There was a very peculiar story in the Times yesterday that it would be easy to dismiss as the work of a crank about the SNP leadership being taken over by MI5. It would be easy to simply dismiss it. Except it tells us something about the nature both of the SNP and Scotland in a way that is enlightening and important, but not in the way those involved intend.

I had never heard of Campbell Martin a former SNP MSP who now aged 63 worries that he will never see Scottish independence.

Mr Martin begins.

“The SNP is completely compromised,” he wrote on a pro-independence website this week. “It has been captured and controlled by the British state. The difference between those early days of the Scottish parliament and today, is that the British state assets in the SNP have, over the intervening years, risen through the ranks and now hold senior positions that have allowed them to influence party policies and direction, such as adopting a lack of urgency in delivering independence.”

Now Mr Martin worked as an MSP between 2003 and 2007 so what are the early days and who has risen through the ranks? Well, it is fairly clear that there was no lack of urgency in the SNP leadership about independence from 2011 until 2014. Instead, Alex Salmond was able to deliver a legal referendum on independence that took place in 2014. So, Mr Martin cannot mean Alex Salmond who became SNP leader in 2004.

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