When you are a movie producer, putting together a creative team, you choose the best available who fit the shooting schedule; the best cinematographer, composer, editor, set designer and main actors. They have read the screenplay and tell you in enthusiastic detail, they are at one with your vision. The best will help lift your ideas a step higher with the expertise, enrich the film with ideas you did not think of, particularly the cinematographer who must tell the story in visual terms. When a master printmaker who wants to make a limited-edition run of a favourite image, you choose the best print workshop with the best facilities to cope with the specialist project. Once chosen, you select the most experienced print technician to help solve problems encountered creating a work that breaks new ground. You choose the technician who is at one with the image you have created. Nobody says, I’ll choose the cheapest, irrespective of their ability, and hope for the best.
The same professional attitude holds true forming a government to lead your country from a colonial backwater to a nation ready and fit to take its place on the world stage. You surround yourself with the best talent. You choose people of great acuity for each of the departments you marshal for the undoubted battle ahead with oppressors. Your confederates are there because they share your vision. With that goal, charged by the electorate, nobody chooses the second-rate because they have a hobby-horse pet policy they want to see achieved, written on their headstone. You do not plan a movie and feel satisfied with just a trailer. You do not plan a great work of art and accept a framed sketch. Independence demands complete and utter concentration on the supreme goal.
Peter Tierney Murrell is the Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish National Party. His role is operations, not the medical sort, supervision, attending to rules and regulations and processes. He is also the husband of Nicola Sturgeon, the long-serving First Minister of Scotland. Only one of them makes the decisions. I do not think it is Murrell.
Fair to say, he must have shown some good managerial skills when first employed in the post, but he should have resigned within six months of his wife becoming First Minister. It is unethical and inappropriate for a husband and wife to run a country. Having a wife who is chief minister is not a ball and chain, more a spring-loaded trap.
Murrell has been in the job far too long, and long run out of ideas to keep members and public informed and inspired, the populace’s attention focussed. Only in this manner can people find their way to the realisation of their hopes, in this case, a Scotland liberated sufficiently to exercise free will through self-governance.
Murrell has presided over the most calamitous run of blunders that can befall an administration prior to a nation’s emancipation from its colonial masters. No manager of a factory with Murrell’s record would last till the end of his contract unless protected by their boss. You are offered severence pay or a golden handshake, and asked to clear your desk.
Here, in short-form, are careless gaffes, misjudgements, and clumsy sleights of hand:
a. No obvious sense of humour or wit, unless guffawing at conference delegates hoping to discuss referenda constitutes humour of a sort. Worse, keeping elusive, furtive, away from public glare, when one’s decision making authority should be in full view.
b. Giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry, evidence that contradicts his wife’s statements, but he cannot quite remember what she said. This is self-imposed misery of the internal sort, better described as, appearing naked while fully clothed.
c. Fear that a former colleague might step up and tell the truth, colloqually known as spill the beans. There will be one, always is, concience troubling him or her.
d. Contacting police authorities to exhort them to investigate by harrassment a former colleague enjoying civvy street, on the presumption the colleague is guilty as charged, an action the very antithesis of basic justice, quite out of place for the CEO of the SNP.
e. See eminent members of his party falsely accused, hounded, and private citizens too, all strong voices for independence, and do nothing to intercede or arbitrate.
f. Watch over 130,000 new, excited and motivated members drift off into yesterday with nothing to do, nothing organised to utilise their skills or energy.
g. ‘Lose’ well-over £400,000 of donations given by members and the public for a specific project, a second referendum fund, without screaming and shouting he’s been robbed.
h. Waving goodbye to big-time donors who ought to have been built-in with the bricks and honoured annually with a festive party arranged by a grateful party.
i. See an architect of the infamous, discredited, fraudulant Vow that cheated Scotland of its birthright, employed as communications officer, whose anodyne, sporadic, unconnected offerings tell the observer he has no idea what he is supposed to be doing.
k. Allowing his National Committee to conjure rules effectively stopping one MP from shifting from Westminster to Holyrood, in preference for another, at the very time the public clamours to call MPs home once and for all.
