Unfurling Murrell

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Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell

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.

Murrell’s peril

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.)

Who’s next?

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.


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49 Responses to Unfurling Murrell

  1. iainlawson27 says:

    Good article. I think he won’t be around much longer as more evidence exposes the plot in its evil detail.

  2. scotsmanic0803 says:

    Great stuff. Inspiring, and a definite rich-pickings banquet of food for thought. The sooner the catty melodrama queens and sociopathic social worker divas infesting and infecting the body politic are flushed, the quicker we can move away from the deranged quagmire this country’s politics and political ambitions have tragically become.

    One very small point. Please get a proof reader. Otherwise, it’s nothing but more power to your excellent elbow, as ever.

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Got pushed hard by readers for last hour to publish, so have been correcting typos since. 🙂

  4. Robert McCandless says:

    Chief Executive Officer no less, with a salary not even the Treasurer knows.

  5. One of the worst coronavirus mortality rates in the world. Fine words about “zero covid” in the summer while at the same time doing absolutely everything that would ensure a second wave in the autumn. Going back further, discontinuing contact tracing on 12th March when it had barely begun, thus standing back and watching the virus run free with at that time no plans at all for a lockdown. See mortality rate, above.

    Some top achievement.

  6. scotsmanic0803 says:

    I kind of guessed it came from writing in passion in the heat of the moment. Done it myself. Sometimes the urge to get a piece of work out there can be so burning that you just have to put it out, and typos be damned. 🙂

  7. Angry Weegie says:

    Impossible to disagree with any part of the post. I just hope it happens quickly enough. I hear Evans has been looking at her pension pot to make her feel that retiral is not a bad option. Will she be first?

  8. twathater says:

    Angry Weegie re Evans pension pot , I believe Evans and others pension pots should be frozen and not released until a judge led inquiry has ascertained that there has been no illegality or misuse of civil service rules or collusion with others to misappropriate the law , the behaviour of Evans in the pursuance of an innocent man aligned with her dubious messages and texts has NOT been investigated properly in my opinion , and can only be exposed through the investigation of a judge , also her apparent ignoring of the advice given by the WM civil service has yet to be explained

  9. twathater says:

    BTW sorry Gareth I forgot to say an excellent post which will be appreciated by REAL independence supporters who only want a country and government they can be proud of , and not a country and government who emulates the rank hypocrisy and corruption of WM

  10. socratesmacsporran says:

    Nail, head, thump, Gareth. Excellent stuff.

    If the SNP has “Men in grey kilts,” I trust they are contacting the Murrells over the weekend and encouraging them to fall on their claymores.

    Time for the real Independence fighters to take over.

  11. diabloandco says:

    Excellent ! makes me sad for Scotland that we have to go through all this but like twathater I want my independent Scotland to stand for honesty , integrity and swift and sure justice for all.

  12. xsticks says:

    Powerful stuff GB. The wokerati boil that has infected the SNP has to be lanced and I think Salmond has chosen his timing well. It is immensely sad that we have come to this, but the Murrells have no-one to blame but themselves and their over-eagerness to promote people and ideals that few other in the party even have any interest in , never mind supporting. Their attempt to have an innocent man jailed to further their political interests is beyond the pale, but not totally surprising given the way the have thrown life-long members and independence supporters under the bus for the slightest transgression without proper investigation nor any attempt to defend those that were actually innocent. It is time for change.

  13. Lulu Bells says:

    I have long wondered why PM was allowed to remain in post when his wife was FM, and why a whole whoo ha did not occur earlier. It was so obviously wrong.
    Lesley Evans and her HR team need cleared out, dig beneath the surface, which is tainted enough, can you imagine what’s going on underneath, its not pretty and its not decent and the process applied to AS is used against many.
    Nicola Sturgeon, I so supported her, and I am so disappointed in her. She has let us all down…time to go hen!

  14. paul botler says:

    I think point f. is the most shameful, if not the most damning.

