In this week’s Spectator Magazine, Alex Massie has a profile of Nicola Sturgeon. Being a Conservative Unionist publication, The Spectator has no love for the SNP. But there was grudging respect for the popularity of the First Minister of Scotland and her almost levels of Teflon. Nicola Sturgeon is seen by the public as the perfect counterweight to the blustering, bumbling Boris Johnston. From the article:

But in modern Scotland, relative success counts for more than absolute success. Sturgeon’s rave reviews come not just from fawning Nationalists but also from dismayed Unionists. ‘Nicola has been calm, authoritative and cautious throughout,’ says one senior Tory MSP. And his own party leader? ‘Boris has over-promised and under-delivered. He lacks the appearance of seriousness, to the point where he lacks the appearance of competence.’

Compared with the Prime Minister, Sturgeon enjoys very high approval ratings. Not only that, but many of those who do not agree with her still respect her. There is a 100-point differential between Sturgeon’s and Johnson’s approval ratings in Scotland. Hers is +49; his is -57. He is a liability for Unionists; she is the independence cause’s greatest strength.

Like Angela Merkel in Germany, the Scottish people like Nicola Sturgeon’s steady hand on the tiller. She provides a sense of calm and confidence amidst the chaos of and Brexit. In power since 2014, and with no major threats to her leadership on the horizon it is almost certain that she will lead Scotland into another referendum on Independence and this time she will likely win. Again from the article:

The frustration in Unionist circles is palpable. Many punches are thrown; none seems to land. Sometimes this frustration appears tinged with a shivering anticipation of grief to come. It is not difficult to find ardent Unionists who whisper that they think the United Kingdom has run its race. The precise timing of its formal dissolution may as yet be unknown but the direction of travel is impossible to ignore. A bell tolls, and it tolls for the United Kingdom. Of course, demographic trends do not guarantee particular outcomes. Nevertheless, two thirds of Scots under the age of 45 now say they back independence. A dozen opinion polls in recent months have each reported a majority in favour of independence. The trend is clear.

Scottish independence and the implosion of the UK has obvious repercussions for us. My prediction is we will be looking at a Border Poll around the same time as the next Scottish Referendum. All this is likely to happen within the next 5 to 10 years. We all need to start giving serious thought to how we navigate these choppy waters. More than ever we need calm pragmatic leadership on all sides.

Nicola Sturgeon, painted portrait _DDC0027” by Abode of Chaos is licensed under CC BY

Nicola Sturgeon, the Angela Merkel of UK politics…Nicola Sturgeon, the Angela Merkel of UK politics…

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