Salmond piles on the pressure to steer clear of SNP candidates

by Colin Campbell

LAST week Nicola Sturgeon inserted into the SNP council elections manifesto the provision that the election of  every SNP candidate would be construed and utilised as support for independence.

In Inverness, the councillors who opposed the Gathering Place, like Ron MacWilliam (now standing as an independent), Bill Boyd and Ken Gowans were mainly from the SNP. This had nothing whatever to do with party politics. They had just judged the issue on its merits and come down on the right side of the argument. As opposed to those who were stupid enough to think building a concrete slab on a natural beauty spot was a good idea, or, just as bad, caved in to pressure from officials to back it.

I said a couple of days ago that, even though they were from the SNP, their opposition to the riverside monstrosity in itself justified their re-election, and I would vote for them.

Now Alex Salmond, leader of the ultra extremist nationalist Alba Party, says the SNP need to seize control of councils to ensure they will co-operate if Sturgeon tries to go ahead with an illegal referendum next year.

Maybe few people are paying any attention to this discredited old has been anymore. And his views are flawed, in that legal officials rather than councillors would almost certainly decide if local authority staff should take part in a rogue referendum. And they almost certainly would decide against it.

But Salmond’s intervention may further concentrate a few minds.

In my case, there’s been a rapid two day turnaround.

No matter the quality or good character of Inverness SNP candidates, I’ve concluded that they are too tainted by the party they represent to be worthy of support.

That is a pity. Bill Boyd and Ken Gowans, for example, are good councillors.
But how many people, like me, will be deterred from voting for good and decent local SNP candidates by the stance of Sturgeon and Salmond?

They want to deprive people of the right to choose the best local man or woman for the local job, and instead make the election all about independence.

This is yet another misjudgement from Sturgeon, her latest one.

If she and Salmond had kept their mouths shut, in my ward I’d have voted for an SNP candidate. Now I won’t. And I’d guess across Inverness and the Highlands there will be a significant number of people who feel the same way

The Gathering Place issue and the way it was handled is an important one. But certainly not as important as the need to deny Sturgeon and Salmond the chance to crow about having “another mandate” for a hideously divisive referendum.

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