was equally obviously the pick of a political-media class that had relentlessly monstered Corbyn. HE was warmly endorsed during his leadership campaign by people like George Osborne as well as every centrist ghoul in the Labour party and Guardian newspaper. Labour members refused to understand why. There is little more reason to believe SNP members understand why Yousaf is being endorsed by the Daily Record. In time they may but by then he will be untouchable, out of reach along with Scottish independence.

    • craig Post author

      What a depressing thought Carl. There is also the fact that a large number of SNP members still mysteriously trust Nicola and will accept her nominee.

      • Jimmeh

        A significant proportion of Labour members in England still trust Starmer, even though they can see he’s a liar. They are supporting their party leader, for better or worse (HINT: worse). It’s tribalism, and an abrogation of the duty of electors to think.

        • Goose


          Do they?

          Two in three Britons want new political party to take on Tories and Labour – 61% want ‘completely new type of political party’, survey finds as pessimism hits record high

          Anecdotal admittedly, but when I speak to people who you’d class as politically disinterested, or apolitical, neither Sunak or Starmer are popular. These people don’t follow politics too closely, and even mentioning it gets a groan. They don’t know all of it, but they know about the abandoned ’10 Pledges’ and can spot a slippery political shyster and sleazeball when they see one. The Blairites think they can recreate the buzz around New Labour in 1997, but 2005’s GE, in which post-Iraq war Blair-led Labour crawled across the line, seems more likely. Apathy could have the final say, if the polling in the link above is anywhere near accurate.

        • Bayard

          “It’s tribalism, and an abrogation of the duty of electors to think.”

          We’re not supposed to think any more, w’re just supposed to chant the slogans.

      • Johnny Conspiranoid

        “Well I along with many others did just that, and here we all are unable to influence this unforeseen opportunity!”
        Except that its not an opportunity if the game is fixed. You only legitimise it by taking part.

  • Doug

    I wonder how many remaining members of the SNP bother to find out these things from blogs such as Craig’s? I hope there’s still time for information as supplied by Steve Norris to sink through to the membership masses.

  • Willie

    I am an ex 40-year SNP member.

    In the last Hollyrood election the process for selection was utterly foul and criminally gerrymandered.

    Vetting was delayed for some candidates. Belatedly vetted candidates were then at the very last moment advised of their rejection with little or no time left to appeal. Appeals were thereafter gerrymandered by appeals being heard by an already approved candidate from the same regional list area.

    Moreover, hustings arranged by the constituency and notified to members were cancelled by the intervention of HQ. With only a few days notice a new hustings was arranged and chaired by Mike Russell.

    All IT communication access held by the three branch secretaries, the constituency secretary and the constituency Convener was withdrawn. Branch officials therefore had no communication access to members whilst HQ did.

    At the HQ arranged hustings, and unknown to members, attendees to the hustings were restricted to 100. And so with candidates and HQ officials attending, only around 85 members were able to attend whilst at least a hundred members were denied access.
    Rotten, rotten, rotten to the core, the HQ-parachuted-in candidate Toni Guiglisno was thereafter selected in what was a secret ballot.

    And the result of this gerrymandering and despite HQ resource support deployment was failure.

    In the most marginal seats in the whole of Scotland with a minuscule 109 vote Labour majority, the SNP’s chosen golden boy Toni Guilanni thereafter then failed to take the seat, with Jackie Baillie increasing her majority to 1,483.

    Just one example of the rotten and corrupt NuSNP.

    • Patsy Millar

      Agreed Willie. After a lot of shenanigans I was able to access the hustings but too late to hear each candidate outline their policies. I was also annoyed that we were not told after the voting how many votes each candidate had received; I could see no reason for this. After all, in a GE we know how many votes have been cast.
      I complained about the whole mess but never received a reply never mind an apology.
      I must admit that although I didn’t vote for Toni G (I’m not in favour of candidates being brought in from outwith the area) I did think he was possibly the candidate who might be able to counter Jackie Baillie’s propaganda. In the event, of course, she amassed a lot of votes and support from Conservatives who were afraid of an SNP victory given how close the result had been in the previous GE.

  • Malachy0

    It’s worth noting here that the reason Joan McAlpine was ousted from her rightful seat was because she disagreed with Sturgeon on the introduction of laws and government policies relating to the introduction of self identification of sex. She pointed out, early in the debate, that predatory men would take advantage to access vulnerable women (a fear since demonstrated by the rapist Isla Bryson). The disability mechanism – which lawyers said was unlawful – was then introduced to enable self-ID friendly Emma Harper to claim the seat and vote in favour of the GRR.

