Sunday 27 July 2003

An ungentlemanly challenge

I hold no special brief for John Swinney, leader of the SNP, but for a leadership challenge to be launched on the day before Swinney's wedding is a nasty trick. It appears that Bill Wilson is a stalking horse for other potential leaders but sometimes the one who wields the knife does inherit the throne.

Scotland on Sunday comments:

Dr Wilson has signalled that he will campaign for a more left wing leadership for the SNP. In doing this he speaks for many party activists who have been struck by the success of Tommy Sheridan’s Scottish Socialist Party in making inroads into urban Scotland. The future, they argue, lies in a turn to the left which would allow the SNP to win votes from the SSP and the Labour Party. Though superficially attractive this would actually be a disaster for the Nationalists. Elections are won and lost in the centre ground. Veering to the left would expose the SNP on its right flank. And the Tories showed in May this year that they are able to take seats from the SNP. Any espousal of tartan socialism would be seized on with pleasure by the resurgent Scottish Conservatives.
And is Bill Wilson a leftwinger? His CV would indicate that he could be:

Born: Glasgow

Age: 39

Education: Shawlands Academy, Glasgow. Glasgow University (BSc Zoology). Aberdeen University (MSc Ecology). Queens University Belfast (PhD in the biology, ecology and regulation of wood mice). Glasgow University (Masters in IT)

Job: Computer programmer for a major financial institution in Edinburgh

Party career: Joined SNP in 1989 at age of 25, after campaigning with Labour party. Convener of SNP Glasgow Association. Contested Glasgow Mayhill in 1999 and 2003

Family: Married. First wedding anniversary falls on date of leadership ballot

Out and about: Hill-walking in the Andes, the Himalayas, Kenya, Mexico and all over Scotland

Reads: Philosophy, historical novels

Music: Classics, especially Mozart and Beethoven. Also classic jazz and folk

This guy gets a degree in zoology, another in ecology and then one in "regulation of wood mice", all presumably at the taxpayers' expense. As if that's not enough, he gets yet another degree, this one in IT. Presumably that's the one that enabled him to gain employment as a "computer programmer for a major financial institution in Edinburgh". Is it not amusing that this paragon of right-on environmentalism ends up working for the capitalist running dogs of the Edinburgh financial community? I wonder how Dr Wilson will explain that lapse to the massed ranks of the social working class whose support he no doubt needs to gain the leadership of the SNP.