NICOLA Sturgeon’s teary-eyed resignation speech tells us all we need to know about politics, the First Minister of Scotland, and the sad state of the country she has helped run into the ground.
We were exposed to the SNP sun god in all her scarlet-suited splendour talking about what she holds most dear – Nicola. What a lot about Nicola: me, me, me. Her steadfast heart and absolute dedication to the cause of the people – independence – since she was 16 years old, and her steady rise through the ranks of the talking shop that is Scottish politics. She detailed her successes and the positive legacy she leaves for other people to ‘judge’.
She regaled the audience at Bute House with her tortuous reasoning: fabricated nonsense about how difficult it is to be a leader in today’s highly personalised and polarised politics that she herself helped to create. She has been at the top for so long and given so much that she is now ready to make the sacrifice to allow the lesser planets in her orbit to demonstrate their talents, and for her to spend more time with her relatives. God help us all.
Nicola reminded us of her successes in making Scotland a fairer and more equal society. Somewhere in her head she believes that a country with a long-failed health service for which she was once Health Minister, the worst Covid outcomes in the UK, and one of the highest excess death rates is what we deserve: we remain the dismal drugs death champion of Europe and have drastically poor health outcomes on almost every measure.
She would have us believe, too, that the Scottish education attainment gap is ‘on course’ (for what? one asks) as standards of numeracy and literacy have fallen so far that the country has removed itself from published league tables of comparative performance for fear of shame. Violence in schools is a running sore. University access is predicated on social engineering rather than merit. ‘Baby Boxes’ and poor-quality childcare provision are ‘transformational’ she claims, as levels of child deprivation and poverty persist and more and more children are caught up in the criminal justice system.
Nicola’s country is falling apart: island ferries are undelivered; the justice system is staggering; there are accusations of police failures of racism and sexism; record numbers of male criminals identifying as women; dangerous roads threaten life and limb; there are formal police investigations into SNP funding and the role of her beloved husband (‘her rock’) in questionable donations; in Govan, the heart of her own constituency, drugs, people trafficking and the sex trade are a constant threat to the population. At the Scottish Parliament, on and on they chatter with neither the collective will nor wit to deal with the real problems facing the country.
Politically, of course, the people ‘love her’, she tells us, and many will be disturbed about her ‘leaving so soon’, or at all. The captured media are already claiming that she is a political titan, bedazzled by her nous and her unusual capacity to deliver a complete, albeit often opaque sentence. There is no doubt that she is a big fish in a little puddle, bullying and haranguing the lacklustre SNP incompetents that surround her (‘SNP talent’, according to Nicola).
Surely though, the SNP is an electoral success? Well, no, what Scots voters and others fail to see is that the SNP’s hold on power is predicated on an opaque and undemocratic voting system designed by Donald Dewar to create a new way of ‘doing politics’ and avoid one party holding power – a singular failure. Most of the electorate is disenfranchised, few vote, and power lies with party bureaucrats who decide which candidates get allocated seats on the basis of ‘list votes’. Sturgeon came to power on that basis. Her recent alliance with the Greens (working hard to immiserate us further) is testimony to the fact that their democratic hold is parlous. Nicola describes their dark engagement as a ‘thoroughly good thing’.
For those of you who are nasty, uncaring bigots, it was not the Gender Recognition Act, blocked by Mr Sunak and rejected absolutely by the ignorant Scottish public that did for plucky Nicola; that was the ‘right thing to do’, and ‘feminist’ that she is, she will continue to support it until everyone sees its value.
Our Nicola isn’t going away though, until of course a world agency calls. There will be the usual Scottish educational sinecure, non-executive directorships, and book deals. She will continue to pursue her passion for independence and work hard for a more rational, less fractious form of public discourse. Will we ever see her likes again? Let’s hope not.