John Swinney elected unopposed as new SNP leader

The SNP leadership campaign’s been a short,
sharp affair – and it’s already shown John Swinney’s skill
in horse trading.

That’s something he’ll need in spades if
he’s to run a minority government.

Swinney only launched his bid on
Thursday and within four hours he’d sewn up the contest,
when Kate Forbes gave him her backing.

He’d dangled a juicy carrot to tempt her – a
senior Cabinet role, and an assurance they share the same agenda.

But some SNP activists wanted a contest, not a
coronation.

And one, the veteran campaigner Graeme
McCormick had rustled up enough supporters to force a leadership contest.

That threatened to delay the party but Swinney soon put an end to that
challenge.

After talks between the pair, McCormick
declared his backing for Swinney.

So a pattern’s emerging – with Swinney
doing deals right, left and centre.

Who can he bring round next?

Once he’s FM, he’ll need the support of the
Greens to pass new laws and budgets.

Expect informal discussions with them to
begin soon.

And other small parties – the Lib-Dems and
Alba – will be eyeing a chance to trade their votes for influence, issue by
issue.

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