PERTH, United Kingdom
Conventional wisdom has been having a bad few weeks since the dawn of the New Scotland.
The latest manifestation of this is the election of Stewart Hosie as the deputy leader of the SNP.
Scottish Government transport minister Keith Brown had been seen as the favourite in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon, who is moving on to higher office.
Mr Brown is a capable minister, fluent communicator, and a Falklands veteran who commands respect across the spectrum
Mr Hosie, MP for Dundee East, and Angela Constance, Scottish Government cabinet secretary for training, youth and women’s employment, were seen as conscientious and dedicated party figures but unlikely to defeat Mr Brown.
But the membership of the SNP, new and shiny and very, very big indeed, had other ideas.
So Mr Hosie’s victory can be seen as a positive vote for him but also, in a sense, a vote against inside-the-bubble thinking.
If Mr Brown was the candidate best equipped to reach out to swing voters and ‘Soft Noes’, Mr Hosie is the grassroots choice; a Nationalist’s Nationalist.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. Once elected First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will face pressure to tack centre ahead of the Westminster and Holyrood elections. Middle Scotland, which voted No, will have to be wooed and soothed into the polling stations.
Here Mr Hosie could serve an important role as the core vote’s man at the top of the party. As Sturgeon plays for the undecided, her deputy can sound rallying cries to reassure the committed that the SNP remains true to the cause.
The new man in the job has the big shoes of a very successful woman to follow. Time will tell if he can match Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy as second-in-command and contribute the kind of support and energy to her new leadership as she did to Alex Salmond’s.