29 February 2016

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are desperate for attention in the EU referendum


I’m supposed to be on leave this week, so this is the last thing I’ll say for now about the EU referendum. With the world collapsing, the future of the EU up for grabs, a migrant emergency and Donald Trump in the lead for the Republican nomination, it must be hard getting attention right now outside Scotland if you are a Scottish political party that has grown used to masses of publicity. Now that party, the SNP, finds itself looking a bit inconsequential when people are talking about all that other big ticket stuff. Which leaves the SNP needing to find a way to make a noise, any noise, and to put itself into the story of the day.

The intervention to that end of the SNP’s leader and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is absolutely hilarious. She has a good sense of humour so even she must recognise the irony of her lecturing David Cameron about his conduct during the EU referendum, as she did in a speech in London today.

Cameron should not run “Project Fear” over the EU vote, she said. He should be upbeat, civic and joyous at all times, she said, or something like that. To which Cameron’s response in the Glaswegian vernacular should be: “Stroll on.”

It was the SNP and Sturgeon who made their final push in the referendum on the NHS in Scotland, with preposterous warnings about the only way to prevent all doctors and nurses being fired, and to stop Scotland being returned to the dark ages with only those in the Edinburgh New Town able to afford medical care, was to vote for independence in the referendum. That wasn’t Project Fear. It was the SNP’s Project Garbage. Note, I haven’t even mentioned the oil price this time, where it turns out the concerns of the Unionists during the referendum were valid (and the rest).

She also said in her speech today that the Scottish referendum had created “a thriving democratic debate” in Scotland, which is certainly one way of putting it. Voters had become “truly engaged in the issues,” she claimed. Some Nationalists became so “truly engaged” during the Independence referendum that they marched on the BBC’s headquarters and demanded the firing of journalists they didn’t like.

In more SNP news, read this about the latest scheme by the government in Edinburgh. The Named Person law covering children is one of the most profoundly sinister and misguided pieces of legislation enacted in these islands in the modern era. It is an assault on freedom and the family, and represents an incursion by the government in the private sphere that borders on the chilling. As my friend Kenny Farquharson of The Times put it the other day: why isn’t this an enormous story? Indeed. It should be.

Iain Martin is the Editor of CapX