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Selling the jersey

How much worse does it have to get?

Thursday, May 9, 2024
3 mins

Atlantic Crossing

by Rab Clark

This link is to a June 11th 2015 interview with Nicola Sturgeon at the Council on Foreign Relations (in Washington or New York, we're not sure which).

We're not expecting anyone to sit through the hour-plus recording. The first fifteen minutes consists of the First Minister introducing herself, explaining the constitutional structure of the United Kingdom and why why Brexit would be bad for Scotland.

The rest of the hour covers a predictable range of then-current concerns, some raised via questions from the audience.

A Conversation With Nicola Sturgeon - YouTube

The reason we're posting this is because it's easy to forget how high Sturgeon's profile became in the wake of the 2014 referendum. This was only nine months later.

She looks relaxed and confident, handles all of the questions well and projects a positive picture of Scotland as a good place to live and work, somewhere to invest in and be proud of.

But the overarching message was one of reassurance.

'Don't worry: Scotland, if it ever does become independent, won't be a problem. NATO membership will be pursued. Any Scottish defence forces would work in tandem with the rUK forces. Scotland is on the same page as London when it comes to Ukraine and will be a responsible member of 'the international community'. Fiscal control, the currency to be used, the managed decline of North Sea oil/gas, immigration. None of these will present problems for an independent Scotland but there is no immediate prospect of another referendum anyway so just chill.'

We believe that to be a fair summary of her contribution to the event.

Now imagine Swinney appearing at a similar event next month, next year...

What sort of picture could he truthfully paint?

What sort of questioning would he face?

What form of reassurance could he provide?

Sturgeon has been reduced to attending community-centre fundraising events, drawing raffle tickets with half-an-eye on the exit lest members of the disgruntled audience of pensioners start giving her a hard time. And she still has further - much further - to fall.

Whatever happened between June 2015 and the now-infamous meetings with Theresa May may never be known, perhaps released in redacted form long after most of us are dead. But we can see the consequences: a governing party viewed with suspicion and contempt by the majority of the people it is meant to serve; serious criminal charges looming; real 'conspiracies' set to be exposed in detail; yet another 'continuity' figure installed as First Minister, and perhaps most tragic and damaging of all, a rudderless independence movement now divided and embittered.

The idea that this figure still has any influence whatsoever over the governance of the nation seems barely credible and yet the ham-fisted installation of Swinney as FM has her fingerprints all over it.

What on earth has to happen before we can be sure she's really 'gone'?

Some look at Sturgeon now and still see the self-assured figure from that video.

And it is those people - i.e. the diehard Sturgeonites - who now present the greatest threat not only to independence but to whatever credibility the Scottish parliament itself still has.

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