INVERNESS NEWS AND VIEWS COMMENT
WHEN Nicola Sturgeon speaks of “the Tories” she positively brims over with loathing, contempt and disgust. She spits out the words….the Tories. Neither have we ever heard her taking the time and trouble to point out that in her diatribes she’s referring to Boris Johnson and the Tory party elite, rather than ordinary Scots voters who have a different outlook to her, if that’s indeed the case. In other words, she’s viciously insulting a large chunk – around 30 per cent – of the electorate.
And what is their reaction as the hours fall away to the election? The latest polls show support for the Conservatives in Scotland is surging, with the latest one putting them only 10 points behind the SNP. That’s what happens when you spit in people’s faces. They don’t cower away into retreat. They react, aggressively.
Sturgeon’s serial insults have actively encouraged people to oppose the SNP. Many of those who vote Tory on Thursday may not be all that impressed by “Boris”, but they are a damn sight less impressed by Nicola Sturgeon and her relentless abuse, and will turn out and make their mark in the ballot box accordingly.
Those who argue she’s much more of a liability for the nationalists now than an asset are right. She’s also a terrible politician, and getting worse at each election. If the SNP – as expected – win a majority of seats in Scotland tomorrow it will be despite Nicola Sturgeon rather than because of her.
Who in their right mind would think it’s a doorstep vote winner to be arguing not for one but for TWO referendums next year, one on Brexit and one on independence? It’s such an obvious turn-off to everyone apart from nationalist diehards that it barely needs serious consideration. But Nicola Sturgeon believed people – the “undecideds” – would be in favour of it. And now that she’s very belatedly getting immensely negative feedback she’s in headlong retreat trying until the very last minute to downplay her “indyref2020” slogan.
And from the beginning of the campaign, as we’ve said here before, she has been front and centre outlining the demands she’ll make to put Jeremy Corbyn in No. 10, not theoretically, but almost as if the election had already taken place.
Not only has she fouled her own nest but hopefully she’s played a key role in dooming Corbyn to defeat as well. Did it never occur to her that flaunting the prospect of a Labour-SNP alliance would go down very badly with many voters in England, who would recoil at the thought of a small number of Scots MPs known for nothing other than despising Westminister holding the whip hand?
Obviously she thought she could personally charm them into thinking differently. There was a time, several years ago, when Sturgeon did indeed possess televisual charm. But the endless grievance-mongering and perpetual scrunched-up whingeing have taken their toll on that.
Before an election political leaders invariably downplay expectations to lessen the impact of potential disappointment. Not Sturgeon. She was more than happy to play up the assertion that the SNP were heading for a landslide. Again, as we’ve already said here, she sounded cocksure and arrogant, and appeared to be taking the voters for granted. The “landslide” bravado has now vanished, but the strong whiff of arrogance remains.
She retains her devoted admirers in nationalist ranks, who can’t see past her, and certainly not see through her. But what has she achieved as their leader? You could make Donald Trump, the Krankies or a monkey on a bar stool leader of the SNP and 40 per cent of the electorate would still vote for them.
One thing of course is an absolute certainty about this election. Almost as soon as the result has been anounced Sturgeon will proclaim it a triumph and declare that she’s “speaking for Scotland”.
The hope must be that this rings more hollow than ever. No matter how many seats the SNP win, if they gain only around 40 per cent of the vote a clear majority of Scots will have voted against them.
Boris Johnson, if he is elected Prime Minister with an overall majority, is firmly on the record as saying he will not give permission for another independence referendum under any circumstances, and he’ll have a cast-iron mandate to do so. Whatever misgivings linger on about elements of his past life, that’s one pledge he can be relied on to fulfil.
This would, of course, see the nationalists’ outrage-ometer going right off the scale. Sturgeon, using her new favourite word, has repeatedly said this stance would be “unsustainable”.
It will seem perfectly sustainable to Boris Johnson and a majority of people in Scotland. All he’ll have to do is to break off from his other duties to say to Sturgeon, no, no, and no again.
There’s talk of a court challenge against such a stance. And Boris Johnson won’t be shaking in his shoes over that prospect either.
Of course we cannot fall into the trap Sturgeon already seems to have blundered into by making any assumptions about the election outcome.
All many of us can do is fervently hope that a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance does not become a reality.
A clear Tory majority will bring certainty and clarity to the future, something we’ve been desperately in need of over the past three years. Johnson will secure a deal on Brexit and obliterate the threat of another independence referendum for at least the next five years.
Boris Johnson as Prime Minister is not an ideal scenario for many north of the border, but it’s a lot better than the TWO referendums ambition of Sturgeon backed by Corbyn within the next 12 months, which is almost too horrific to contemplate.
It won’t be long now until we know the outcome. It will be an extraordinarily tense day ahead. The belief has to be that that the wizened old beardie with his hundreds of billions in unaffordable giveaways will not fool enough of the electorate, and that Sturgeon has contributed enough to screw up their joint ambitions as well.
Sturgeon and the SNP in helpless, clueless turmoil, and for the rest of us five long years with not a chance of another independence referendum.
That would be a very good start to Friday the 13th.