l. Happy to see badly flawed, inexpert policies chased, each guaranteed to divert from the main quest, inflame, cause controversey, hand ammunition to opponents, and generally squander time fishing while Rome burns, a coup on party credibility.
m. Bringing together a headquarters administration of the tired, the second rate and the bad tempered, to take his party forward while actually marking time or walking backwards pointing forward. Party members lost respect for people who, like themselves, have given years to the cause of countering Westminster’s warped power.
n. Being extremely naive believing Boris Johnson and the might of the British state will grant a second independence referendum similar to the one agreed by David Cameron.
o. And so on, and so forth, in apathy, inertia a party in disarray, in deepest sadness. Oh, and making Scotland’s party look like New Labour, with careerist politicians, recycled policies, the arrogance of assuming the rise in support for a self-governing Scotland is exclusively owed to the industrious efforts of the SNP and not the people.
Don’t look down
Peter Murrell’s days are over. He has no friends to count on, and no one is sure if his wife will come to his aid, not even his wife. Anybody married any time knows that puts an intolerable strain on a marriage. Something has to give. The recent clean-out of sociopaths and rank amateurs from the SNP’s National ‘Expectorate’ Council has left him vulnerable. The Holyrood inquiry leaves him damaged, without a packet of sticking plasters to cover his wounds. His impersonal style has been his undoing.
The respected SNP MP for East Lothian, Kenny MacAskill agrees, Peter Murrell’s “days are numbered.” Such change “can only be a good thing” because “the impetus came from recent internal elections, which had been a vote against the management of the party”. (MacAskills full opinion will be published in Scotland Left Review this weekend.)
There are quite a few party executives who must be feeling winter’s chill when Murrell leaves the building. Hard workers such as Ian McCann at SNP Headquarters are sure to feel they should look for pastures new. The administration is crying out, wailing for new, fresh recruits, so long as they are wholly dedicated to achieving civil and constitutional freedoms.
The nice but crushingly naive Justice Secretary, Humza Yousef has lost his portfolio, policies no one liked but him. And those he forced through Parliament are liable to be reassessed and retuned now there is a new modernity on the SNP tiller. Backing the wrong policies does not exactly place you in a good position to survive a purge.
The plotting civil servants led by Leslie Evans, “the battle is lost, but not the war”, will be replaced once the Holyrood Inquiry publishes its report. They cost the taxpayer millions, ignored legal advice to desist, and arrogantly refused to apologise.
Moles from London tell me the St Trinian mob’s ability to do their job is too tarnished for them to assume they have job security. The members of the Inquiry could delay publication, but with people desperate to see progress, the Salmond fiasco put to the archives, the committee will find itself in hot water if it procrastinates.
The public want the SNP to concentrate on beating off the fascist onslaught from the British state. Evans and her classmates have from now until the committee publishes a report to look for new challenges. And that brings me to Nicola Sturgeon herself.
Until now Alex Salmond has held back making public pronouncements or accepting interviews until he knows the outcome of the Inquiry. Except to mock Sir Brillo of Paisley for his usual inaccurate claims on Twitter, Salmond has been the statesman we know so well. Now he has broken his silence, accusing Nicola Sturgeon of misleading Parliament, a deadly serious accusation, calling her evidence to the Inquiry into sexual harassment claims made against him “simply untrue”.
His comments appear in a written submission to a separate investigation into whether Nicola Sturgeon breached the ministerial code. The submission has been shared with the Holyrood committee. Naturally Nicola Sturgeon rejects Salmond’s assertions. She has no choice because anything less means resigning. Her position is shaky no matter how far up the poll charts the movement for independence rises. People create a revolution, elected representatives encourage participation.
Without Peter Murrell, with a new NEC hungry for a fresh approach to independence, without civil servants playing naughty pranksters from St Trinians, Nicola Sturgeon is liable to consider managing the coronavirus pandemic her top achievement, and finding an honorable exit the best solution, a dignified solution, to let another more able politician take the people of Scotland to the promised land.
As for Murrell, he can be congratulated for one achievement. The ‘Taking of NEC 123’ by the membership has produced a warm blanket of calm that has descended upon what was disruptive antagonism between those who wanted for themselves, and those who wanted for the whole nation.
Now is the time to gather together people who share the vision of one nation – free.