    A party of independence anywhere in the world would look at the quality and quantity of potential support with envy.

    Example given, as Rod Serling would say.
    Imagine a world where Colin Dunne has murray foote’s job. One where the job was seen as a vocation for his talents, rather than a hideout from the tender mercies of universal credit.

  15. paul botler says:

    Should be Colin Dunn (@Zarkwan), of course.

  16. A truly excellent summation of the present situation Grouse. The problem is that when an administration becomes as corrupt as this one, they fear change because then that opens Pandora’s box. Look at what is happening in the US
    I fear a burn and slash policy could be in the offing

  17. duncanio says:

    Sadly, I agree with every word GB.

    It looks like blood bath is coming and the Cause will take a hit. The British Nationalist press are going to have a field day – Salmond damaged irreparably (despite acquittal) in the public mind and Sturgeon brought down (surely that’s unavoidable now). Swinney too for his attempted manipulative restrictions on the inquiry.

    Short of conspiracy theories I have no idea why Sturgeon and Murrell would wish to bring her predecessor and former mentor down.

    In the long run we may be better off.

    However, it is hard to accept that the goal of Independence can be simultaneously so tantalisingly close in terms of popular opinion and yet so far away in reality due to disarray in the SNP leadership and a fascist government at Westminster.

  18. Grouse Beater says:

    Paul on ‘Point f’. It certain sobers up the mind.

  19. Grouse Beater says:

    I agree with all you have had to say, Duncanio.

  20. bigtam1965 says:

    Fantastic piece of writing and absolutely on the ball. Murrell needs to resign and sooner the better. Humza is a waste of space and totally out his depth as Justice minister. His policies and views are just that of his own and not about the people. He has an underlying issue.

  21. Peter A Bell says:

    Good article somewhat diminished by the uncalled for playground-level jibe “the SNP’s National ‘Expectorate’ Council”.

  22. paul botler says:

    Good article somewhat diminished by the uncalled for playground-level jibe “the SNP’s National ‘Expectorate’ Council”.

    We thank you for your self serving critique, and deep diving into the piece to find something you are, quite correctly, constantly accused of.

  23. NDLS says:

    An excellent cri de coeur Gareth and one which I hope resonates with the “people who share the vision of one nation…free”.

    I’m increasingly of the opinion that even if the party manages to rid itself of the Sturgeon and Murrell, the chances of any radical developments in the short term vis-à-vis ensuring a vote are becoming less and less likley. We’re running out of runway to reach escape velocity. I know some people (including Stu Campbell in comments BTL on Wings Over Scotland) responded to my pessimistic take that there is still a prospect of plebiscitary elections, and that it should only require a few weeks to mobilise etc., but I’m still unconvinced.

    There is a lot for the broader movement to consider. Former members like us will of course take a more jaundiced view of the prospects for change within what is obviously a deeply dis-functional organisation. The likes of #cosyfeetPete Wishart, Alyn Smith, Kirsty Blackman, Mhairi Black, Stewart McDonald and the rest of their unsavoury ilk are deeply entrenched within the party hierarchy and have encouraged and protected deeply regressive, misogynistic gender-woo entryists to parasitise the party. Whether such an organisation can be saved is open to question. It certainly isn’t one I can bring myself to support.

    The fact that there are good people in the party, and that some limited progress has been made in e.g. reclaiming the NEC form the worst excesses of the sophomoric ranters infecting it should not blind us to political reality. Even without Sturgeon, we may already have lost the opportunity to ensure the Holyrood 2021 elections are a plebiscite on independence: for that to work the SNP and broader Yes movement would have to be pretty united that was the policy, make it crystal clear to the electorate and lobby very hard to ensure we had international support particularly from the EU and USA. That’s a tall order for 4 months.

