Why Nicola’s meeting with Boris has shown she’s lost her way…and her grip of the electorate.
The Prime Minister's meeting with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, reveals just how out of touch Sturgeon is with her Scottish electorate, argues Scotland Analyst Matt Lomax.
Nicola Sturgeon welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Bute House with as much warmth as she could muster. Lips pursed, eyes rigid on the floor and half a handshake against a backdrop of angry SNP activists and the Scottish press.
There was a serious element to their meeting, of course. Not the devoted Nicola fans booing Johnson as he approached Bute House; rather, the stand-off between two nationalists. Only one of them will get their own way in this fight, and it’s not Nicola Sturgeon.
‘Boris is pursuing a 'no-deal' Brexit because that is the logic of the hardline position that he has taken. That would be very dangerous for Scotland,’ she said, with no irony at all.
Certainly, there are genuine and profound worries about what a Brexit on WTO terms would actually look like. Questions on trade, tariffs, the flow of people across our borders, the all-important Northern Irish issue and much more have been weighing the government down like an anchor for the last three years.
Nicola has tried to use all of these issues to further her separatist agenda but three years on from the referendum, she’s tired, out of ideas and facing pressure from her voters to set a date for Indyref2.
With the Tories' majority hanging on my a thread in Parliament and an anti-Semitic Labour party destroying itself from within, she should have all the ingredients she needs to save Scotland from the dead-hand of Westminster. Her sword and shield are out and she’s mounting a horse, like a scene from Braveheart.
Only she’s not really. She isn’t doing anything at all. Nicola Sturgeon is no longer a participant in Brexit; she’s merely an observer. Her meeting with Boris not only proved that but her comments afterwards to the press showed she had no power whatsoever to stop Johnson in his tracks.
Without a majority in the Scottish Parliament and a party weakened by infighting, the SNP are seeing the beginning of the end of Sturgeonmania. Long gone are the days of selfies with Nicola, as political reality has scorned her leadership. Lacklustre NHS, education standards slipping and the recent news that 1,200 drug addicts lost their lives last year, after SNP cuts began to bite.
Sturgeon is too busy keeping her head above water to focus on Boris, her escape from the misery being daily tweets about the nasty Tories and feeling comforted by a few thousand retweets.
Back in the real world, she’s thinking about life outside politics, and the future of her own party. Right now, she’s frankly lost, and without ideas of what comes next. The UK is leaving the European Union. And so is Scotland, whether she likes it or not.
Analyst Views is a series of opinion pieces written by Blue Beyond analysts. Matt splits his time between Skye and the West Midlands, and has a keen interest in farming, fisheries and hiking.