I HAVE not left the SNP, the SNP have left me.

However, the current First Minister Humza Yousaf’s bizarre and erroneous understanding is that I left the SNP.

Is he unaware of a member conduct committee meeting the night before to expel me?

Although I will be happy to take the current FM’s interpretation in October and rejoin, subject to the SNP getting their act together and being coherent about how to get to independence.

It is strange to be expelled from the SNP as a rank-and-file member for being too pushy on independence, especially as I was the first SNP MP in 35 years to take a seat from Labour in a General Election.

For background, following a one-week suspension from the SNP Westminster group – not from my SNP membership – I decided to self-suspend from the group until October conference.

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The one-week suspension was caused by my rift with the new Westminster group leader’s (third-choice) whip Brendan O’ Hara, for me not wanting to be as settled down at Westminster as he wanted. This prompted what seemed his odd series of letters to me, without speaking to me as any normal past whip would have done.

However, it became apparent quite quickly that his letters were being used as internal party weapons.

Coincidentally, his letter-writing craze started the day after I called for Nicola Sturgeon’s suspension following her arrest in the ongoing police inquiry and campervan debacle.

That is, however, the sideshow to what should be the main game – independence!

The SNP were, as I said at the time, clueless and have been for a period of years on how to pursue independence – the only constant has been giving the membership yet another false dawn.

After the Scottish Government decided to ask the UK Supreme Court on a matter for which they should have legislated, namely a referendum, using elections was described by the former First Minister as “incredibly daft”!

The “critically-unthinking” agreed with her, until she announced exactly this route within months, then the “critically-unthinking” agreed with this view too.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Russell

More seriously, however, post the Supreme Court, members were seriously misled by luminaries in the party, the leader and also the party president Michael Russell, all maintaining that the only way to an early Holyrood election was the resignation of the First Minister. That was wrong and is wrong. Sec3(1)(a) of the Scotland Act enables an election on a simple majority of MSPs.

That former leader has of course gone. However, the president, Mr Russell, who aided false information to members has not, to my knowledge, corrected the record or apologised to members either, for being misleading.

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For that he should surely be considering his position and taking the path of an honourable resignation given the gravity of his actions in aiding the blocking of an avenue to independence.

The Supreme Court and Westminster are, of course, blocking the referendum route to independence, and they will not yield on that. It is not their duty to deliver any SNP manifesto commitment, just as it is not for the SNP to deliver an Alba or LibDem manifesto commitment, for instance.

But what a powerful message it would send if instead of daily press releases of moaning about the UK Government, the SNP Scottish Government put the wellbeing of Scotland above their jobs at Holyrood and called an election on independence.

Now that would stop the world and Scotland would get on, to paraphrase the great Winnie Ewing. They could electrify Scotland and change the destiny of the nation.

Are the New SNP of 2023 up to it? Well, they could redeem themselves.