by Colin Campbell
HAVING begun to doubt the existence of the much vaunted “Book of Speeches” by Nicola Sturgeon, having never seen a copy in any bookstore, I finally came across one in Waterstones in Inverness.
This laid to rest one of my doubts, the other relating to the supposed “million copies” of an independence sheet by the SNP and the National and that we were told were being distributed to households across Scotland, north, south, east and west, which no one I know anywhere has ever set eyes on.
Sturgeon’s tome priced at £15.99 was in the half price section. Don’t buy it there, even though Waterstones is a good bookshop. It will soon be available in Poundland for a quid, and next in some charity shop for 20p. The only thing that would be fascinating to know about “Women Hold Up Half The Sky” is how many copies have been sold at the full price.
Will we ever find out, or like so much else about Sturgeon, will it remain cloaked in secrecy?
Although why anyone would want to spend even twenty pence in a charity shop on this worthless dross is beyond all comprehension.
It was published by Sandstone Press, owned by an ardent SNP supporter, nationalist and Nicola fan, Robert Davidson, whose Inverness based firm, according to reports, has received a very substantial amount of public money. There has been some controversy over this, covered in previous articles.
I did not ask Waterstones how many copies have been sold because they wouldn’t have told me, but you’d almost literally have to be out of your mind to spend sixteen pounds on this.
If, however, you are a fervent nationalist who has given a moment’s thought to doing so, the chances are you’re halfway there already.
After a windy, worshipful introduction by author and nationalist fanatic Val MacDermid, the rest is what it says on the cover: Sturgeon speech after speech after speech.
How wonderful it is to be here today….
What a delightful occasion this is for us all…
How pleased and proud I am to be here today to address you…
Has Sturgeon ever made a memorable or worthwhile speech in her life, other than those scattered between 2017 and now announcing another referendum every year? Or in more recent times, the arrival of another lockdown?
And is it even Sturgeon’s words we’re talking about? Or were many of those speeches written for her by speechwriters, with her making a few alterations in the margins?
Was any fact checking done to separate truth in this tome from fiction? Then again, what brand of nat would ever dare challenge a word uttered or written by Queen Nicola?
As I looked through it her speeches seemed as dull as ditchwater, with nothing memorable or notable about any of them. Have any gone down in Scottish folklore? Were any memorable in any way?
She’ll be coming out with another speech next week, or the week after, available for free if you can be bothered reading it, on the BBC website.
Why would anyone, even the most fanatically devoted member of the cult, spend £16 on her selected “speeches of the past”?
Of course that’s just my view. I’ve no doubt some of the more literary minded cult followers will buy it and consider that, behind the Bible, it’s the most wonderful book ever written.
Or in some cases Jesus will have to take second place.
Now if it was a biography of Sturgeon, written by someone as incisive as Tom Bower, delivering a full account of all the murk, scandal, lies, hypocrisy, manipulation and mendacity surrounding her, well that would be worth buying.
But we’re not there yet. Some day, I hope we will be. And sooner rather than later.
I remember the Sunday afternoon a few years ago when Alex Salmond in his heyday came up here for a book signing at Waterstones. There was a 200 yards long queue throughout the afternoon to meet and greet him upstairs in the store. As I noted at the time, virtually everyone who emerged from the store was clutching a copy of his book and had a broad smile on their face.
It wouldn’t happen now, even if he was giving away books for free.
The founder of the Alba Party cuts such a sorry, discredited figure. His party received only one per cent of the vote in last May’s Holyrood elections. But he did those opposed to the ruinous break-up of the UK one great favour. Part of his campaign theme was that nationalists “should take to the streets” in the event of a Section 30 order for another referendum being denied by Westminster.
It will be denied. And the fractional support for Alba ensures there will be no “taking to the streets”.
If Sturgeon succeeds in ripping apart the UK she will go down as one of – if not the – most significant figure in Scottish history.
But no matter how many speeches she makes, that’s not going to happen.
By the end of next year when there’s no referendum or any hope of one, and her followers realise she’s been conning them all along, she is likely to be driven out of office by them with the ferocity of spurned lovers.
Her exalted speeches on sale just now will be forgotten and in a few years time she will be forgotten. Ending up not as a Scottish legend, but either as a token figurehead in some public organisation, or as a reclusive, bitter, shrivelled old crone.
Addition: I don’t go to Waterstones and other shops in the Eastgate Centre as much as I used to because of the rule that you have to wear a mask inside it at all times. Now that the threat of the virus is rapidly fading, as Sturgeon herself has indicated, shouldn’t this be reviewed, with the mask requirement being limited to when you are inside a shop? This would give those of us who hate wearing the things a break when we are out on the concourse, rather than being forced to leave the centre earlier than we’d wish to so we can properly breathe again. Sturgeon’s remaining draconian rules should be examined to see if they are all necessary, rather than being carelessly left in place. Waterstones and every other store in the centre would gain more trade – and every customer counts – if the mask rule there was modified.