Nicola Sturgeon was SNP’s Alex Ferguson – so will David Moyes be their successor? | Political news

Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to step down as the longest-serving First Minister and a leading force in the attempt to create an independent Scotland is a turning point, not just for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK.

A polarizing politician, however, she was an exceptional communicator and activist who dominated Scottish politics for a decade.

How Mrs Sturgeon she told herself at the press conference where she resigned, she had fought eight elections as first minister and won all of them.

She was a leader of Scottish nationalism and campaign leader, and as the SNP now seeks a new leader, unionists and opposition parties sense an opportunity: could this be their moment to loosen the iron grip the SNP has on Scottish politics, Ms Sturgeon has taken the lead?

And for SNPscan it handle the succession from such a big name to a relatively unknown one, while still being able to replicate its electoral success?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh to announce the second independence document.  Photo date: Thursday, July 14, 2022. Titled Renewing Democracy through Independence, the article presents the Scottish Government's view that people living in Scotland have the right to choose how they will be governed.

Think of another Scot, Sir Alex Ferguson, who achieved lasting success in Manchester United for 26 years, winning 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles.

The football club has not won a league since Fergie retired ten years ago.

None of the three candidates now running for the SNP leadership would like to be compared to his successor, David Moyes, who was sacked after less than a year.

But there are inevitable questions about whether any of the three leadership candidates might even start slipping into Mrs Sturgeon’s shoes.

It is therefore a turning point that may determine the direction of the SNP and the future of the Union for years to come.

As the power vacuum opens up in the party, the divisions that became increasingly apparent in Ms Sturgeon’s last months of leadership are now becoming more apparent and deepening as she leaves office.

This leadership race has sparked discussion and disagreement over how the SNP should evolve and how, if so, the party can achieve its primary goal of independence.

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The Legacy of Nicola Sturgeon

Forbes, Yousaf or Regan?

This weekend The first televised debate, hosted by STV, showed how deep these divisions are. The party, which was known for its discipline, put on a completely different show.

In the cross-examination section of the debate, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes addressed the Irn-Bru leader. Humza Yousaf and his record in government in demolition work that has raised doubts about the SNP’s performance in government, as well as Mr. Yousaf himself.

Several top SNP officials have already endorsed Humza Yousaf
Several top SNP officials have already endorsed Humza Yousaf

“You were transport minister and trains never came on time, when you were justice secretary, police were overburdened and now as health minister we have record waiting times,” she said. “What makes you think you can do a better job as first minister?”

Mr. Yousaf was appointed Minister by Alex Salmond at just 27 years of age, and then held important positions in Mrs. Sturgeon’s office.

He is a “candidate to go on” in this race, endorsed publicly this week by former SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson, but his leadership rival openly accuses Yousaf’s ambition to become Scotland’s next leader is not matched by his competence or ability to do the job.

As for Ms. Forbes, she has put herself in this election as a candidate for change, but she herself faces questions about exactly what new direction she will take.

Traditional values ​​in a progressive party?

While the SNP describes itself as a socially progressive party, Ms. Forbes is a very devout Christian traditional views about family life, which raises obvious questions about whether her values ​​and those of the party she hopes to lead align.

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Kate Forbes shares her views on marriage, children and transgender issues

SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes and her daughter Naomi during a visit to the Association of Ukrainians in Britain (AUGB) in Glasgow, where they are campaigning for the post of Prime Minister and leader of the SNP following the resignation of Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon.  Photo date: Thursday March 2, 2023
Kate Forbes

That tension was exposed in the first week of this race when a 32-year-old Highland MP criticized her party’s gender reform legislation, confirmed she would have voted against gay marriage had she been an MP when the bill was passed in 2014. , and suggested Sky News that children should not be born out of wedlock.

These remarks prompted some MPs who previously supported her to withdraw their support, and even her own campaign manager appeared to be shaky in public.

This has put Ms. Forbes behind as her opponents try to use her to their advantage:

“Forget about convincing no voters, you can’t even stop yes voters,” was Mr Yousaf’s reply.

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Who are the SNP leadership candidates?

The schedule for the SNP Leadership Race has been announced

There are also questions now about whether Ms. Forbes can keep her political allies aside: Considered a competent minister with a keen intellect, if she won, the Green Party would likely leave the coalition with the SNP, while some pro-independence LGBTQ+ activists have threatened to leave the Yes movement .

The third candidate in the race is Ash Regan, an East Edinburgh MSP who made headlines last year when she resigned from Nicola Sturgeon’s government on their gender reforms. Outside candidate Ms. Regan tries to connect with members of the SNP who want to focus more on independence.

One of her proposals is to build a “readiness thermometer” to measure Scotland’s progress towards independence with a “moving dial”.

Ash Regan gives his keynote speech at DoubleTree By Hilton, Queensferry Crossing, launching his campaign for First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP following the resignation of First Councilor Nicola Sturgeon.  Photo Date: Friday February 24, 2023
Ash Regan is an outside candidate for leadership

Ms Regan is not expected to win the race, but she can still make a big difference in the outcome.

SNP members have two votes in this election, and it is perhaps significant that its most prominent supporter, MP Joanna Cherry, has made it clear that Kate Forbes is her second choice.

Could Mrs. Regan’s role in this contest and her supporters be to help block the election of the SNP establishment?

End of an era

Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to step down marks the end of an era, and the big question for who will win this race is whether they can even come close to Mrs Sturgeon’s success at the ballot box as a new era of leadership begins.

As the SNP struggles to find a way to achieve its primary goal of Scottish independence, and the Scottish government comes under real scrutiny of policy and performance, the landscape is getting rockier as a less experienced politician prepares to take the reins.

Read more:
Sturgeon, “adder cesspool” SNP and failed sleep

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Salmond asked, “Why did Yousaf miss the gay marriage vote?”

With a general election one to eighteen months away, the public will soon have an opportunity to make their voices heard on the election of SNP members, and what happens in Scotland will affect the outcome of the next general election across the UK.

Will the end of the Sturgeon era hasten the beginning of the SNP’s fall from such a high electoral watermark?

It’s yet to be played out, but how these three candidates will go public and present their visions will be an important part of the story – and our Sky News debate will be an opportunity for us to test all three candidates and decide who will win.

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