There's no surer sign the knives are out for Ian Blackford than the sight of someone from the party hierarchy being wheeled out to profess 'full confidence' in the SNP's Westminster leader.
Blackford's handling of the Patrick Grady sex pest scandal has been abysmal - the leaked recording of Blackford calling for SNP MPs to rally round the perpetrator (Grady) while having nothing to say about his young victim has done irreparable reputational harm to the SNP.
Nicola Sturgeon herself described this behaviour as 'utterly unacceptable' and while the SNP leadership is collectively responsible for this awful mess, a human shield cum party scapegoat is required to prevent Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell becoming the focus of attention.
For me the most telling thing about this whole affair is the fact that SNP activists are so scared of the party leadership that Blackford's behaviour was exposed by a leak - no one felt able to challenge what was going on for fear of being punished for speaking out.
So here's the issue - two Glasgow MSPs (Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf) have been asked a reasonable question about their use of public money to employ two SNP councillors who already have full-time, salaried jobs as senior elected members of Glasgow City Council. But these two public servants (both long-serving ministers) refuse to answer, so what to do next? One regular reader suggests raising the matter on the floor of the Scottish Parliament which is a good idea, but requires an MSP who's prepared to put down a written question for Scottish Ministers to answer. So here's a list of activities which will help shine a light on what has been going on because as Lord Nolan once said apropos driving up standards in public life - 'daylight is the best disinfectant'. Write to the leader of Glasgow City Council Write to the Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council Write to all elected members in Glasgow City Council Write to the party leaders in Glasgow City Council W
I heard from a friend of mine over the weekend who works as a civil servant in the Scottish Government. Apparently, I can expect my complaint about Humza Yousaf to be blown off because the standard response to objections of this kind is that this involves a personal Twitter account. In other words Humza's idiotic behaviour nothing to do with the Scottish Government. If so, I'll be astonished because Humza Yousaf promotes his profile on Twitter by drawing attention to his role as Scotland's Justice Minister. Not only that because Humza's attack on fellow MSPs was done during normal working hours (ie his employer's time) and presumably it is very easy to check if he used a mobile phone, or some other device, provided for him to use while at work by the Scottish Government. So I remain optimistic until I'm proved wrong - and let's hope I hear something soon. In the meantime, I plan to share this post with the various MSPs involved. Total Lack Of Respect, Hu
Mhairi Hunter and Jennifer Layden are both senior councillors in Glasgow whose roles are regarded as a full-time commitment because of their additional responsibilities over a backbench councillor who is paid at two-thirds of the full time rate. The full-time rate can vary depending on the nature of the role and according to Glasgow's Register of Interests Jennifer is paid a salary of £35,000 while Mhairi receives £26,000 - around £15 and £20 an hour respectively. Yet both SNP councillors have other paid jobs - Jennifer works in Humza Yousaf's office having previously enjoyed a similar role in Margaret Ferrier; while Mhairi has a role in none other than Nicola Sturgeon's office and a separate paid commitment as a member of Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. Now I have no problem with councillors being properly remunerated - I was a member of the independent (SLARC) committee which recommended a new salary structure for elected councillors in Scotland in 2006. Yet the