    I hope I’m proved wrong, but we need to at least think about what happens if I’m right. The size of the SNP and/or pro-independence majority in Holyrood after 2021 is immaterial if we have no opportunity to bring about a referendum or a plebiscitary election. Assuming Martin Keatings doesn’t win his case, we can kiss goodbye to an “agreed” referendum. That only leaves us with plebiscitary elections, either waiting for the next round in Holyrood and Westminster, or pressurising pro-independence MPs and MSPs to provoke early elections by standing down en masse.

    Now is the time to gather right enough: the question is – where are we going?

  24. paul botler says:

    We: as in the people who read the work here.

    I do not speak for the licensee.

  25. Ronnie Anderson says:

    Great piece of writing Gareth there is no optimum time to lance the boil Alex has every right to defend himself ( at his time of choosing ) as has been clearly demonstrated Evans & Murrell lied to the committee & shouldn’t be allowed to quietly slip away with they’re pensions intact same with anyone else in the frame Stay safe Gareth

  26. NDLS says:

    From “Wings Over Spameron” to “Grouse Brodie”.

    Another Quixotic attempt to parasitise someone else’s blog for your own purposes, Cameron?

    I thought Gareth had already warned you off?

    The BTL comments section of WoS is immeasurably improved by your absence by the way: I’d hate to see you pollute this place in a similar way. 😦

  27. Grouse Beater says:

    Peter: I like to surprise readers who expect cliche or to wade through deadly serious, plodding accounts of this or that. Bugger all diminishes its argument. Next time you call a commenttor on one of your articles a blind idiot, let’s talk again.

  28. Grouse Beater says:

    No parallel parking, Cameron!

  29. A great read it has certainly opened my eyes to many things.

  30. NDLS says:

    “Peter: I like to surprise readers who expect cliche or to wade through deadly serious, plodding accounts of this or that. Bugger all diminishes its argument. Next time you call a commenttor on one of your articles a blind idiot, let’s talk again.”

    The presumption of obnoxious, sweary bloviator Peter Bell coming on to you blog to carp at your usage is quite staggering. Anyone trying to wade through his constipated prose after reading your articles can only wonder at the man’s lack of self awareness.

  31. Grouse Beater says:

    We had a long interview from an ex-member of the NEC who said she could not recall a discussion on independence for four years, but was shouted down if she or another tried to raise the subject. And we have others tell us the old NEC members were people haters, vile to confederates, harrassing them and worse. “Expectorate’ is apt satire.

  32. Grouse Beater says:

    Tom, don’t be alarmed. People cause momentum in freedom movements, leaders are swept with it or away by it.

  33. NDLS says:

    “Expectorate’ is apt satire.”

    Indeed: a pleasing euphony about it too. I await with bated breath the actions of the “New” NEC. They have been somewhat quiet since the St Andrew’s Day massacre of the woke Wahhabis. I expected more, and more quickly. They really need to be making it clear to ordinary membership that things have changed by disciplining and possibly expelling a few of the worst offenders like Kirsty Blackman, Graham Campbell, Fiona Robertson etc.

    Deeds, not words are needed from the new set up.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    Robertson was invited back in some sort of quaisi-advisory capacity, by a remaining member Dougie somebody.

  35. “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.”
    Except for the production of film The Giant Claw, with regard to creature effects team.. Go on, look 😉

  36. millar421btinternetcom says:

    Hey Grousy, you’ve got that one nailed. Well said, Sir.

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    I try to write as honestly as the facts to hand allow me.

  38. NDLS says:

    @Grouse Beater
    I notice on your twitter response about to having spoken Duncan Hamilton and his possible return to politics when (and if?) the SNP returns to its senses. Hopefully there will be other such adults who may be encouraged to do the same? I connected with Kirk Torrance on LinkedIn at the end of last year: he seemed similarly horrified at the state of the party too.

    It may of course turn out the woke Wahhabism is too deeply entrenched and the only viable alternative is a to build de novo: there is something attractive to the thought of leaving low voltage second raters like Wishart, Blackman, Smith et al to stew in their own poison.

