9 May 2015

Nicola Sturgeon: my 56 MPs will fight to end austerity

Corny as hell, contrived, cheesy – yes, all of the above. And yet when you actually get up close to the Forth railway bridge, all that drains away.

The SNP machine is nothing if not slick. Hi-vizzers out early doing the parking (and letting us sneak in into the double yellow by that posh Jag – thanks).

Bacon butty and square sausage man was there with coffee and tea – all free.

The stage, thought out: wide area for the 56, the forward areas for Nicola Sturgeon – even miniature Jagger-esque platforms for extended selfie work should Nicola Queen of Scots want to get nearer the crowd.

And along the road they came with mates and rellies, a Salmond among them hi-fiving toddlers on front of our camera then joking to me: “There’ll be a few surprises in Westminster.”

Presumably he will make sure the Queen of Scots gets a pre-briefing and Alex doesn’t go all off-piste down in Westminster. There is an energetic MSM waiting to have a feeding-frenzy over all that.

Assembled onstage, 54 of the 56, two on islands and unable to make it I was told.

Nicola Sturgeon repeated that countering austerity was “the number one” party priority. No, London -“independence” and “referendum” were not mentioned in her speech that I can recall.

Then babies were picked up, there was waving and thumbs up from every conceivable angle for the photographers – even the rain held off.

Mhairi Black, at 20, the youngest parliamentarian in centuries, as many of them head to London soon for their Monday morning induction process.

“I’m studying politics so that’s quite relevant,” she tells me. “Who’s teaching who?” I ask her.

Rather more seriously, she has no doubts about the expectations raised for the SNP by their über-landslide and for her. In politics nearly all careers end in crash-and-burn, of course.

But for now, below the Forth railway bridge, just for a moment it was all about symbolism in front of the ultimate monument to trustworthiness, service and durability.

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