SNP has “lost its ability to listen and deliver,” says Forbes

The finance minister told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg program that there were a number of areas that “needed to be done differently” after 16 years in government.

Mrs. Forbes, who campaigned for the top job with the slogan, will not achieve continuity.


During the interview taped on Saturday, Ms Forbes was asked what went wrong with the SNP.

She said, “Three things. First, the ability to listen to understand the priorities of the people we are here to serve.

“Secondly, the ability to deliver. So if we have a solid, good policy, we have to implement it.

“I am speaking to you from one end of the A9, the backbone of Scotland. We said we would double it, we didn’t. We have to be able to deliver.

“And the third thing is the SNP’s raison d’être, which, of course, is independence.

“And I think we’ve lost some of the respectful dialogue that we need when it comes to convincing those who aren’t yet convinced that we need to stand for independence.

“We need to reduce the abuse and venom and respect the reasons people may not be persuaded and work hard to persuade them.”

CONTINUE READING: Kate Forbes has “complete faith” in the SNP leadership contest

When asked what her colleagues would think of the criticism, Ms Forbes said: “You can’t bring about change if you don’t have faith.

“To have trust, you have to be open about the challenges we face. And right now we are at a crossroads. This is not a question.

“We have 16 years of successful government behind us. If we are to see the SNP continue to win elections, continue to run against the opposition in the next election, not least the Labor Party, then we need to think seriously about what has worked and what hasn’t worked.

“And I think you can build on the solid track record that we have while being aware of what else needs to change.”

She said if members wanted continuity they could support Humza Yousaf.

Ms Forbes also said she would rule out further income tax hikes.

“But of course what I want to say about the recent increase is that the higher taxes are a symptom of our economy growing so slowly and our tax base not being wide enough.

“We have to raise the money for our public services because people depend on them. But I would much rather we focused on expanding the tax base and growing our economy.”

CONTINUE READING: Who is Peter Murrell, the former SNP chief?

Earlier in the campaign, Ms Forbes – a member of the social-conservative Free Church of Scotland – came under fire after she said she would not have voted for equal marriage had she been an MSP in 2014. She has also raised concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform Act.

When asked what she would say to the gay community about her concerns, the candidate “made today an honest pledge to govern in a way that serves you and in no way undermines your rights. And is actually trying to improve your opportunities in Scotland to ensure that Scotland really is the tolerant and pluralistic nation that we all want to see.”

In a previous interview with Sky, she was asked to clarify her position on the conversion therapy ban.

During a husting earlier this week, she sparked outrage when she seemed to suggest it could be an “election,” something campaigners for a ban believe isn’t possible.

Ms Forbes said: “I said in that debate, and I will say it again today, that conversion therapy is abhorrent.

“We went through a process in which many people shared their lived experiences. And on a highly sensitive issue like this, I think it’s important that it’s these lived experiences that inform how we approach the debate.

“Now I understand that there are people who will say there is no such thing as a casual approach to conversion therapy. I’m not here to disagree.

“I’m here to build on the experiences that people have shared and to ensure that whatever approach we take to legislation reflects those lived experiences, but it’s a very, very sensitive issue.

“And I think it’s important that instead of giving you quick answers on a matter so important, we think about the consultation responses and make sure that the legislation prohibits such a heinous practice.”

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch also spoke about their faith.

The shows were both pre-taped as she doesn’t give interviews on Sundays.

She told the BBC she was under scrutiny because of her evangelical Christianity.

Asked if she felt she had been punished for saying what she believes, Ms Forbes replied: “Well, I think there was a pretty amazing level of scrutiny and maybe backlash from some quarters.

“Of course I will not be the only person who believes in high office. We have a Muslim Mayor of London, we have a Hindu in No 10. And I think people of faith have the right to hold high office.”

Scottish Tory leader Craig Hoy claimed Ms Forbes has a “somewhat brassy neck”.

He said: “Kate Forbes is at it again – claiming she is the ‘candidate for change’ to right the wrongs of the SNP government, even though she was one of the senior members.

“She had a brass neck publicly bemoaning the SNP’s failure to dualize the A9 as if she were a helpless bystander. As a Highlands MSP, she should have been promoting this since 2016; while she has been in charge of the purses as financial secretary for the last three years and would have made this possible if it was that important to her.

“Similarly, she speaks of the need to keep taxes low while blithely ignoring the fact that she has made Scotland the most heavily taxed part of the UK.

“Their slogan is ‘Continuity is not enough’ – and that’s true. The only problem is that Continuity Kate’s fingerprints are all over the SNP’s dismal record in government, as is Humza Yousaf’s.” SNP has “lost its ability to listen and deliver,” says Forbes

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