Today’s resignation of Alex Salmond as First Minister of Scotland after his failure to secure independence in yesterday’s referendum opens up a leadership battle in the Scottish National Party (SNP). Here is our review of the potential candidates:
Nicola Sturgeon MSP – She is the obvious choice and has been a loyal Deputy First Minister to Salmond. However, she was also Minister for The Referendum and her reputation as a “nippy sweetie” (which is Scottish for annoying) may prove offputting.
Likelihood of winning: 8/10
Keith Brown MSP – Minister for Transport and Veterans. Is a decorated veteran having served in the Royal Marines, playing a pivotal role in the retaking of the Falkland Islands in the 1983 war. He is not as high profile as Sturgeon but he is the right age and profile. He is steady and commands respect, not the front runner yet but we predict a serious challenge from him.
Likelihood of winning: 6/10 (One to watch)
Alex Neil MSP – Minister for Health. The rapid rate of his privatisation of health services in Scotland might have gone down well in England but it is not popular amongst the SNP core vote.
Likelihood of winning: 2/10
Mike Russell MSP – Minister for Education. He is often seen as being a Tartan Tory (ie SNP supporter who holds right-wing views) and may lack broad support as a result. His big initiative was free university places, which has proved highly popular, but to fund it he was forced to cut 140,000 college places.
Likelihood of winning: 4/10
Kenny MacAskill MSP – Minister for Justice. The time might be right for Kenny because he is the right age and has a lot of experience through years at the political coal face. He’s known to be single-minded, determined and is known for his willingness to push through policies in the face of opposition. But this has made him powerful enemies, not least because he has armed the police which is hugely controversial in Britain.
Likelihood of winning: 6/10
Humza Yousaf MSP – Minister for External Affairs. Humza is hugely gifted and was widely seen as the power behind Alex Salmond but as previously reported on Breitbart London he is linked to Islamic radicals. He may also be seen as too young at just 29-years-old.
Likelihood of winning: 5/10
Joan McAlphine MSP – Backbench MSP for the South of Scotland region. Her role as a media advisor and speech writer to the SNP has enabled her to build a close professional relationship with Alex Salmond. He is likely to want her to win, but her lack of widespread appeal will make it tough for her to persuade him to publicly support her.
Likelihood of winning: 1/10