  39. Grouse Beater says:

    Until our most adroit see the pit of vipers banished, futile gestures to fix the rotten core are the prerogative of the SNP membership. 🙂

  40. castanet2020 says:

    As ever Gareth , your abilty to see and elucidate the vital aspects of this unholy stramash is unerring , Inclined to agree with NDLS it’s hard to see how much progress can be made in our ultimate objective in the immediate term , for the reasons he refers to and the added complication of CoV2 , though putting all into the past tense would itself be a huge relief .Hard also to avoid the uncomfortable conclusion that the main beneficiaries of all this are our opponents and the suspicion the roots of this calamity are more tangled than we can know , though flawed character and bad judgement could just as easily explain it

  41. Grouse Beater says:

    The least one can say of the leadership is it’s tired, jaded and utterly unimaginative. The worst, well, I point readers to that area and let them make up their own minds. But take heart, there *are* many excellent leaders waiting on the periphery. They will make their move when the time is right.

  42. peakcrew says:

    Another great piece, Gareth, even though it is depressing how often the same points need to be made because some folk won’t take them in.

    Just one thought – what if NS *did* collect the best team to achieve her objectives…?

  43. Grouse Beater says:

    Good, if introspective question: had she collected the best team around her, their professionalism would demand their place and function. They would not have allowed her to hog the limelight and front all the tasks.

  44. castanet2020 says:

    Agreed Gareth and let’s hope in the event of NS departing , by choice or under pressure , she is not able to anoint a ” suitable ” successor and the excellent leaders-in-waiting are able to takeover and get the Indy Express back on the rails and gathering momentum

  45. paul botler says:

    The least one can say of the leadership is it’s tired, jaded and utterly unimaginative.

    You had a journal celebrating the achievements of the SNP’s ascendancy.
    If it was timestamped, it would be more illuminating, and reinforce your sentiment.

    I’m not setting homework for you, more that at the end of this month, I’ll be happily able to augment.

  46. Grouse Beater says:

    Paul, the syntax in your last sentence is unclear. If you’re referring to ‘The SNP’s Achievements’, entries have grown fewer and fewer since last year, partly because of the pandemic, partly because the SNP has run out of steam.

  47. paul botler says:

    Forgive me for my syntactical idiocy.

    You had a journal celebrating genuine achievements.

    My last,mangled sentence was stating the need to convey the need for these things to be contextualised.

    Not by you, but by those that appreciate you and your work.

  48. I’m reading this again in September ’21, with the benefit of the time that has passed since you wrote it. Everything you pointed out about Peter Murrrell’s unsuitability for the post of CEO is still correct. Yet he is still there and arguably in a stronger position than ever before. He saw off the membership’s NEC candidates and has strengthened the hold of the non-indy seeking clique.

    In Sun Tzu’s Art of War it is counselled that you should seek to attack your enemy from their flanks, where they will be weaker than attacking as a head-on assault. Seeking to depose Nicola Sturgeon is highly unlikely to succeed. Sniping at, and mercilessly exposing the failings of Peter Murrell is surely a better option? The wider public won’t have any inherent loyalty for this unknown bureaucrat. If Nicola Sturgeon is forced to protect her husband against exposure then that’s a risky option for her. The wider public might have some sympathy for her, but would they be so understanding when the clear conflict of interests is exposed? She’d be revealing the nepotism at the top of the SNP and that’s not a good look for any politician Just food for thought.

  49. Grouse Beater says:

    I disagree Murrell’s position is stronger than ever. There a police investigation into the missing £600,000 making his situation more perilous by the day – as it is, he has little or no respect among his colleagues, a very uncomfortable position to be in for anybody.

    If the police are deflected by Sturgeon, or its findings dismissed, by the Crown Office, the residue of public trust will evaporate. For example, I can confirm that during the Salmond trial Sturgeon warned her intimates to prepare for her resignation.

    Both she and her husband know their careers hang by a thread. The deal with the Greens is a panic deal, again tenuous, if the petulance of the Greens is anything to judge by.

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