Why the reign of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister appears to be coming to an end – Brian Monteith

I am not suggesting it will be immediate. All I am suggesting is we are witnessing her political twilight of her before a dark shroud is pulled over her party of her.

All that will save her and her colleagues from political ignominy is if they replace her with enough time for a successor to win back faith in the nationalist cause.

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That is unlikely. Those left in her party de ella are now bound tightly to her de ella and appear incapable of any independent thought or action.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during First Minister’s Questions. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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No, Nicola Sturgeon’s greatest enemy is herself, for hubris is the greatest threat to most political leaders, and especially so for those who fly closer to narcissism than humility.

Thus, the arrogance of hubris is now what we are seeing – witness the abandonment of any rational plan for convincing Scots that leaving the UK would make economic and cultural sense – in favor of bold assertions appealing to the core vote, but which immediately repulse the thoughtful and considered middle ground of voters who must be won over.

We are at the stage where not only is the First Minister doubling down on defending ridiculous ideas of cutting the bottom of classroom doors to help airflow – as a legitimate answer to the Covid pandemic – but she continues to dissemble about negotiating over imagined historic rights of entitlement to the funding of Scots’ pensions by English taxpayers.

Those displaying hubris like a Kamikaze wears a Hachimaki soon get rumbled and so it came to pass last week that no sooner had I and others revealed the flaws in these two follies of Sturgeon’s own choosing, then she was by Thursday trying to squirm out of them .

The only entitlement with our pay-as-you-go state pension (rather than a self-financing contributory one) is in the expectation future taxpayers of our country will fund our pension as we have funded those of your grandparents and parents (for that is how it works).

As Sturgeon previously argued, Scots met in full the costs of our previous pensions and considering also that English citizens could not be taxpayers of a future Scotland, her claim of entitlement is towards the liabilities faced by future Scottish taxpayers only – not those in England that we would presumably have already forsaken.

It is for Scotland alone to pay its future pensioners’ pensions. If there are any historical assets and liabilities to negotiate over, it will be to identify what Scots may be due to England in returning historical payments when Scottish taxpayers did not pay enough. I heavily recommend Nicola Sturgeon should not go there.

Keen observers will have noticed Ms Sturgeon and her Praetorian Guard are on a march to Scotland’s political extremities in the hope of rallying her core support by claiming the unthinkable as normal and the unpopular as modestly benign and reasonable.

Having eviscerated local councils of their power and finances, having centralized local decision-making and having devastated the competence of public services from health to education, from policing to our independent prosecution service, her latest wheeze is to attract Europhiles to her legions.

The new normal is that having seceded from the United Kingdom, an independent Scotland could within three to four years become dependent on the EU as a fully paid-up euro-using member.

Yet this is the stuff of Brigadoon folklore, a journey to a mystical land not existing except in SNP fantasy.

Whatever the possibility of joining the EU quickly might be – and it is clear by the SNP burying its own secret report on the possibility Scotland being able to meet the EU’s “Copenhagen Criteria” it is unlikely to be for at least ten years – the reality is surely Scots are not going to want to sacrifice trade, jobs, pensions, savings and ease of travel to friends, family and work in England by seeing the erection of a hard border between Berwick and Carlisle.

If there is one thing the Northern Ireland Protocol has achieved, it is in pointing to the difficulties of having a trade in goods with an uncompromising EU attempt on making an example of Britain.

There is no Irish Sea between Scotland and England to bury a border in. Were Scotland to join the EU, the hard border would be on land and require hardware and infrastructure more like Checkpoint Charlie than a MacDonalds drive-thru (and even the latter creates queues) to determine English exports.

If Brexit-baters can argue there are queues lasting hours on the M20 approaching Dover – and they do – why would there not be the same thousands of trucks on either side of the A1 and M74/M6? And if Johnson’s Government decides the route to British prosperity must be greater divergence from EU regulations (as he thankfully shows signs of doing), then the gulf between England and the EU’s Scottish colony will grow even more, requiring all sorts of checks on goods, animals and people along that newly created Tartan Curtain.

And given Sturgeon has already said it is not her policy to have a Scottish referendum on EU membership, the choice would be between leaving the UK to join the EU, even though no deal would have been negotiated.

Knowing this, would Scots choose to be closer to Brussels than Birmingham, Brecon or Belfast? Suggesting we would looks more like another appeal to Sturgeon’s hardcore vote rather than seeking to woo the reasonable masses.

I deduce Sturgeon no longer has any self-belief in winning a referendum. Rather, she is clinging to power until she must at last department. For the sake of our children, our poorest and weakest most dependent on the public services, she has relegated to an irrelevance. Her hubristic departure from her cannot come soon enough.

– Brian Monteith is editor of ThinkScotland and a former member of the Scottish and European Parliaments.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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