    It has occurred to me that if Yousaf becomes First Minister there will then be a vacancy for Health Minister. I wonder if discussions have been had behind the scenes promising elevation to this position if Harper agrees to promote him? Sturgeon appears to be aware of the intellectual limitations and frequent media faux pas of Harper and had avoided promoting her previously, but’s possible that Yousaf, being a bit thick himself, is unaware of her lack of capacity for logical thinking and therefore sees her, an ex-nurse, as an appropriate candidate?

    Finally, there has been a lot of talk about imminent news regarding Murrell and the police investigation into the missing £600k closing in. Nothing has emerged in the news so far. Could it be possible that the Murrells have negotiated a delay in this until the leadership election has been finalised? Thus enabling them time to ensure their favoured candidate is elected? We’ll know soon enough if announcements happen shortly after the new FM is installed with Murrell being questioned under caution. I know this all sounds a bit tin-foil-hat but events have proven that the Murrells are capable of all kinds of machiavellian manoeuvres to maintain their power and conceal their treachery.

  • Caroline Morrison

    Hello. I appreciate all you have said but I feel the heading “the Cheats Election” requires a great deal more information. You have started but not finished. What else do you know but are not willing to tell.
    Obviously the “rules” have been broken by someone, perhaps with the knowledge of others, to push their own agenda. Implying that Mr. Yousaf has the backing of “The Murrells”. I’d love to know how to connect all this to them.

  • Alex Birnie

    If Kate Forbes wins the election, will the folk who subscribe to the nonsense spread on this blog finally remove their tin foil hats? ……. or will they jam them on even tighter, and find some nefarious reason as to why Ash Regan didn’t win?

      • Goose

        On Twitter, people associated with the independence movement complain that Forbes has said nothing on independence. Apart from being slightly less entangled with the Sturrells, how is she an improvement over the appalling Humza?

        If she and Ash had some agreement, whereby whoever wins would make the other the Deputy First Minister, would that not instil more confidence in her independence credo? The Deputy First Minister is appointed by the First Minister obviously.

        The secret unionist ‘trougher’ wing, and those genuinely seeking independence are seemingly fighting like rats in a sack.

      • Alex Birnie

        You don’t think it’s possible that Yousaf coukd win, if the election is fair and above board?

        You don’t see the parallels between your blinkered, bubble-inspired opinions and those of Donald Trump?

        • Alex Birnie

          I have no idea who is going to win. I’m probably going to vote for Yousaf, on the grounds that he seems to be the most competent.

          Right now, I feel the same sense of despair that I felt when Salmond resigned. I didn’t think that Sturgeon could fill his shoes. Turned out I was wrong. She (in my opinion) has out-performed Salmond, and I hope her successor repeats that trick.

          My biggest fear is that the quest for independence could become violent, and that’s why I reject your views, and the views of your fellow travellers like Stu Campbell and the rest. Your willingness to ignore the wishes of our no-voting FRIENDS and COUNTRYMEN is scary, and with the example of what happened in NI, and to a much, much lesser extent, the example of what happened in George Square, when the unionists turned violent after they’d WON the referendum, your careless attitude towards peaceful democracy scares the bejesus out of me. Freedom for my country is very high on my agenda, but the safety of my grandchildren and great grandchildren is even higher.

          I will support whoever wins this contest, in the hope that their continued, steady political pressure will win over sufficient numbers of no voters to make independence a certainty, rather than a gamble, which it is right now.

          • Jules Orr

            The Daily Record is promoting Humza. No doubt cause they think he’s the most competent.

          • Alf Baird

            ” I’m probably going to vote for Yousaf, on the grounds that he seems to be the most competent.”

            How do you know? he’s never had a real job outside politics. Neither has Forbes really. All they know is colonial administration – and ferries and hospitals etc. etc. seem dysfunctional, hardly models of competence. Seems a lucrative ‘racket’ for some, and according to postcolonial theory that is precisely what it is.

        • Bayard

          Why is everyone who queries the validity of an election, no matter how justified that query, now compared to Donald Trump?

      • Goose


        The btl comments are good. @Confused puts this sketchy process into some perspective:

        “At the risk of enraging Protestants, the system used by the Vatican to elect a new pope was analyzed by anti-fraud people and thought to be extremely secure. SNP HQ need not do the thing with the smoke though.

        Since there is no independent audit trail, people need to set one up themselves; report how you voted on social media, or someone setup a site with a “how I voted” app. If enough people use it, the statistics will be sound. Being unofficial it will be panned by the media, but it will tell you “how bad the smell really is”.”

