by Colin Campbell
IF Nicola Sturgeon is forced to resign – which is no longer just a theoretical possibility – who have the SNP got to replace her?
Well, there’s always Ross MP and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
He appeared on television and radio to defend Sturgeon after Alex Salmond’s inquiry appearance on Friday.
For once there was no blustering or bellowing from the “simple 10-acres crofter”. He was tame and subdued. And entirely unconvincing. Any SNP supporting crofter from any smallholding on Skye might have given a more spirited and credible performance. Blackford’s heart, concealed somewhere behind his bulging waistcoat, didn’t quite seem to be in it.
Blackford is a very senior member in the SNP hierarchy, which says rather a lot about the SNP hierarchy. In theory he should be somewhere in the running for leadership of the party. If only it could be so.
But Ian Blackford as the man to lead Scotland to that fabled independent land flowing with milk and honey? A surefire vote winner for the cause of “freedom” from the English oppressor?
Unfortunately for Unionists, we can rule out all and every possibility of this odious oaf ever becoming their figurehead. Which, on the grimmer side, means he’s likely to continue in his role as an unfailing national embarrassment at Westminster every time he opens his mouth.
Who else have they got in their galaxy of talents? Angus ‘the ghoul’ Robertson? His most notable contribution in recent times was his observation that the number of elderly “No” voters who have died since 2014 has increased the prospects of success for the independence cause in a referendum. Not his best selling point.
Robertson also has the vote winning charisma of a lump of lard.
Joanna Cherry has been named as another contender, despite being sacked from the SNP front bench at Westminster. QC Cherry is undoubtedly sharp, shrewd and highly intelligent. But the linkage between charisma and lard applies to her also.
And she wasn’t quite so sharp when she appeared on BBC’s Question Time and was asked directly what currency an independent Scotland would use. “Umm…err…umm…err…umm,” her response is enshrined in a famous YouTube clip which has been viewed and enjoyed tens of thousands of times. And it’s unlikely she’d be able to do any better if asked on the same programme this week.
Apart from this pair, Kate Forbes has been mentioned as a possible future SNP leader. Her proponents might have someone there. However, elected as an MSP only in 2017, the novice finance minister is widely regarded as being too young. Her main contribution to date has been watching the billions of pounds in support from Westminster pouring over the border during the past year and ritually scowling her way through demands for more, more, more.
If you rule out Hate Crimes Humza and his enthusiasm for passing legislation to either limit or crush free speech, there is no-one else.
So Nicola Sturgeon is still the best option they’ve got. Which means, if she’s forced to fall on her sword, a wipeout for any lingering hopes of independence and the worst of times ahead for the SNP.