Published on 8 Apr 2015

Nicola Sturgeon: for many Scots, the SNP leader can do no wrong

I am in Aberdeen for the second Scottish party leaders’ debate. Last night’s was quite fiery. Labour say they felt that they  started getting some scrutiny on the SNP’s voting record. The SNP feel they made Jim Murphy look awkward discarding their ever so helpful offer of support. Jim Murphy would see that generous offer as the equivalent of kicking Labour so badly to the ground in Scotland that it can barely reach out its arm to be helped back to its feet.

Aberdeen is hurting right now. The oil industry that supports it has squeezed down with the oil price plummet. Oil and projected tax revenues from oil were at the centre of the SNP’s independence sell last year. Many at the time including the IFS said the yes camp projections for tax revenues were hugely inflated. I put it to Nicola Sturgeon she’d been selling Scotland a false prospectus but the first minister insisted land would make up any shortfall.

Passers-by who stopped to spectate the Nicola Sturgeon photo op in Aberdeen town centre told me it didn’t matter if the numbers didn’t add up, the point was anything was better than corrupt, horrible Westminster.

I asked Nicola Sturgeon about her refusal in last night’s debate to rule out an early  second referendum. She had promised in the campaign that it would be a generation before Scotland voted again (helpfully she spelt out last year that was 15 years). Last night she was jeered when she refused to rule out another one quite soon.

But again, when I spoke to folk in Aberdeen town centre about the broken vow, for want of a better phrase, they couldn’t care less. “So what?” was the gist.

Jim Callaghan famously talked  about a political “sea change” in 1979 and sensing he was on the wrong side of one. But Labour in 1979 went down across the whole of the UK by not many more seats (50) than they stand to lose this year in Scotland alone.

Labour MPs fighting for their political lives in once safe seats say there are glimmers of hope in a small number of constituencies. I’m used to hearing politicians over-state their confidence and I’m not sure I wasn’t hearing just that. Talk for longer and you sense they barely sense glacial change in their direction.

One Labour MP talked of how some voters had got their anger with Labour off their chests and might now listen. He recalled rants he’d been subjected to about how there wouldn’t be a Tory government ever again if people like him hadn’t voted no.

You almost feel the SNP leader, for many, can do no wrong. Quite a few voters say they prefer her to Alex Salmond. She has arrived in the top job with perfect timing and it would seem, for many Scots, perfect casting.

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7 reader comments

  1. Alistair Macdonald says:

    Any links or sources to back up your claim that Sturgeon “promised” there would not be another referendum in a generation? Specifically to the promise element of your claim.

  2. steviep says:

    Finally! A political reporter who may have just seen the light.
    Those of us who will be voting for the SNP at this general election DON’T CARE if the Labour party, Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP, the London City bankers, middle England, the EU, MI5 or Her Majesty the queen don’t like it.
    The parties of Westminster (the blue Tories and the red Tories) have, for generations, played pass-the-parcel with power and taken it in turns to ignore, ruin, abuse and steal from the people of Scotland.
    They’ve all just spent the last two years telling us how much they love us, begging us to stay within the United Kingdom’s “family of nations,” and encouraging us to embrace and be a part of the strong, established Westminster system of government.
    Well, get ready to suck it up, people, because here we come.
    Only it’s different this time round, isn’t it?
    This time, it’s not the (third biggest party) Lib Dems who are going to impose yet another (unwanted) Tory government on Scotland, it’s going to be the (third biggest party) SNP, imposing a Labour government on England – with Nicola Sturgeon pulling red Ed’s strings.
    Get used to it, people. We’re coming, in droves, whether you like it or not.
    How do you like us now? :-)

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      If it is correct that ‘we’re coming, in droves’, will you have the stamina to get beyond Derby?

  3. Donald McNicholl says:

    Why should Nicola Sturgeon have to answer any question about another referendum? She’s leader of the SNP, a party devoted to the idea of Scotland being independent of the rUK, and if the opportunity arises again, sooner rather than later, we should only be surprised if she and the SNP don’t take it. Du-uh!

  4. Andrew Dundas says:

    Sturgeon is not the leader of the SNP’s Westminster Party: Alec Salmond is.

    Salmond/Sturgeon/Swinney offer false promises to Scots. They know there is no autonomy within the EU for the smaller States, AND that our off-shore oil industry depends crucially on the Arab controlled OPEC cartel.

    Sturgeon mis-represents herself as the Leader of the Westminster Party. The Media – including Channel 4 – are willing parties to that deceit. It’s time C4 looked into the mess they’ve created in Scotland: a litter of deliberate deceits from ‘local income tax’ to Scottish autonomy within a powerful currency union. And ‘unique permission’ to discriminate against Scotland’s neighbours and our most important customers.

    They won’t use the taxation powers they’re demanding the English pay to set up. Its all a delusion.

  5. george sutherland says:

    Mr Dundas seems totally confused. Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of the SNP. Stewart Hosie is the Deputy Leader. There is currently no leader of the SNP Westminster Parliamentary Group – as there are no MPS currently, but Alex Salmond has already stated that he will not be challenging for the leadership of the SNP Parliamentary Group – if he gets elected – and has already indicated his support for the leader prior to the elections, namely Angus Robertson

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      George, there are six MPs at Westminster.

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