        Farcical, isn’t it, in 2023.

        • Republicofscotland


          Farcical indeed, Murrell really needs Yousaf, and then Forbes to win, Yousaf winning would see absolutely no change, and all of Murrells and Sturgeons dirty little secrets remain undiscovered. Forbes has said that she’s not keen on the 50+1 victory at any election leading to independence, I mean WTF, the SNP’s raison d’ etre is to obtain independence by ANY means possible, or it used to be before Sturgeon and Murrell ruined the party’s reputation

          No Ash Regan is the ONLY candidate for FM that wants independence, that’s why all the stops will be pulled out to make sure she doesn’t win. Every dirty little trick in the book, and then some, will be used to make sure Regan loses, and the real losers will be the whole of Scotland, unless the membership does something about it, for they are the party and they cannot allow this to happen.

          If Forbes or Yousaf wins, the SNP are finished in my book, as an independence party, and Alba will take their place.

          • Republicofscotland

            Re my above comment, sadly it looks like the membership bottled it years ago, and now have no real recourse to do anything of any real value.

            “Ordinary members have no mechanism to demand anything since the Sturrell gang abolished the NC & gerrymandered NEC. The membership should have gone ballistic when NC was abolished but didn’t – too starry-eyed over ‘Oor Nicola’ to act on any disquiet they felt. Now it’s too late.”


          • Goose

            What is troubling, is how all these SNP MSPs and MPs who are now trashing Regan’s 50+1 plan as the stuff of fantasy, were up until 2 weeks ago, supposedly, all on board for the GE ‘de facto referendum’ plan? What changed?

            Pete Wishart and his independence FUD Is a prime example of this kind of doublethink.

            Surely, it’s better to have a leader who is running ahead of public opinion on independence, trying to persuade people of the merits. Rather than having someone being dragged kicking and screaming, reluctantly towards independence by the membership. There’s little doubt Sturgeon inherited a nation virtually on the brink of independence in 2014. All that was needed was more drive & promotion. Despite relative electoral success for the SNP, she singularly failed to translate that support into greater support for independence, instead allowing the movement to tread water for 8 years.

          • Goose

            Every cloud has a silver lining.

            Humza will act as a great recruiting sergeant for Alba. But that could take 5-10 years of electoral transfers. You may see a Labour recovery of sorts in Scotland in the meantime, that is, until people realise that Starmer’s Labour are to the right of the rejected New Labour and Jim Murphy.
            Humza’s SNP will likely see a loss of Westminster seats at the next GE to Labour, as various scandals dog the party. Anyone promoting Humza should accept he’s not very popular to begin with, and unlike Regan, he hasn’t got the excuse of being relatively unknown. This unpopularity and indifference is shown in the members’ poll; he’s far from a natural successor or heir-apparent, however much SNP HQ desires to present him as such.

      • Alex Birnie

        Republic of Scotland, sorry, but I can’t reply fully to your comment, because I only read blogs which allow others of conflicting views to express their opinion. The toerag who runs “Wings” blocked me from replying on his blog years ago, and I think he’s a complete scoundrel.

        While I heartily disagree with Craig’s views on the means of obtaining independence, he is a man of immense honour, and I read every word he writes with great interest.

        I can’t envisage a situation where Craig would resort to blocking folk with opposing views.

        • Alex Birnie

          Goose, reading your comments is like talking to my brother. Unfortunately, he is a unionist, and we have fairly regular, robust arguments. Last year, he made similar doom-laden predictions, much of which predicted the fall of the SNP and a disastrous local authority election. His final words were “The SNP is finished”.

          Because I still live in hope of converting him to Yes, I have (so far) refrained from having the gloating conversation (that I’d dearly love to have), but I don’t need to have the same concerns with you.

          Whoever is elected, it matters not a jot to the fate of Alba. Alba has been roundly rejected by the electorate in general, and by Yes voters in particular. In 2021, when Alba was at its zenith, they attracted 1.66% of the vote. I don’t know how you characterise that, but I call that rejection. The following year, at the local elections, the Alba vote DROPPED to 0.7%. Nobody could possibly use that to suggest that Alba is growing, but many, many Alba supporters STILL claim that Alba is growing. The published photos of their last conference, with what appeared to be less than one hundred folk in a small hall doesn’t seem to dismay them at all.

