Have they lost their minds at SNP headquarters? The question arises because of the latest revelation about a party that now appears to be entering the advanced stages of a psychological meltdown.

The media will not be allowed in to the SNP’s leadership hustings, the party’s ruling body has decided. The three candidates will be questioned by party members, but the wider public won’t be allowed to see it.

Chris Green, Scotland editor of the i paper, reports that nine of the private hustings will be held away from the media glare. Although hacks will now have even more incentive to turn up, in order to write and film reports of the media being denied access.

A party spokesman said: “It is the members who will be voting for the next leader of the party, so the SNP NEC has designed the party hustings as a safe space.”

It makes the candidates sound like they have fallen victim to some terrible disaster. But then they have in a way. They are running to be leader of a party consumed by scandal, left in a mess by outgoing leader Nicola Sturgeon.

One of the candidates, Kate Forbes, has called for the decision to be reversed and for the events to be livestreamed with media access to the venues.

The ban on journalists is the latest weird twist in the increasingly bitter fight for the Nat crown. When the Conservatives have their (perhaps too regular) leadership contests the hustings are open to the media and televised so the wider public can check out the candidates. The same applies to Labour. It’s elementary democratic scrutiny.

The SNP is instead doing it all in secret. Presumably the fear is there will be too many bust-ups over gender recognition, the question of whether a convicted rapist is a man or a woman, delayed ferries, and more. Can’t have the Scottish public sticking their noses in.

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