In a few weeks time Scotland will have a new First Minister; Alex Salmond will step down as leader of his party, and as FM. The only candidate to take over as leader of the SNP is the redoubtable Nicola Sturgeon – whose jaiket I once held, such is my high standing in The Party. Actually it was on a certain day in Edinburgh, a memory from the campaign. So Nicola will be our FM, subject to ratification by Holyrood, and unless a chunk of the SNP contingent happen all to be waylaid on the same day.
The party conference is next month, and what an occasion that will be, with Alex Salmond receiving what will be a very fond farewell, and massive appreciation for what he done, so far. Much as I’d like to be, I won’t be there.
Between now and then those of us who are members of the party will receive voting papers to fill the vacancy for Deputy Leader. A month or so ago, in the light of the resignation statement, around 25,000 papers would have been being planned. But now they will need to send out significantly more,such has been the staggering response to the decision of Scotland’s people. That said perhaps less than half of the newly expanded 84,000 strong membership may be eligible to vote this time round.
We have three candidates. One is an MSP, a member of the Holyrood front benches; one an MP, one of the six; and the other, also an MSP stands on the basis that whilst she wants to be deputy to Nicola in the party, she doesn’t want to be Deputy First Minister, which is interesting.
The Smith Commission is deliberating, trying to turn this into something positive:
I expect little meaningful, and certainly not what we seemed to be proposed in the much vaunted Vow. They have to find a way to improve on this:
So the next stage in this game is the Westminster election in May 2015. The SNP have six members at present. They could well have a much louder voice from May, and quite conceivably be a significant player as coalition talks take shape. No doubt the BBC will maximise the role that UKIP may have to play in the months ahead.
Incidentally did you see that M. Farage has reached an agreement with an ultra right wing holocaust denier in order to rescue his party’s funding for the EU parliament? I digress.
So a Deputy Leader standing at Westminster could be an important role. Angus Robertson’s been a fine leader of the Westminster group for some time. And speculation bounces round that our retiring FM could himself have a last stand down London way, rattling sabres and more beyond.
So do we appoint an MP or an MSP? We could even have one MSP as Deputy Leader, and another as DFM. Or an MP as DL, and an MSP as DFM. Who to choose; how to vote?
Well all three candidates have been on the hustings. The Sunday papers have given column inches for each to set out their stall. So too has Lallands Peat Worrier for whom
each so far, the two male candidates have written a guest post. I certainly got more from those than I gleaned from the press articles. Whether you have a vote or not you might wish to consider the vision of each of the three candidates, in these very important times for the future of our nation, for whoever is elected; whoever becomes Nicola’s deputy in the party, and whoever becomes Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, he, she or they will have important roles in shaping Scotland’s future:
Firstly Keith Brown MSP.
Next up Stewart Hosie MP.
Finally Angela Constance MSP. (link in due course, hopefully)
In the aftermath of our nation’s cowardice, and at many gatherings since, the desire for a Yes Alliance has been much discussed. We have momentum, cross party; and the need for a significant presence at Westminster, and then a second ‘impossible’ majority government at Holyrood the following year, has never been greater. Stewart Hosie has that Alliance in his sights. The Branches will need policy direction. Candidates need to be selected, very soon.
It’s going to be an interesting conference. Decisions , decisions.