If Nicola Sturgeons leadership was a ship, this is where I think you’d need to place a serious eye on the lifeboats.
The First Minister may have started sailing with the wind blowing strong, confetti canons exploding all over in celebration at another long winded cruise around the sea of independence.
However it wasn’t long before there was a little bit of a side glance from her mates on deck at the choices for cabinet. It seemed her friends and loyal enablers would be the officers of the ship.
Naturally some people with actual talent were a little bit peeved. However this was only a small hole in the ship, perfectly manageable amounts of water would get in.
The legislation was light, there was no great hulking projects to the glitz and glamour for Sturgeon – she wasn’t a great fan of Alex Salmond’s grandee style – no more shiny objects such as building physical bridges, council tax freezes, prescription charge abolishments, or free tuition. No, this was the ‘mature, sensible, stable’ government who were going to improve outcomes for all. It just never delivered.
I suspect this is where the rather large hole appeared on the ship, Independence is and always has been about hope, and with none on the table – with a solid return to political weasel words – many just turned off while the Nicola Sturgeon leader-ship took on a lot more water.
The SNP MPs at Westminster who were not in the inner circle felt the disenchantment of the membership, who were nipping at them during branch meetings. Another hole in the ship – there’s a good few in the SNP MP contingent who are bored, waiting on an actual leader coming. The comfy ones are happy. The uncomfy ones need some challenge to face, it’s hard to be Stronger for Scotland when you’re stuck on the same record that you went in with.
In a ‘remarkable surprise’ to Nicola Sturgeon (leader of the Scottish Government), the Scottish Government would wage war on her immensely popular predecessor. Another massive hole in the ship. Alex is of course found not guilty.
Alas Nicola Sturgeon could ride on because covid press briefings afforded her an authority over the scared and compliant. Some cheap patching to the holes seeping water below.
It hasn’t lasted though, because rather than adapting, the Sturgeon ship plowed head on into the rocks before it. The opposition, the challengers, the first followers, the loyal – all warned – there is danger ahead – do not sail into it.
Another piece of poor legislation, the GRR bill, got battered through in the most demented way possible. No scope for listening to anyone. In week one, 9 of the SNP MSP group were ostracised from the larger group for noticing it really wasn’t good policy, and the following week a few sympathetic friends of the 9 got the silent treatment applied too. The holes are now impossible to keep a count of.
Nicola tries the old tactic of regular press briefings, rather than dealing with MPs, MSPs, Councillors or anyone of elected ilk. She attempts to woo the public back – because if her popularity can rise – the party will fall back into line.
It brutally fails when the journalists start asking why we are assigning rapists to women’s prisons.
Undeterred by the absolute chaos unfolding, the ship under several feet of water, the First Minister while under attack, decides that if you doubt her policies on gender – you might be a racist, or a transphobe or homophobe – or any really bad thing that sticks. Insulting massive amounts of the academics, journalists, researchers, scientist and the public.
Widely Nicola Sturgeon is mocked.
JK Rowling leads by highlighting the utter hypocrisy on display, and that’s when I think the ship may have crossed the point of having too much water.
The leader-ship of Nicola Sturgeon can only sail as long as belief still exists that the ship has not sunk. With the high water level of former party members, former first minister, aggrieved MPs, MSPs and councillors – it’s time to head for the lifeboats.
The ship has no destination, it has no goals and it has no plan. The ship is about to sink.