Both John Swinney and the entire SNP’s record is mired in chaos and failure

Anas Sarwar called for more houses to be built in Scotland
Anas Sarwar has called for an election -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod / Daily Record

Almost 24 years ago, John Swinney was elected as the SNP's leader.

This week, history is set to repeat itself as the SNP stalwart is crowned in an uncontested election as the continuity candidate.

At a time when Scotland is crying out for change, we are getting a man who has been at the heart of this incompetent government for 17 years and at the heart of the SNP for 40 years.

A backroom stitch up means it is likely no SNP members, let alone Scottish voters, will get a say in who Scotland’s next First Minister is.

So what does John Swinney’s record look like?

He was Deputy First Minister during the Covid pandemic – though it’s hard to scrutinise his role, as like so many SNP figures he had wiped his messages and destroyed evidence by the time the Covid inquiry requested them.

Before that he was tasked with closing Scotland’s shameful attainment gap as Education Secretary - a task he failed miserably and our children are now living with the consequences.

He was the worst education secretary in the history of the Scottish parliament. Not only did the attainment gap widen on his watch, he was also responsible for the Covid exam scandal in which the SQA attempted to downgrade the exam results of pupils in the most deprived communities.

And of course, he was the Finance Secretary responsible for destroying public finances and laying the groundwork for the current budget blackhole.

For all the cries that the SNP make of wanting to make Scotland Tory free, the fact is that every budget John Swinney passed from 2007 to 2011 was with Tory support.

Thanks to John Swinney, the SNP and the Tories cut local services and centralised power for four years.

Let’s be clear - John Swinney has been brought in to try and manage his chaotic and divided party - not to focus on running our country.

The return of John Swinney is the result of the SNP putting their own party’s survival before the national interest.

Party before country, spin before facts - this is all the SNP has to offer.

For all his claim that he is not a caretaker leader, this is just the start of the longest SNP leadership contest in history.

Don’t take my word for it - climate secretary Mairi McAllan said Swinney is the right man ‘for the moment.’

Both John Swinney and the entire SNP’s record is mired in chaos and failure – so it’s no wonder they are running scared from an election.

It’s hard to escape a sense of de ja vu watching a deeply chaotic and hopelessly divided government impose its second unelected leader in a row on our country.

In 2022 the Tories reduced the office of Prime Minister to a game of musical chairs, giving us Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in under a year.

The SNP were rightly scathing of this farce at the time, with then-leader Nicola Sturgeon describing it as “preposterous, democratically”.

And yet here we are, watching the SNP lift directly from the Tory playbook and install a revolving door at Bute House.

Humza Yousaf was in the job for just over a year when he took a wrecking ball to his own government – but this is not just about one man’s incompetence.

The chaos engulfing this SNP government has been 17 years in the making.

For 17 years, the SNP has mismanaged lifeline services and squandered Scotland’s potential.

Every single institution in our country has been left weaker by this government.

There are over 800,000 people stuck on NHS waiting lists and almost 10,000 children living in temporary accommodation.

In schools, violence is rising and standards are falling, while police officer numbers are being cut and crimes are being given a free pass.

Our economy is flatlining and millions of pounds are being wasted on failed projects.

This is a party that has lost its way and a government that has lost touch, and swapping around the person at the top for the second time in 14 months won’t fix that.

That is particularly true when the SNP’s answer to their current woes is also the architect of them.

While the SNP is once again putting its own party interests ahead of Scotland’s national interest, Scottish Labour is ready to deliver the change our country needs.

It used to be the SNP who relished elections while Scottish Labour feared them – but now the opposite is true.

Scottish Labour has a plan to rebuild our struggling NHS, revive our flatlining economy and put optimism and hope back in Scottish politics.

Across the UK, we are ready to boot out this disastrous Tory government and improve lives here in Scotland by making work pay and cutting energy bills.

It’s time for change – and the sooner Scottish voters get a say the better.

Bring on a U.K. and a Scottish election.

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