by Colin Campbell
NEW opinion polls show trust in Nicola Sturgeon is disintegrating and support for independence continues to tumble.
The latest to emerge revealed two thirds per cent of those surveyed believe she has not been truthful over the Alex Salmond affair. Backing for independence has fallen to 43 per cent, with 47 per cent opposing it. That left 10 per cent undecided. And as those in that category, according to well-established precedent, overwhelmingly opt for the status quo, this is very bad news for the independence movement indeed.
A jarring collision with reality is what nationalists need. In recent months we have witnessed an outpouring of triumphalist arrogance from them. The May elections would result in an overwhelming majority for the SNP and then it was straight on to another referendum, we were told, or warned. The oft-repeated mantra they adopted was that independence was now “the settled will of the Scottish people” and was “inevitable”.
It doesn’t seem quite so settled or inevitable now.
And the triumphalist arrogance has evaporated, being replaced on social media by frustrated soul searching from some, and viperish anger and abuse from others.
Sturgeon’s masterclass in evasion at the Salmond inquiry last Wednesday when she emoted, prevaricated, and forgot important detail failed to remove the spreading stain over her reputation for integrity. Many people had doubts about her integrity long before last Wednesday. Now it would appear these same doubts have emerged among many other people who up to now had some faith in her.
I still think her biggest mistake, a turning point, was her shocking announcement at the height of the pandemic that she was prepared to hold an illegal referendum.
That monumental misjudgement revealed – virus or no virus – what her true priority was, and is.
In the midst then of the worst health crisis for a century, it was inevitable that that would tarnish her image and reputation.
“I want to be straight with you Sturgeon” was indeed straight with people, and it may well have done her irreparable damage. And lying over the Salmond imbroglio has made the damage even worse.
Neither are the SNP/nationalists being helped by blowhards like Ian Blackford and Mike Russell still perpetuating the fantasy and the deception that another referendum could be held in a few months time. No rational person believes that. Their reasons for making these claims are not so much mystifying as incomprehensible.
There is nothing to celebrate about the country being so riven by division, which inevitably will get worse. But under sustained nationalist provocation, some people among “the silent majority” who crushed independence in 2014 have decided not to remain silent this time around.
A number of pro-Union groups and others describing themselves as anti-nationalist have been formed and they are making their presence felt, strongly challenging independence propaganda across social media and raising funds to make their opposition even more visible. Prominent signs with a “Sturgeon resign” message appeared in major cities at the weekend. That’s liable to be only the start.
In 2014 any visitor dropping in from Mars would have believed, given the way the Yes movement dominated the landscape with their flags, banners, marches and face paint, that a Yes victory then was a foregone conclusion. The silent majority remained in silent lockdown, only emerging on polling day to make their feelings known in the ballot booth. But this time a much more active and visible backlash against those who want independence at all and any cost – including complete economic ruin – is underway.
People have had enough of Sturgeon, Blackford, Russell and the other liars, chancers, political fraudsters and fantasists who are hellbent on dragging Scotland into poverty, misery and despair. They have hogged the limelight and tried to set the agenda for far too long, and their determined and resourceful opponents now believe enough is enough.