Wednesday 1 May 2024

Forbes can't possibly lead the SNP


Kate Forbes is generally the most popular SNP person among Pro UK people. She ought not to be. Like everyone else in the SNP Forbes is primarily and above everything else a Scottish nationalist. This is why she is in the SNP. This is why everyone is in the SNP. It’s a single-issue party. All the rest is just a means of achieving that goal.

I don’t know Kate Forbes and I only know about her views what everyone else knows. By all accounts she is very pleasant and is liked by people from all parties in Holyrood. She is a young mum with other children from her husband’s previous marriage. She is a Gaelic speaker who spent much of her youth in India where her parents were missionaries. She went to Cambridge and is obviously more intelligent than perhaps any other SNP politician. She is a committed Christian with views that border on the fundamentalist.

On the one hand Pro UK people ought to hope that Kate Forbes does not become SNP leader and First Minister. It would be to our disadvantage to have a genuinely intelligent SNP leader. It has been hugely beneficial to have a leader like Humza Yousaf who is not particularly intelligent. Even Sturgeon who was a very good politician lacked the intelligence to guide the SNP properly after losing the referendum in 2014. Her strategies failed because they were not clever enough.

If the SNP is to succeed it cannot keep repeating the same strategy of being the anti-Tory party that is more to the left and more woke than Labour. Scotland is not economically ready for independence. It requires a subsidy from the UK Treasury in order to continually spend more public money on services that are no better than in England. This in itself obviously means that Scottish independence would involve Scots initially being poorer. That is not to take into account the economic disadvantages of breaking up a three-hundred-year-old country and its internal market.

The only way that Scotland could even begin to afford Scottish independence is to do everything possible to encourage growth in the Scottish economy. If I were SNP leader, I would try my very best to have lower taxes than in England. I would cut public spending while providing incentives for other British people especially wealthy ones to come to Scotland. I would provide a more competitive business environment for companies and individuals and would attempt to undercut the other parts of the UK just as the UK ought to have tried to undercut the EU but didn’t.

I would then recognise that the only way Scotland can sensibly achieve independence is outside the EU. I would do all I could to maintain a friendly cooperative relationship with the British government so that Scotland could gain a relationship with the former UK that was similar to that enjoyed by the Isle of Man, Jersey, Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands. This would enable Scotland to continue being part of the Sterling Zone and would prevent all issues with hard borders and trade restrictions.

If I were SNP leader therefore, I would do the opposite of what the SNP has been doing for the past decades.

Forbes just might have the intelligence to see that this is the only path to independence. That makes her a dangerous opponent.

If the SNP choose John Swinney, they will have the same leader who failed dismally after Alex Salmond quit before returning to become First Minister in the 2007 Holyrood election, triumphing in the 2011 election and obtaining a referendum on independence. If Swinney had continued as SNP leader none of these things would have happened. Swinney is a non-entity who has achieved nothing whatsoever and never will.

But if the SNP elect Swinney he will continue as First Minister until 2026. He will be dull and pointless, but he won’t frighten the horses. Managed decline is not scary.

If on the other hand Forbes becomes SNP leader, she may not become First Minister at all as she will lack the support of the Scottish Greens and may lack the support of many if not most SNP MSPs.

The election of Forbes would very likely bring about an immediate Holyrood election which after the recent chaos there is every chance the SNP and the Greens would lose. We could well end up with Anas Sarwar as First Minister.

Forbes would then go into a General Election and would be very likely to lose that too. Whatever bright ideas she might have would then have to be made from a position of not having power and in a party where hardly any other politician agrees with her.

So, on the one hand I might recognise Kate Forbes as a dangerous opponent, but on the other I don’t see how she could be elected SNP leader without splitting the party.

Forbes is a Tartan Tory in a party that is now full of people on the left, the woke left and the extreme left and whose main motivation for independence is hatred of Tories.

It’s not merely problematic that Forbes is a religious fundamentalist trying to lead a party that thinks men can become women like water can become wine. More importantly she is perhaps more right wing than anyone in the Scottish Conservatives.

In order to achieve independence Scotland would need to ditch all its assumptions about economics. It would need a reformer like Margaret Thatcher to make Scotland efficient enough to deal with the shock of leaving the UK. Kate Forbes just might be such a person. She might just have the intelligence to realise that Scotland needs Adam Smith in a dress. But if she were to realise it, she would be alone in the Scottish Parliament as no one else would support her.

I hope John Swinney wins the SNP leadership. He would be less useless than Yousaf, but he will achieve nothing. But the SNP would be crazy to choose Kate Forbes. It would be like choosing the Pope to be moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.

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