Nicola Sturgeon speaks for her party – not ‘the people of Scotland’
BRIAN WILSON’S COLUMN
Whenever I hear Nicola Sturgeon purporting to speak for “the people of Scotland”, there is one consolation – for every Scot who answers her definition, at least one more is turned off even further by this rhetoric.
Like any politician, Ms Sturgeon speaks for herself and her party. Nobody else. In the recent election, slightly more than one-third of Scots voted for non-separatist parties. Slightly fewer than one-third voted for the Nationalists. And one-third didn’t vote at all.
Her claim is further diluted by 25 per cent saying they voted tactically, including many incited to do so by the same Sturgeon assuring them their votes would not be claimed for either referendum or independence. Even by her own brazen standards, the volte face on that one has been spectacular.
On first-past-the-post, the Nationalists cleaned up. I have no complaint since the same system benefited Labour disproportionately for decades. To the victor the spoils and all that. But it is a mandate for nothing other than representation in the UK Parliament.
When David Cameron offered the 2014 referendum, the SNP had six Scottish seats at Westminster. There was no talk then of this negating a mandate. People vote for a multiplicity of reasons and even now, only a minority say they want another referendum in any timescale, far less 2020.
Cameron made a political judgment that the Scottish constitutional issue should be resolved once and for all – or at least, as promised repeatedly by Salmond and Sturgeon, for “once in a generation”. That is what any future decisions on referendums will flow from – political judgments not endless clamour based on assertions of mandate.
I have previously opined that if there is a pro-referendum majority at Holyrood after 2021, its view should be respected, just as Cameron did. The challenge for opposition parties between now and then is to make sure this does not happen – not to get drawn into pointless positioning on a demand that is going nowhere in the interim.
Meanwhile, every effort to falsify the narrative should be challenged. We are not victims. We are not “imprisoned”, as Ms Sturgeon, pictured left, asserts. On that score, she speaks only for her own psyche.
“The people of Scotland” are being denied nothing and I suspect a considerable majority, from all persuasions, would regard it as a blessed relief if Ms Sturgeon would turn down the volume and give it a rest. But then, what else would she talk about?
This week’s headlines remind us why she must remain a one-trick pony. Scotland’s railways – a shambles. Scotland’s ferries – £100 million or maybe a lot more down the drain. Scotland’s hospitals – a scathing report from the Auditor General. Scotland’s homeless – chaotic failure to deal with a crisis.
On my own home patch, the last of 140 jobs at Arnish went yesterday because of the Scottish Government’s utter ineptitude in failing to secure work from the offshore wind boom that has been coming down the tracks for a wasted decade. And so drearily on.
Once the immediate post-election clamour dies down, greater attention will be paid to such realities. As the newly resurrected Kenny MacAskill pointed out, there isn’t going to be Indyref2 “any time soon” while people are actually more interested in public services – most of which are heading in exactly the wrong direction.
We are being subjected to a phoney war in which nobody – including Ms Sturgeon – thinks there is going to be a referendum “any time soon”. So what is all the clamour about? Is there nothing more meaningful to use the Bute House podium for than to pursue what is really little more than a prolonged stunt?
More than half “the people of Scotland” want nothing to do with Ms Sturgeon’s agenda of constant division. They too deserve a podium.
THE BEST SCOTTISH POLITICAL PROGRAMME NEVER MADE
In the election aftermath, there have been the usual “behind the scenes” documentaries, offering insights into parties and campaigns, warts and all. It is a genre which has passed Scotland by.
Take the events leading to the election being called. On October 21st, MPs overwhelmingly rejected Boris Johnson’s ambition for an immediate General Election. Among those opposed were LibDems and Scottish Nationalists.
Johnson was stymied. Without a majority, he could not deliver a fateful outcome – departure from the EU. With an election, it was overwhelmingly likely (as subsequently proven) that he would win a majority and do what he liked.
Five days after Johnson had failed to persuade the House of Commons, there was a sensational development. The Liberal Democrats and SNP – ostensibly the two most anti-Brexit parties – had agreed to facilitate the election that Johnson craved. The rest is history.
So what is the particular Scottish interest? Well, rarely if ever have two female Scottish politicians been the major players in such a decisive moment in Britain’s political history. If it was a fictional scenario, there would be TV dramas written around it. But it was for real – so nothing!
Who came up with the idea? What was the reasoning? What were the lines of communication? Who, in both parties, were the doubters? Did anyone in the SNP believe the rubbish about “stopping Brexit” or see only opportunity on other fronts? Did anyone in the LibDems believe the rubbish about Jo Swinson becoming Prime Minister?
What a great Scottish story to put together in forensic detail – if only any Scottish programme-maker had the interest or imagination to do the job. Is it too late?