Members Voice by Nina Knowles (Workers GB Writers Group)
In just over a month after her resignation as the longest serving First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell has quit as chief executive of the Scottish National Party. This is following the party’s admission that only 72,186 members are eligible to vote in its leadership contest-30,000 less than in 2021, resulting in reports of a threat of a no confidence vote by the National Executive Committee.
The SNP claimed that at the start of the race, it still had close to the 104,000 members it reported at the end of 2021, which already represented a marked drop in numbers, from 125,000 in 2019.
Murrell’s resignation followed that of Murray Foote, the SNP media chief. Foote had initially described the report on membership figures as “drivel”, but later admitted there had been “serious issues” with statements he had issued “in good faith”, as “agreed party responses to media enquiries regarding membership”.
The SNP’s finances are also under police investigation, following at least 19 criminal complaints that £600,000 of donations to a “ring fenced” referendum fund had been misappropriated, and a loan of £107,000 from Murrell had not been properly declared.
Murrell’s resignation further highlights the turmoil and divisions within the SNP. There were further complaints about the SNP’s handling of the leadership election, including accusations of election rigging, and calls for the party to restart the leadership election ballot by Alex Salmond’s former aide, Fergus Mutch. This, and the implication that party headquarters were willing to hide the truth about their membership numbers from their own staff, does not bode well for the once celebrated sense of discipline that helped the SNP take control of Scotland’s devolved government in 2007, and win every subsequent major election.
Peter Murrell took charge of the SNP in 1999. He was arguably one of the most influential figures in Scottish politics and key to the party’s success, but in recent years he and his wife have been accused of stripping democracy from the SNP, reducing the power of its members and making key decisions behind closed doors. SNP members had been saying for years that it was highly inappropriate for the party’s chief executive to be married to the party’s leader, and the problems predicted have now become a reality.
Those who are seeking to improve the material conditions of the British working class should reject the SNP’s separatist agenda. For years, the SNP has been able to rely on its electorate’s hostility towards the main Westminster political parties, as well as their opposition to Brexit, offering an independent Scotland as the answer to the problems brought to them from Westminster, with the hope of curtailing the same type of working class dissent currently underway in the rest of Europe.
It is clear, however, that the SNP pursue exactly the same policies as the Westminster political parties, with their imperialist aims to control world markets and resources, resulting in no wins for Scottish working people. The (Workers Party of Britain) celebrates the fall of the SNP as we stand for the unity of the British Working Class.
A statement on Hamza Yousaf’s victory will be forthcoming.