Many columnists still insist that Nicola Sturgeon is a “formidable politician”, says Simon Heffer in The Sunday Telegraph. But for all the spin, Scotland’s First Minister has a “pitiful record”. She presides over Europe’s highest rate of drug deaths, with fatalities more than tripling since the SNP came to power. Scotland’s failing health service “makes England’s appear a paragon of efficiency”; standards in schools are “so execrable” that the SNP has withdrawn from international league tables. Sturgeon refuses to build nuclear power stations or develop new oil fields despite energy shortages. And her “Orwellian approach” to hate speech – criminalising remarks made in one’s own home – has riled even her own MSPs.
It’s no wonder she “seeks a diversion” by demanding a second independence referendum. But her mission is doomed to fail. The Supreme Court rubbished her claim that Scotland is an “oppressed colony”, quite rightly, as “absurd”. Like Donald Trump, the “delusional” Sturgeon cannot accept defeat. She is instead insisting that the next general election will be a “de facto” referendum. That’s a “dangerous tactic”. Recent polls show Labour could win a dozen or more seats in Scotland, and given Keir Starmer’s determination not to go down as “the man who wrecked the union”, any deal with the SNP is off the table. The truth is, all but a shrinking bunch of “republican fanatics” realise independence would mean nothing but more years of poverty under Sturgeon. The Supreme Court didn’t sign the Scottish leader’s “political death warrant”; her “repeated failures” mean she has done that herself.