by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Mastodon: @RabBrucesSpider1@Mastodon.Scot

Twitter: @RabBrucesSpider

The news that Ash Regan MSP has decided to leave the SNP and join Alba has once again brought to light the split in the Yes movement. SNP supporters are outraged, and many are calling for her to stand down so that a By-election can be held. Personally, I think that a By -election should always be held when any politician declares that they wish to leave the Party they were a member of. However, that never happens because the UK has this absurd idea that politicians are elected because of their individual merits. Scotland seems to have adopted this stance as well, although most members of the public vote for a Party because of its leader, and many have no idea who their own MP or MSP is. However, while I support the idea of always holding a By-election, it is not going to happen unless Parliamentary rules are re-written.

Ash Regans’ defection comes on the heels of Dr Lisa Cameron moving to the Tories, and in some ways these two defections are similar. It seems fairly clear that Dr Cameron always held Tory views because a move to that Party is unthinkable unless you believe in their selfish, cruel policies.

As for Ash Regan, she stood in the SNP leadership campaign on a platform of putting independence above all else. She was unsuccessful partly because she did not seem to possess the gravitas of the other contenders, and she was viewed by many as an outlier. However, in moving to Alba she has, I believe, followed her conscience. She is clearly of the opinion that the SNP are not doing nearly enough to move Scotland towards being a normal, self-governing country, and she has decided that, if she cannot change that from within, she might as well move to a Party whose avowed intention is to push for independence far more aggressively. Whether that will prove successful will only be known at the next Holyrood election. If the SNP continue to produce soundbites and slogans but very little real action, then perhaps voters will look for an alternative. Up until now, very few have put their faith in Alba, so Ash Regan’s move may well signal the end of her political career. Time will tell.

As for the SNP, Humza Yousaf has had a lot of personal issues to contend with recently, but he continues to act with dignity. That is all well and good as far as it goes, but we need more than dignity if we are to progress the cause of independence. We really need to see a lot more fire and action rather than words. I do hope that will change very soon, but I’ve been let down before, and the signs are not good so far. For example, what has the much-vaunted Rebuttal Unit been doing since it was relaunched? I’ll admit that I am not on the social platform X very much these days, but I don’t recall seeing anything from them in the past couple of weeks. Is their relaunch going to be another damp squib? If so, that is simply not good enough.

Returning to the defections, I’m not sure the two recent departures will make very much difference to the SNP. But now that Lisa Cameron and Ash Regan have set a precedent, the big question for me is whether any others will follow them? I cannot see many defecting to the Tories, but Alba might not remain on the fringes if a few more MSPs and / or MPs decide to switch allegiance. Whether that would signal a unification within the Yes movement is doubtful, but it might stir the SNP up a bit. As ever, we can only wait and see.