          In my opinion, the SNP and Green votes will continue to grow. I predict that at the next GE, the two Alba deserters will get kicked out, and if the SNP declare the election to be a plebiscite on independence, they will win around 52% of the vote, and all 57 seats. I may be optimistic in that, but I am confident that Alba won’t even register.

          Whatever happens, the SNP members will rally round the new leader, and (hopefully) more and more of our no-voting friends will be persuaded by the competence of the SNP/Greens government and the incompetence of the Tories in Westminster to come over to our side of the argument.

          • Alf Baird

            “more and more of our no-voting friends will be persuaded by the competence of the SNP/Greens government”

            Alex, the ‘competent government’ argument is an illusion in any colonial society, for obvious reasons. Why don’t you simply try to convince No voters by telling them precisely what independence actually means and why it is necessary:


          • Alex Birnie

            Alf Baird, we will have to agree to disagree. Folk argue about process, about history, about legal and illegal approaches, but, right from the moment after the referendum, I realised that there is only one way of obtaining independence, and that’s by US – ALL of us – talking to our neighbours about independence, constantly pointing out the difference between Scottish society and U.K. society, and how the Scottish government has, with the very limited resources at its disposal, been TRYING to make a difference in ordinary Scots’ lives.

            I think that UDI will eventually be our only escape from this damned union, but UDI will be dead in the water, if we haven’t persuaded enough of our fellow Scots that Scottish independence is the only way of achieving a social democracy in Scotland.

            The SG is integral to this. In my opinion, Alba appeals only to the more excitable Yes voters, the ones who talk about “Yoons” and how the “Yoons” are traitors. The SNP/Green government message is aimed solely at no voters, and it has been, is, and will probably continue to be, a slow grinding process. Hopefully, by the time we get to the next GE, enough folk will have been persuaded, for the SG to declare that the GE will be a plebiscite on independence. Hopefully, more than 50% of voters will vote SNP, and THEN we can have a discussion about UDI, intergovernmental negotiations, appeals to the international community etc.

            Until then, (IMO) we Yes voters have only one job – talking to our no-voting friends, neighbours and relatives……

            Whoever becomes leader of the SNP will probably have SOME effect, but the main onus will be on us…..

          • Alf Baird

            Alex, you might want to tell your ‘no-voting friends, neighbours and relatives’ about “What Fraud Against a Sovereign Nation Looks Like” and the repeated “violation(s) of the Treaty of Union (as) an act of colonisation”:

            As Frantz Fanon said: “Now the political education of the masses is seen to be a historic necessity (because) they made no real progress along the road to knowledge. His consciousness remained rudimentary.”

            Fortunately the UN also accepts that independence is about decolonization:

  • Scottie

    is it not possible that Emma Harper, in her role as MSP for the southern area already had the email listing of members and simply acted after a cosy chat with Humza? Is it not possible that she did not have to contact any SNP staff to issue this email and thus did not pressure any staff into giving her access? I’d have thought it quite normal for a regional list msp to have an email list of the membership of the region? I may be wrong here but it seems the obvious question to ask here before condemning the entire leadership of breaking the rules etc etc. One MSP has done something either deliberately knowing it was wrong and breaking the rules or simply in error rather than a plot etc by the entire leadership? Sure if rules have been broken there needs to be the relevant action but what evidence is there that she was put up to it by the leadership etc etc. rather than acting alone. I’m being devil’s advocate here as I don’t at the moment plan to vote for Humza but am trying to avoid the whole jumping to conclusions thing and to stay fair etc and balanced. I’d appreciate any sensible responses to my genuine questions and apologise in advance if I am missing something.

    • yesindyref2

      I’d say not the actual email addresses, but one single circulation address.

      So they write their email, and post it to “harperlist at snp dot org”, and that adds all the ccs and sends it back out. It’s an easy thing to do. Distribution list I guess it’s called.

      Then all that would be breached would be the party rules for which the person should maybe be suspended, but the GDPR would be intact.

  • Joan Edington

    I wonder how Emma chose her targets for this letter. I live in Galashiels, receive many SNP emails, but did not get this one. The only one I got on 24th was a notification about the hustings dates/locations. Whatever the reason, I’m glad that this has been brought to my attention, although I wouldn’t have voted for Humza anyway. I understand that Forbes and Regan have lodged a complaint. In any other party Emma Harper would be severely reprimanded, or even lose her seat, but I doubt if anything will happen to her.

    • yesindyref2

      Perhaps it’s a list of only office bearers it got sent out to. Such as is used for constituency association meetings, where ordinary members are not informed.

      Nowhere near enough detail in this article to make any real judgement.

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