OK, so the answer is “because she’s fallen out with her party and not been reselected”. But still, it’s not a headline I was expecting to write, so I hope you’ll forgive the clickbait.
If you missed it, this morning Lisa Cameron, the Nationalist MP for East Kilbride, announced that she was crossing the floor to sit with the Conservative and Unionist Party.
According to her, this is the latest fallout from the toxic internal battles within the SNP’s Westminster caucus; Cameron says she was shunned and bullied by her former colleagues after speaking up in favour of a teenage staffer who’d been sexually harassed by Patrick Grady, the party’s former chief whip.
The final decision to swap parties – or at least the timing of it – is probably not unrelated to the fact that it came on the same day she expected to hear that she hadn’t been reselected to fight her seat for the party.
Nonetheless, there’s floor crossings and there’s floor crossings, and to switch from the Nationalists to the Tories is quite an extraordinary development. Cameron attributes it to the strong personal support she received from Rishi Sunak, but it must have been quite remarkable to induce someone elected to Parliament on a platform of breaking up the United Kingdom to join the ranks of the most trenchantly unionist party in it (honourable mention to the DUP).
One wondered if it might be because the Conservatives might be more willing and able to find space for a newly-won incumbent at next year’s general election. But Scottish Conservative sources I spoke to don’t think Cameron currently has any plans to stand again in 2024.
Still, having the woman described as “by common consent, one of the nicest members of Parliament” so decisively endorse the Tories, just three days before the SNP conference, is much better news than the party had any right to expect given the current state of affairs.
Conflict in Israel puts SNP/Green alliance under renewed pressure
I’ve written a couple of times over the past few days about the way elements of self-styled progressive opinion in Britain tend to disgrace themselves over Israel/Palestine, whether that’s the antisemite left that flooded into Labour during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership or the BBC’s very selective objection to using the word ‘terrorist’.
Humza Yousaf therefore deserves great credit for “unequivocally” condemning Hamas despite the fact that his Palestinian in-laws are currently trapped in Gaza, grappling with both low supplies and presumably the risk of retaliation or hostage-taking by the terrorists running the city.
Sadly, his coalition partners have once again stumbled at this knee-high hurdle. Jennie Chapman, a Green MSP, has provoked a furious response after claiming online that Hamas’ killing spree was a “consequence of apartheid, of illegal occupation, of imperial aggression by the Israel state”.
Palestine sometimes seems as much an idée fixe for the crank nationalists as the crank left. Elin Jones, a Plaid MS and presiding officer of the Senedd, has blocked a bid for it to fly the Israeli flag in a show of solidary; nor have elements of Sinn Fein been able to mask their enthusiasm, which has especially ugly potency coming from a party with its own terrorist wing.
But it is yet another entry in the growing list of the Scottish Nationalists being embarrassed by their junior partner, and will heap further pressure on Yousaf as the SNP head to Aberdeen for their party conference.