How History Remembers You

I have a strong feeling that history will not look back on Nicola Sturgeon’s time as First Minister as a success. In the immediate aftermath of her resignation many of her supporters were quick to jump to social media to express their disappointment at her resignation and congratulate her for the apparent success of her reign.

From what I can see, the length of her time as First Minister and the list of successes don’t quite match up, especially when you examine her predecessors time as First Minister. Whether that be in day-to-day policy or the raison d’etre of the SNP, Scottish Independence. The two most obvious policy successes of her government have been the Baby Box and the Scottish Child Payment. Both laudable policies that help to alleviate some of the inequalities that plague Scottish society however are the equivalent of trying to gaffer tape a hole on the side of the sinking Titanic. The bit part measures at mitigating UK government policies should never be the hallmark of a strikingly successful Scottish Nationalist Government. To really address these issues, fundamentally you must seek to solve the root cause.

If you believe in Scottish Independence that root cause is unquestionably the fact that Scotland does not have control of our own resources and potential. There has been a disgraceful lack of any attempt by her government to link the most pressing issue of the day, the soaring price of energy, with the case for Scottish Independence. The rather bizarre publication of Scottish government papers that attempted to demonstrate the case for Scottish Independence never really got going. There has been no update from the government as to what happened to the publication of further papers on Europe, Pensions etc. Perhaps after the reception their depressingly unimaginative paper on currency they thought it was best to take a break.

For those that believe there is some sort of secret plan, I have news for you. There isn’t. It really pains me to say this, but it is abundantly clear that for the last 6 years the SNP and Scottish Government have sat on their hands and hoped that overnight support for independence would skyrocket without them having to do anything. We’ve seen any short-term increase of support for Independence after the EU referendum wane and the same for the support created during the pandemic. Real movement in the polls can only come about via a sustained campaign highlighting the reasons why we should be independent. I don’t think even the most ardent fans of Nicola Sturgeon would being to pretend that has happened under her watch. Ultimately being an effective communicator, at which there is no doubt that Nicola Sturgeon is, can only get you so far if it is not backed up with a determined strategy.

So, onto the future. Angus Robertson is clearly the front runner with perhaps Kate Forbes as second in the running order, but I think that it would be foolish to believe this is a two-horse race. This leadership election provides every member (as of the 15th of February) with one vote. The real SNP memberships numbers are still unclear but nevertheless it is still in the tens of thousands. There is a lot to play for and if a candidate can come forward and put forward a positive vision for the future, one clear on how we get there and how we convince people then I think they stand as good a chance as anyone. I sense there is a growing tiredness of empty rhetoric amongst SNP members, they want to see the rhetoric backed up with positive action on independence.

The resignation of Nicola Sturgeon should be a point where we draw line in the sand and forget all that has gone on before. The new leader’s priority, whoever they are, must be to heal the wounds of division that have unfortunately damaged the movement in recent years. The first most obvious step would be to call a constitutional convention to set out their vision and see what the movement thinks of it. From then we can all rally behind an agreed strategy and get out and change people’s minds. The case is obvious, it just needs to be made. The road to independence may be long and difficult, but by working together, we can overcome any obstacle. Let’s come together as a movement and fight for our future.

Robert joins us as a guest blogger for the first time, in a strictly personal capacity.


A New Hope

A New Hope – Onwards to the next First Minister – ViveEcosse Podcast – Episode 7

Join Allison and Graeme on a tour of todays political news of Nicola Sturgeons resignation and the sequence of events that will follow. We delve into some of the key aspects behind the decision and the potential players and values for the coming weeks.

Podcast available at:


What happens now

Nicola Sturgeon has resigned as leader of the Scottish National Party, and as First Minister of Scotland, there will be two elections in the wake of this announcement.

First Election – SNP Party Leader

The leader of the SNP does not need to be an MSP, it can be any card carrying member of the SNP.

The Party Leader will always be the Scottish Parliamentary group leader if they are an MSP. This differs to Westminster where the Parliamentary group leader is elected separately.

A challenger for leader must have 100 members support them, spread across a minimum of twenty branches.

If there is only one candidate, there will be no election or vote.

All SNP members will vote using the Single Transferable Vote system, this means it is a ranked voting system, you can vote for as many candidates, in order, as you like (you should not rank those you do not like).

The nomination close is 77 days from the opening of nominations, which if opened today, is 3rd May 2023.

