by Colin Campbell
NICOLA Sturgeon said this week that there wasn’t “an anti-English bone in her body” after sustained criticism that elements within the SNP have innate hostility to the English not only in their bone structure but coursing through their veins.
Ms Sturgeon’s claim about her personal mindset should be accepted. As far as I’m aware, no-one has accused her of being “anti-English”.
But by focusing on her own attitudes, she was dodging the main issue.
It’s not are feelings but her actions which are under critical scrutiny.
And in particular her unfailing tendency to pander to those among her supporters who are “anti-English” – or worse – to the core.
The most recent example of that was her warning that people from England may be subjected to quarantining at the border. That is not going to happen. It is entirely unenforceable and is probably illegal. But that’s barely worth considering. English people are not going to be “quarantined” at the border, not this week, not this month, not ever. Period.
So why say it?
Because it’s the kind of thing anti-English nationalists – and they spew evidence of their feelings all over social media – want to hear.
Nicola Sturgeon depends on these people for their support, particularly when she has come under constant criticism for her “failure to deliver” indyref2.
She made a statement like that to curry favour with them. And it generated a response when a noisy rabble descended on the border displaying “you’re not welcome” signs aimed at English people who had the audacity to drive into part of the country they live in.
The same goes for Ross MP and Westminster leader Ian Blackford when he enthusiastically endorsed a border sign which had been doctored to say: “We’re shut f*** off.”
Blackford probably has no anti-English feelings. As a rich former Edinburgh banker, he’ll have done business with many English people. But again, he was all too eager to pander to and stir up anti-English hostility among “the base”.
It would not be in Nicola Sturgeon’s interests to display a scintilla of anti-English sentiment. Because when she quits as First Minister as a result of ongoing failure to deliver another referendum – and that could be as early as next year – England is probably where she’ll be headed next.
A natural and gifted communicator, she may already have her eye – like her predecessor Alex Salmond – on the lucrative world of television.
“The Nicola Sturgeon Chat Show” is never going to a possibility north of the border, but in the south TV doors could be thrown open to her for some highly paid screen role.
And before that happens her tone will change significantly. She’ll not restrict herself to denying she dislikes English people.
She’ll be quietly spreading the message that she actually rather adores them.