Thursday 17 August 2023

Is Nicola Sturgeon an MI5 agent?


There was a very peculiar story in the Times yesterday that it would be easy to dismiss as the work of a crank about the SNP leadership being taken over by MI5. It would be easy to simply dismiss it. Except it tells us something about the nature both of the SNP and Scotland in a way that is enlightening and important, but not in the way those involved intend.

I had never heard of Campbell Martin a former SNP MSP who now aged 63 worries that he will never see Scottish independence.

Mr Martin begins.

“The SNP is completely compromised,” he wrote on a pro-independence website this week. “It has been captured and controlled by the British state. The difference between those early days of the Scottish parliament and today, is that the British state assets in the SNP have, over the intervening years, risen through the ranks and now hold senior positions that have allowed them to influence party policies and direction, such as adopting a lack of urgency in delivering independence.”

Now Mr Martin worked as an MSP between 2003 and 2007 so what are the early days and who has risen through the ranks? Well, it is fairly clear that there was no lack of urgency in the SNP leadership about independence from 2011 until 2014. Instead, Alex Salmond was able to deliver a legal referendum on independence that took place in 2014. So, Mr Martin cannot mean Alex Salmond who became SNP leader in 2004.

When can this alleged lack of urgency have occurred? Well on a number of occasions having become leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon asked the UK Government for permission to hold a second referendum. She asked Theresa May, and she asked Boris Johnson. She even held various votes in Holyrood on the issue and asked the Supreme Court whether Holyrood could legislate for a second referendum on its own. She continually campaigned for independence and talked about it all the time. On the surface then there was no lack of urgency.

Mr Martin continues.

“You have to hand it to the British state, it has played a blinder: today’s SNP is so corrupted by British agents that it has sidelined independence and embraced gender policies that make the party unelectable.”

It becomes immediately clear who he means by people who have risen through the ranks, but the problem is that almost everyone in the SNP leadership has embraced gender policies and risen through the ranks. There have been a few dissidents, but their dissent has meant they have been pushed to the margins or into the embrace of Alex Salmond and Alba.

Nicola Sturgeon was the first to fully embrace gender policies. She was the driving force behind the attempt to make it easier for people to obtain a gender recognition certificate without a medical diagnosis. But so too were her colleagues in the Scottish Greens. So too was Humza Yousaf. Are we to assume that they are all MI5 agents?

A few people in the SNP were critical of gender policies. Kate Forbes has a more traditional view of these matters. But in the recent leadership contest her challenge was defeated. SNP members chose Humza Yousaf. Are we to assume that over half of the SNP membership are MI5 agents too?

What’s more at various elections the SNP and the Scottish Greens have made clear their views on gender. Nicola Sturgeon, Humza Yousaf and all of the other alleged MI5 agents have successfully stood for election. We must assume that the Scottish electorate therefore is either ignorant of these people being MI5 agents or that the voters are MI5 agents too.

But it’s not only Mr Martin who thinks that the leadership of the SNP is full of MI5 agents.

However, other senior SNP figures have told The Times they believe that MI5 has a longstanding policy of using agents to penetrate and monitor the independence movement.

One of those is Jim Sillars.

“When I joined in 1980, Dr Robert McIntyre [the party’s then president and first MP] took to me one side and said: ‘Do you realise we will all be penetrated’,” he said.

Sillars worried that he might be considered to be one of the penetrators given his background with the Labour Party.

Sillars said he and his late wife, Margo MacDonald, the former SNP MP and independent MSP, “just accepted” that some supposed comrades were double agents. “There were a couple of people in the party who I was absolutely certain were MI5 plants,” he said. “There is nothing we can do about it.

But there was something that true Scottish nationalists could have done about it. They could have told the electorate that such and such an MP or MSP was an MI5 agent. The SNP could have kicked the MI5 agent out.

This is what is so odd about what Martin, Sillars and unnamed senior SNP sources are telling us. They are saying both everything and nothing. Why doesn’t Sillars tell us about the MI5 agents he and his wife knew about? If Martin thinks Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf have been turned to the dark side, why doesn’t he say it? Of course, in that case he might need evidence, but if he doesn’t have evidence why say it at all?

Scotland becomes curiouser and curiouser. Let’s imagine that it is true that MI5 sleeper cells have been planted in the SNP only to grow up to be the leadership, what would that tell us about recent events?

Well, it would mean that the recent scandals embracing the SNP, the investigation into the SNP’s finances, the campervan, the burner phones the Amazon account, and the fridge were all the work of MI5.

It would mean that Nicola Sturgeon had no intention of achieving Scottish independence even though she gave the distinct impression of campaigning vigorously for it in 2014. It would mean that every time she asked for permission to hold a second referendum she whispered to the Prime Minister, but please don’t give it.

I have absolutely no idea about the security services. I also have no idea about the inner workings of the SNP. It may be that MI5 and the British state views the SNP as the greatest threat to its existence. No other organisation can destroy the UK with a vote. But in that case, everything we have been told about both the UK and the SNP is fiction.

If MI5 is controlling the SNP, then it is clear that the British state has no intention of allowing Scottish independence, while at the same time the British state pretended that Scotland could have a legal vote to leave. But that would make the SNP pointless as a political party as the only route to independence would be rebellion.

So too if it turned out that Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon and who knows how many others were in fact MI5 agents none of us would have any idea whatsoever about what has really happened politically in Scotland during the past decade. Every fact we might think we knew could be false.

But we already know next to nothing about the SNP. The events since Sturgeon’s resignation are baffling. How could it be that the most famous politician in Scotland could be arrested? But where would we find truth if it turned out that the whole of Scottish politics was a game and that no one was who we thought they were?

The reality is more straightforward. The UK Government got the fright of its life in 2014 and has now gradually moved away from the position that the UK is a sort of confederation made up of nations that can leave whenever they want like Brexit. It is a unitary nation state with regions that happen to be called countries, because they once were independent. The Supreme Court told us that there is no democratic right to secession under this circumstance and the UK Government will enforce this ruling.

There is therefore no need to penetrate. That would be to use a blunt instrument when a subtler one is required. It is not MI5 that prevented Sturgeon from making progress on independence and there is no need to suppose that she was not at least initially trying. Rather the SNP now has no legal route to its goal.

The decline in support for the SNP has nothing to do with gender, which is a peripheral issue to Scottish voters. It is partly the result of Sturgeon’s resignation. It is partly the result of Humza Yousaf not being an especially good leader. It is partly the result of scandal. But it is mostly the realisation that with SNP supporters that you won’t see independence in your lifetime. In that case you can either develop conspiracy theories, lose your reason, or else vote Labour.

As the prospects of independence recede and as certain Scottish nationalists get older, expect more and more of them to lose their reason. Rage. Rage against the dying of the light.

Is Sturgeon an MI5 agent? I have no idea, but there is usually a simpler explanation for all conspiracy theories.