The Westminster parliament must be dissolved by December 17 2024.
Wise folk predict an April or October election.
I doubt it’ll happen early. The Tories will hang on, hoping a miracle rescues them from a kicking.
In any case, in less than a year we’ll be embroiled in a general election campaign. And that means a change for Dundee East.
Stewart Hosie is standing down, so for the first time in nearly 20 years the constituency (with redrawn boundaries) is guaranteed a new MP.
Who will the SNP select as their prospective candidate?
‘A lot of work to do’
Mr Hosie’s 2019 winning margin was 13,375 votes, so the seat will probably be an SNP “hold”.
That makes things interesting.
Across the country there are a few SNP seats where a hold isn’t so certain. A few current MPs might be casting a jealous eye upon Dundee East to further their London career.
Or someone held in high esteem might be flown in. Perhaps there’s a young media darling the party wants to promote?
Humza Yousaf might fancy it. Anyone can see he’ll not be party leader long.
He’s the “interim man”, the seat-warmer between old and new eras. An SNP version of Iain Duncan-Smith.
If a poor result in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election punctures his leadership, he could very possibly be a candidate.
But surely a born-and-bred Dundonian deserves it. If so, the city council is an obvious place to look.
That presents a problem. If any councillor is to step up, they have a lot of work to do.
For years, Dundee’s SNP group have stuck to a policy of never rocking the boat, never having an opinion, never breaking ranks.
But this invisibility will count against them in a general election.
‘Turn on your talent’
Being an MP requires a character with a bit of self-confidence, a sparkle of personality, a dazzle of star quality for the TV cameras in the House.
An MP has to shout down Sir Keir Starmer, shut Rishi Sunak up, and swim in the cold waters with rest of the sharks. A plodder whose only talent is following orders just won’t cut it.
Are there any outstanding members of the SNP group in Dundee? Any who could wither the wicked wits of Westminster or confound the Commons chatterers?
We don’t know.
None of them ever volunteer an opinion on events that affect the city.
Neither for or against, in defence or in criticism, good or bad. Nothing. Whenever something important or controversial happens, they duck out of sight.
This might be good for local party discipline but no one will give their X to a no-mark.
So come on councillors. If you harbour ambitions to progress in politics let’s hear proper opinions. Unsheathe your razor-sharp intellect. Turn on your talent.
You’ve only got a few months to prove you are worthy so you better get cracking.
If the SNP doesn’t select a councillor, it will speak volumes for what the party hierarchy think of their Dundee foot soldiers.
No reward for all the yes-sir-no-ma’am toeing the party line.