The View from Ash Regan

‘Neither the Tories nor a future UK Labour government will grant a Section 30 order’ 

As editor and protector of this site’s integrity, I have backed Ash Regan as the best candidate for the first minister of Scotland. out of the three running. (Kate Forbes to remain Finance Secretary.) My ideal choice, a former SNP MP and now a KC, won’t go near the SNP in case he gets infected with political syphilus.

I chose Regan as others might, on what I have read of her and what she has said. Then I checked her back history and found no actions or verse to spurn. I read between the lines. She appears to understand the insulting, counter-productive dismissal of the YES movement by Sturgeon was grave error of judgment. Welcoming the supporters of independence back into the fold is the very stuff of statesmanship. And she includes ALBA members and ISP, all of whom are ex-SNP driven out because they are independence fundamentalists – self-governance first and foremost.

Her chances of being elected to lead are shaky because the opponent of her outlook is married to the man who counts the votes, and both have a long, reprehensible history of saving each other from misstep scandal – a relationship stupifyingly inappropriate for a political party charged with leading Scotland out of a corrupt and dangerous union. If elected, her other task, a major one, is how well and swiftly she manages to throw off all the colonial advisers salaried by the SNP to assist it on its long, meandering student backpack of a holiday around the world before taking up an Indy career … maybe.

One more point, the most important, Ash Regan has empasised her view of ending the Union using a unilateral declaration of independence based on general election votes is legitimate. [This is correct under international law and UN directive. Even Margaret Thatcher knew a majority SNP parliament signified the end of the Union. I write about the process in my last book – ESSAYS 3.]

“If YES parties won a majority of votes it’s a clear declaration from the people of Scotland”.

She is interviewed here by Kevin McKenna.

“Ash Regan says she wants to “hand independence back to the people” if she’s elected leader of the SNP. In an exclusive interview with The Herald on the eve of her official leadership campaign launch, Ms Regan said: “In recent years the wider Yes movement has become marginalised in the fight for independence. If elected, I intend to change that.

“As a party, I don’t think we’ve listened enough to the groups who got us here. I know these people because I campaigned side-by-side with them throughout the first referendum. The party has effectively dismantled the Yes campaign, but I want to re-constitute it once more.

“It’s also important that we get on with the business of governing on the day-to-day issues affecting all of the people of Scotland. And, as much as possible, allow some of the groups who did amazing work for the Yes cause in 2013 and 2014 to do what they did so well back then. I want to get the band back together, if you like.”

Ms Regan was regarded as one of the rising stars of government in her role as Minister for Community Safety, before resigning her position over her objections to self-id in the Gender Recognition Bill. If she is elected to succeed Nicola Sturgeon she has pledged to work with any party which wants to see an independent Scotland, including Alba.

A large part of the disillusion felt by many rank-and-file independence supporters is rooted in what they perceive as a glacial approach to securing a second referendum and the absence of any detailed strategy on how best to achieve this.

She agrees. “Look. We’ve exhausted all the legal routes to a referendum and it’s clear that neither the Tories nor a future UK Labour government will grant a Section 30 order. So, we must ensure that in any national election (Holyrood or Westminster) at least 50% of vote plus one are cast in favour of independence. This offers the best chance of securing the endorsement of the international community for us opening negotiations directly without a referendum. We’d be returning to our roots.”

She also intends to “re-set” the relationship between the SNP’s Westminster and Holyrood groups. “I’ve been watching closely how events have unfolded in the party recently and it’s clear to me that many of our MPs feel a bit neglected and out of the loop. It’s my intention to be a much more visible presence as leader at Westminster by regularly attending their group meetings.

“And I want to give them the opportunity, where possible, to attend some of our meetings at Holyrood. We need to adopt a far more collegiate approach and deploy all of the talents we have at our disposal properly by appointing the best people to the jobs that best suit their abilities.”

And while stating that it would be premature for her to talk about individuals with more than four weeks of campaigning still to come, she said that she regarded Kate Forbes, her leadership rival, as one of the party’s “top talents”.

“I do not share Kate’s views on issues such as equal marriage, but the true mark of a progressive and enlightened nation is allowing dissenting and sincerely-held views. Kate has been an excellent minister for several years, during which we all knew about her religious beliefs. They have never stood in the way of her doing what she considers best for the party, the government and the people of Scotland.”

She went on to describe her leadership rival as “a close friend” and said her treatment in recent days, some of which she believes was “orchestrated”, has been “despicable”. Ms Forbes has faced an avalanche of criticism for saying that she would have voted against Scotland’s equal marriage legislation.