The ballot will sent out 35 days after nomination close. Which would be 7th June.

Which leaves the close of ballot 21 days later on 28th June. Announcement of new Party Leader following this.

Anyone who was a member before nominations opened, can vote (ie, before today). The National Secretary can edit this timetable somewhat.

Second Election – First Minister of Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon will resign as First Minister on the day her Party Leader successor is chosen to succeed her.

A Scottish Parliament vote will be held, a simple majority of votes cast is required in theory, but in practice – half plus one, is required to secure the position.

The First Minister must be a member of the Scottish Parliament.


You should follow that through

Despite the SNP suddenly tanking in the polls due to another absolute fumble of legislation.

Today we’ve popped into the odd world where we’re back to attacking and de-selecting our own side in advance of future elections (the ones we’re apparently required to get over 50% of the vote on).

Keeping in mind, apparently all the ‘bad eggs’ had went over to ALBA already – we’ve managed to find another round of them. Which will happen on repeat until eventually the SNP lose an election and Sturgeon is removed as leader.

Stand up against Sturgeon in public or at conference – and – the ministers of government are dispatched to see you out it seems. Question it in private? To who? Her husband?

The 1922 committee may actually be laughable, in the Tory party, but at least it’s effective in removing prime ministers and party leaders when the moment demands it. The SNP have effectively nothing.

Let us be honest also, the legislation thats currently being defended, will be removed much like the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, whether the ScotGov like it or not. Parliament can remove it quite easily.

However in that article, there is this hilarious line, as some sort of ‘smack down’.

If you’re standing as an SNP candidate at an election on a manifesto, you should stand on that manifesto and you should follow that through.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, February 5th 2023

So I wonder why there isn’t as much heat around another, more concrete manifesto promise? One that the SNP seem to have forgotten, or the First Minister has regulated to second fiddle.

Alas the outcome may be Nicola Sturgeon’s worst nightmare, an exodus of MSPs and MP’s to Alex Salmond’s ALBA.

The larger than usual smile on the former first ministers face in recent campaign pictures tell us that he has an incline his long term bets may be about to land.


On lived experience and compliance

There’s an odd paradigm shift occurring in the way we carry out debate. A new phrase for ‘anecdotally’ has become main stream, one that tries to assert itself as equal to ‘expert knowledge’ and that is lived experience. While lived experience will form part of the information gathering objective of any good debate – it must not be allowed to factual evidence. Allow me to show an example with the internet.

Lived Experience: My internet is terrible it’s always slow
Diagnosis: The Wi-Fi router was behind a couch next to a radiator. It was shielded from broadcasting and receiving a signal.


Lived Experience: My internet is terrible it doesn’t work
Diagnosis: The ADSL filter to the modem wasn’t in place, meaning noise on the line stopped the modem syncing and achieving connection.


Lived Experience: My internet is terrible, its always struggling
Diagnosis: Phone was set to ‘low data mode’


Not every lived experience is poor in an unfixable way with proper expert help or factual data.

On compliance

A road a short drive from my house, that I use daily, has for two days had a stuck traffic light, all four sides were constant red. Large queues would form, people would sit for ages, even when alone, or in the dark/middle of the night.

People like compliance with rules and basic decency. It’s something as a nation we enjoy. Our place within the bigger picture, and according to the previously agreed ethics of the game. Our sense of fairness is part of our values.

For men, there are unwritten rules of the bathroom, such as never use the urinal next to someone else, when you could leave a gap in between instead. Or always use the furthest left or right urinal before making your way inwards. Distance from your fellow toilet attendees is paramount.

The suggestion that we would need a police function at every traffic light to ensure no red light was ever crossed, is ridiculous.

In the other extreme, where there is no law, but an inbuilt, untaught, and automatically known sense of right and wrong – it wouldn’t need policing or formal policy. It just happens.

This makes the argument that unless something is explicitly banned in law and policed fully it is not worth having as a guide or rule – somewhat ridiculous and weak.

However it’s worth noting we wouldn’t pass a bill allowing people to identify the light as green for malfunctions, nor would we pass a bill mandating the most efficient use of the urinals is to always load in sequence from closest to the door onwards. Some things, just naturally work out for reasonable people.

Experts and facts often trump lived experience when looking for solutions, and compliance can often be found even when explicit policing, punishment or even clearly written rules cannot be established.