Not saying much

Peter Murrell has been arrested and released without charge pending further investigation. And that is all I have to say on that subject. Peter Murrell was arrested, questioned regarding matters relating to the SNP’s finances, then released without being charged. And that is all we know. His formal arrest marks an end to all speculation about the SNP’s finances and most other aspects of the party’s management. As CEO, Murrell was ultimately responsible for all aspects. We don’t know which aspects may be encompassed by the Police Scotland investigation as it proceeds. So, it is best to steer clear of the topic altogether, lest we fall foul of the Contempt of Court Act.

What can we say at this stage? Well, we can safely say that there are significant questions that need to be asked. We can state this with a very high degree of confidence because Police Scotland has informed us that they are asking those questions. Mr Murrell was not invited in for coffee. He was arrested and detained for questioning. It is unlikely that he was being quizzed about his preferences regarding soft furnishings.

Another thing we can say with some certainty is that had the SNP’s wee army of loyalists and apologists got their way, the questions now being asked would never have been asked. Many people have been asking these questions over a long period even prior to the start of the Police Scotland investigation. Those people were constantly told that they must not ask such questions. To do so was to exhibit disloyalty to Scotland’s cause. The people who did no more than try to subject the SNP to the kind of scrutiny that all politicians and political parties should expect and welcome without fear, were chastised by senior figures in the party and targeted with virulent abuse by party members and supporters on social media.

They told us there was nothing to see. Move on! Well, regardless of what ensues, the arrest of the recently departed CEO of Scotland’s party of government is not nothing. We cannot help but see it. There Is no moving on until the questions have been asked and the answers assessed. In relation to Peter Murrell and anyone else who might be invited in for coffee by Police Scotland, we are required by law to leave the questioning and assessment of answers to the relevant authorities. The wee army of SNP loyalists and apologists would be well advised to remain silent for quite different reasons.

For the moment, and without touching on the specifics of any questioning which is now quite properly the province of Police Scotland and the prosecuting authorities, I think it may be pertinent to remark that there are two broad categories of the questioning that has been urged for such a long time. There are questions about the administrative side of things. And there are questions about the political side of things.

Most interesting of all, however, and most pressing, may be questions concerning the overlap and interaction of these two aspects. We just have to think long and hard before we pose these questions aloud. We may have a while to wait yet until we get answers. In the meantime, speculation must be kept on a short leash. But we are free to think.

If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s cause.


11 thoughts on “Not saying much

  1. Putting aside all the divisive issues that have plagued those of us that are in favour of the restoration of Scotland’s independent statehood over the last number of years – and they have been many and very, very damaging – ultimately all that matters, to me at least, is the impact on support for YES.

    Historically, support for the SNP and Independence have been generally bound together. The only way to express support for Scotland’s Cause has been via a) SNP membership and/or b) voting SNP at election time.

    In the period immediately after the Independence referendum the uptick in support for YES has been highly correlated with the surge in membership:

    By the time Nicola Sturgeon succeeded Alex Salmond two months after the Referendum YES polls on average were depicting support at just over 50% – I’ve checked – which, with the exception of the Pandemic Polls of 2020 – 53% on average – was a peak if you break the numbers down into discrete periods. SNP membership, meanwhile, added 100000 members between 18th September 2014 and 31st December 2019. However, over half of these additions signed up in the first 29 days after the Referendum even before Sturgeon took over from Salmond. (If you want verification you’ll have to check SNP press notices, Electoral Commission publications and Peter Murrell tweets between 18.09.14 and 15.11.14).

    Whilst we have observed a precipitous decline in SNP membership from the towering summit of 126000 persons in 2019 to just over 72000 as of 16th March 2023, a reduction of around 54000.

    In addition support for the SNP for both Westminster and Holyrood elections has fallen sharply with most recent indicating the party holds around a much diminished advantage over its nearest challenger which would still make it the largest party, if no longer holding a majority of Scottish MPs or MSPs.

    The good news, relatively speaking, is that YES support has held up well in the circumstances. It seems to be around 47%-48% on average, although this is down on the end of last year (UK Supreme Court effect) and on the final quarter of 2014 (Referendum momentum effect).

    However … there may be a delayed effect.

    The election of Humza Yousaf was a debacle:

    He was very clearly the outgoing party hierarchy’s preferred candidate (which is why he received all the highly public endorsements from senior party members). There are question marks over why an essentially online vote could not be amended prior to the cut-off for the (electronic) count. The fiasco over forced release of the size of the party membership/electorate caused the subsequent resignations of the party’s media/communications chief and chief executive).

    It just looked bad, very bad. Plus the SNP now has a leader who seems intent on putting his foot into it at every available opportunity.

    Now we have the events of yesterday and the on-going police investigation.

    You can say with almost certainty that the party will not be attracting more members in the near future and I’d wager haemorrhage more members given the foregoing.

    But what will happen to those that depart the SNP? They don’t seem to have joined any of the other pro-Independence parties en masse.

    More pertinently will they disengage and abandon their support for Scottish Independence?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 226000 members! It’s the first time I’ve seen this figure.

      But you are correct. The SNP shenanigans of the last few months/years will have an impact on the Yes movement. And we cannot know what the effect will be. It’s not looking good, though.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I should check my email more often. I’ll change the figure to save any more confusion. For the record, it is only in exceptional circumstances that I edit others’ comments.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Only 54% of previous SNP voters rate independence in their top 3 political priorities. As such, even the majority of previous SNP voters aren’t representative of scotoblogs where people think that all that matters is YES.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We have to remember the outcome of ‘cultural assimilation’ in a colonial society, the resultant ‘colonial mindset’ condition, and that the desire for/against independence is primarily a ‘cultural emotion’.

      The mass of an oppressed people have still to be informed of what independence really means (decolonization) and why it is necessary (liberation), in large part because the understanding of political leaders also remains rudimentary:


      Liked by 4 people

  3. Reality?

    “Ciontach” is Scottish Gaelic and means the following
    Convict, guilty person, offender, the culprit {really}
    While bilingualism doesn’t always interest everybody
    Sometimes indifference is NOT our honourable reality


    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are free to think.

    I think Jenny-Wren has sung, the cork is out of the bottle, and a latter-day Guido sees his bonfire.

    Don’t ask.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.