She added: “If I’m elected to serve there will be some very important jobs up for grabs in my government, and I want to ensure that only the very best people get them, irrespective of whether I agree with them on everything.

“And we have to have the very best people advising us, even if they don’t back independence. What’s important is that they have the gifts and the desire to help us make Scotland better.”

The MSP for Edinburgh Eastern also gave short shrift to reported threats by the Scottish Greens to quit the Scottish Government if she or Ms Forbes were elected, owing to their opposition to the GRR legislation. She said she has “no concerns whatsoever” about the threats by the Greens to quit the Scottish Government if she were to become leader, but said she would be happy to discuss any concerns the Greens might harbour about any issue.

She also said she had no intention of “wasting any more time” on Holyrood’s controversial GRR Bill by challenging the UK Government’s intention to block it with a Section 35 order. “Taking legal action, which I don’t think we’d win, will be very costly,” she said.

“A clear and decisive majority of the Scottish people disagree with self-id. They would rather we focused on the issues affecting their day-to-day lives, and especially the cost-of-living crisis; rising energy bills and improving our health service. But if there was an appetite in the country for it, I’d be happy to hand this over to a citizen’s assembly.”

What’s become clear, though, in the first few days of the leadership contest is that the SNP is grievously divided and to an extent unprecedented in its history. Will the task of healing those divisions risk derailing her wider blueprint for government? Is there a risk that, as well as the Greens, MSPs in her own party will be unhappy if she becomes leader?

“I really don’t think so,” she said. I think that what’s sorely needed to re-energise and re-unite is a willingness to listen to people in our party and to value them, rather than to adopt a top-down approach. I don’t think that’s ever worked.”


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11 Responses to The View from Ash Regan

  1. Ash Regan has a hand grenade in her handbag – and the Murrels are her target. Hope her aim is good.

  2. YesToIndy says:

    Not a member of the SNP anymore, but if she becomes FM she’ll have this household support while she is FM. She saying all the right things.

  3. “in case he gets infected by political syphilis”In today’s SNP I think there would be a risk of contracting real syphilis.

  4. Robert McAllan says:

    Thanks Gareth for affording us your insight and the views as set out by Regan in that interview summary. I would agree with her that there ‘will be some very important jobs up for grabs’ however I am somewhere at a loss to see where she will find the ‘very best people’ to fill those positions from the SNP panel that currently adorn the benches in Holyrood.

    IF? they are in fact in there WHY have they not made their presence felt before now?

  5. Alastair says:

    I hope Ash Regan gets the Leadership of the SNP. I feel she is a patriot who will push for independence the other two for me have to much water under the bridge with Sturgeon. We need a Unity candidate and someone who will project our claim of right and sovereignty. Ash Regan to me fits my criteria.
    Dissolve the Union.

  6. alfbaird says:

    Ash Regan is clearly the only candidate with independence on their mind, judging by statements made. Establishment wheel-in Yousaf is the only other option as Forbes, in my view, is a stalking horse designed to take votes from Regan, thus helping Yousaf become leader.

    Regan maybe sees it differently, according to the article, though politically Regan and Forbes appear to be miles apart. Another clue here is Forbes has hardly bothered to create a campaign or ‘team’ which indicates she is not really a serious candidate and has another role to play.

    No matter who ‘wins’ there may be some doubt that they will have enough support among MSPs to be elected as FM, which could lead to an early Holyrood plebiscite election, which is arguably the best (or only) opportunity to secure independence in the short term. Like many independence supporters I am less enthused about another colonial administration run by Whitehall’s finest and SNP Ministers of the Crown.

    Back on the SNP website its all about hersel, and naethin on the leadership ‘campaign’, like it disnae exist:

  7. diabloandco says:

    Yep , she has my vote – unfortunately I abandoned the SNP a few years ago so she won’t be getting it!

  8. duncanio says:

    1. YES Campaign
    2. Independence Convention
    3. UDI providing a majority of ALL pro-Indy votes & seats achieved at any Scottish or British general election – whichever happens first – going forward
    4. Drop the GRR insanity, time & money waster

    Can the ‘party of Independence’ really vote for Ash Regan?

  9. Agree entirely. Nominated Regan. The rise of careerists pursuing well paid, cushy jobs was predictable. But we have to draw the line at allowing them to take over. My guess is Yousaf is a placeman. Expected to move aside after a year or two, when Sturgeon has had a break and the gender flacks died down.

  10. Howard Cairns says:

    I watched Ash Regan on her YouTube video. Very impressive. I hope she really means all she says and has the guts to stand up to the detractors. She looks good to me from a long way away in Australia but I am confident that she will do the right thing to get to Independence.

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