by Colin Campbell
NICOLA Sturgeon was swanning around Iceland last week before making a speech on “the climate crisis” in advance of the COP26 summit to be held in Glasgow in three weeks time.
This was also, no doubt, an attempt to cement relations with the “Nordic Circle” of nations which the SNP nationalists dream of joining in the boundless prosperity league, post independence.
Scotland would become a brother, or sister, or gender neutral equivalent of Norway, per head of population the richest country in the world. All that’s necessary is for Sturgeon, trainee accountant Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and co to wrest the “financial levers” from Westminster, utilise the talents of our unmatched Scottish workforce in the proper way, convert our European record total of drug addicts into productive members of society, and the milk and honey floodgates would open wide.
And, talking of floodgates, reopen our borders to unrestricted freedom of movement and allow an endless number of “new Scots” to pour in from poorer countries – although there might not be many of those still in that category – and bring back the days when bosses were able to pick and choose from an endless supply of cheap labour and could treat workers pretty much any way they liked. And if you were an actual Scot, as opposed to a new one, your chances of getting a job in the first place would be drastically reduced.
Sturgeon and the nats have a thing about using small countries, Norway and New Zealand being their favourites, as shining examples of what Scotland could become.
The popularity of their ultimate heroine, NZ leader Jacinda Arden, has however slipped of late as plague evidence grows that she got her virus tactics badly wrong and vaccination levels are at a dismally low level.
And what of Iceland, another small country Queen Nicola admires so much? They did get through the virus quite well and didn’t need to be bailed out by billions in furlough money from any next door neighbour. But Iceland is a quite remote island in a very different geographical situation from Scotland. Although in these parts if we’d just have been able to keep all those damn English out everything would of course have been fine.
What we hear less about from Sturgeon or others among her most fervent supporters, such as an old hack called Lesley Riddoch dubbed “The Nordic Princess”, who has glorified Iceland in short films, is the extreme difficulties small countries have gone through too. With no partner in Union on hand to offer limitless support.
In 2008 following the financial crisis Iceland went bankrupt. There are numerous accounts of it online. Banks collapsed, people lost all their savings, mortgages doubled, more people left the country than in 100 years, and a programme of austerity which makes the Universal Credit change look like a household windfall was introduced.
I don’t pretend to understand all the technical details of what happened. But neither, I strongly suspect, do Sturgeon or her “more, more, more” trainee accountant Finance Secretary.
Will those who attend the Cop summit in Glasgow, including former President Obama, be treated to a tour of the housing estates of Glasgow, packed with less than analytical SNP supporters who believe their benefits would soar following independence? I suspect not.
A tour of the outer suburbs of Oslo would be altogether more congenial.
Sturgeon will be jockeying for position with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Glasgow summit in trying to present herself as some kind of international leader. If she is left out of anything nats will howl with outrage.
This is her showpiece event. Her obscure Iceland visit was her preparatory trip.
The good news at least to some extent is that Sturgeon these days cares primarily about self-promotion, presumably to secure a top job on her departure, and as for that forlorn “indyref2” hope, well, as even many of her now lukewarm supporters grumblingly acknowledge, that seems more distant than ever.