by Colin Campbell
AS Nicola Sturgeon begins to run out of “phases” in which she’ll “allow” people to do things, she’s exercising her autocracy in a new way.
She’s started banning individual football matches.
Because a few Aberdeen players broke her rules on socialising, and one Celtic player did the same, the scheduled game between them is off.
Queen Nicola has decreed it.
The Scottish tabloids yesterday had pictures of her ostentatiously “showing football the yellow card”. And next time she’s warned that it would be “the red card”.
Which presumably means football, only just restarted, could be suspended again.
And all because half a dozen footballers didn’t obey the coronavirus rules.
What’s most astonishing of all is that the football authorities have supinely accepted this, issuing grovelling apologies to Sturgeon and virtually begging to be given the chance to do better.
The once-rugged, gritty sport of Alex Ferguson, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly now seems to be run and managed by a bunch of powder-puffs eager to lick Nicola’s high-heeled shoes.
What happened at Aberdeen FC and Celtic FC was dealt with within the clubs and the players faced the wrath of management, and no doubt were heavily fined. That should have been an end to the matter. Sturgeon deciding that she also had to intervene by way of a public announcement was as risible as it was pathetic and power-crazed.
The nats are fond of making negative comparisons between Sturgeon and Boris Johnson. Well, can you imagine what would happen if the Prime Minister tried to intervene in similar circumstances and tried to ban a match between Arsenal and Liverpool or Chelsea and Manchester United?
I’ve little or no doubt that there would be polite discussions in which the underlying message to him would be – get stuffed. Not due to a lack of respect. But just because heads of government don’t and never have tried to intervene in the football fixture list on a match by match basis. It’s considered beneath them and not worthy of the attention of the office they hold.
But not in Scotland under the reign of Queen Nicola. She is prepared to intervene and dictate on every aspect of human activity. It’s the Bute House equivalent of telling you to get off a park bench.
Of course the fact that this diverted attention from the ongoing exams grading shambles would not have upset her in the least. But that may not even have been the reason for her doing it.
This taste for ordering people around and telling them what they can and can’t do in the most specific terms isn’t something that’s fading as virus infections fall away, it seems to be growing on her.
She’s running out of other ways to boss people around so now she’s poking her nose into football. “I don’t want Celtic v Aberdeen to go ahead and it won’t, because I’m banning it!”
And she gets away with it in modern-day Scotland.
There’s only one word to describe this level of micro-managed dictatorship. It’s chilling.