Grassroots members are going beyond the indyref2 question and beginning to set an important agenda, says Lesley Riddoch
STRANGE that the first big challenge to the SNP leadership since 2012’s NATO vote went largely unreported by the press and broadcasters.
But then, Nicola Sturgeon’s first party conference defeat as leader was over land reform – and as any government minister and every media commentator will tell you, that is the driest, most abstract, arcane, complex and minority issue imaginable.
Strange then, that young Nicky Lowden MacCrimmon from Carse of Gowrie branch led the call to reject the leadership position with some perfectly intelligible questions: “Does radical land reform leave 750,000 acres of land in offshore tax havens? Does radical land reform leave tenant farmers with no right to buy? I don’t think as a party we are being as radical as we have the powers to be. When you [offer] radical land reform then we’ll sign up to it.”
Stranger still that in a disciplined party like the SNP and a Scottish election year – when the appearance of unity is supremely important – Mr Lowden MacCrimmon’s move to send back the motion was carried by 570 votes to 440 . Yet none of this prompted further media probing – perhaps hacks expected the bloody nose to be delivered over fracking instead and were experiencing a bad case of wrong leaves on the line.