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Nicola Sturgeon’s canny doom-mongering The SNP has taken advantage of coronavirus to further its nationalist cause — and all Britons will pay the price

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon wears a Tartan face mask as she visits New Look at Ford Kinaird Retail Park in Edinburgh on June 26, 2020, as Scotland prepares for a further loosening of the COVID-19 lockdown, easing travel restrictions and allowing the re-opening of retailers. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon wears a Tartan face mask as she visits New Look at Ford Kinaird Retail Park in Edinburgh on June 26, 2020, as Scotland prepares for a further loosening of the COVID-19 lockdown, easing travel restrictions and allowing the re-opening of retailers. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


August 7, 2020   5 mins

There is a type of Scot who enjoys nothing more in life than the opportunity to impart bad news. The words that come from their mouth may carry tales of the most appalling woe, but inside they are beaming.

Who knows where it comes from, this trait? Most likely some hangover of Presbyterianism, an ultra form of that puritanism which H.L. Mencken summarised as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”. Scottish joy at the opportunity to impart bad news is some extension of this: the knowledge that someone, somewhere, may have been happy and that the universe has finally made them pay for it.

The thought recurred to me as I watched Nicola Sturgeon addressing the Scottish people on Wednesday night about a fresh outbreak of coronavirus in her native land. The tableau was almost perfect in its grimness. The Scottish First Minister stood at the podium with a black background. Slightly off to one side behind her was a woman who was signing, not deemed necessary on all political occasions and adding to the solemnity of the event. Nor did it help that the signer was wearing dark clothes, so that her alabaster-white arms and face were the only things flashing out from the pitch-black. If this tableau had been given a paint name it would have been “Banquo’s ghost”.

Mrs Sturgeon’s words, too, were of the darkest hue. ‘This virus hasn’t gone away,” she began: “If you doubted that then today we have evidence of how true that is. It is still out there. And it is still highly infectious. And it is still highly dangerous. The outbreak in Aberdeen is a sharp reminder of that. It shows what can happen if we let our guard drop. And it should serve as a warning to all of us.”

Using the language of fires, firewalls and firefighters, Sturgeon warned: “Our job as citizens, as human beings, is to try to make sure that the fires don’t start in the first place.”

Always good to hear a politician to remind us that we are human beings.

Of course, to hear this talk you would think that the Scottish people are dropping dead at an even faster rate than usual. As it happens a certain level of panic should exist in the voices of Scotland’s politicians at all times: life expectancy in Glasgow, for instance, is the lowest (for men and women) in the whole of the UK. During the years of SNP rule life expectancy in parts of the country, such as Dundee, has actually fallen, a phenomenon rarely seen in modern times outside of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

But for the SNP to address such problems on their watch would be to take some responsibility, and Scottish Nationalists like Nicola Sturgeon never take responsibility. Not when there is “Westminster” to blame, and the opportunity to grandstand by issuing the direst imaginable warnings.

Yet what was striking about Sturgeon’s words were not just how grim, but how misleading they were. True, the general public in Scotland might have got used to being mislead by Ms Sturgeon, but even by her own standards, Wednesday’s doom-mongering was extreme. Her words about the lockdown in Aberdeen suggested that the city and wider country was facing a death toll on a gargantuan scale. The figures say something very different.

The fact is that there have been exactly zero confirmed Covid-related deaths in Scotland over the last three weeks, an astounding figure. Meanwhile what non-public sector employment exists in Scotland has been decimated, as everywhere, by this shutdown, a shutdown that we are told is crucial in order to save lives.

It is a shutdown that has become contestable as more and more evidence emerges, but what is not contestable is that what remains of the private sector will be unable to survive repeated shutdowns of the kind now being imposed. To imagine that they could is to engage in the economics of fantasyland in a country already used to consuming several economic fantasies each day before breakfast.

The lockdown announced in Aberdeen is a consequence of exactly 18 new corona cases, including 13 linked to a single pub. This tiny number of cases is the justification for Nicola Sturgeon to quarantine an entire city, a quarter of a million inhabitants who are now once again forbidden to enter each other’s houses, forbidden to go to restaurants or pubs, and forbidden to travel for any purposes other than work.

Of course all of this could be seen as a terrific and necessary precaution. Or it could — and perhaps should — be seen as a wild and politically-driven over-reaction. Here is displayed a strange dynamic, which is not peculiar to Scotland, but is certainly epitomised in the place — ultra-caution on the part of the politicians for reasons that do not directly have any bearing on the case at hand.

It now seems clear that the total shutdown of the UK that started in March was primarily put in place in order to stop the embarrassment of the National Health Service being overwhelmed by corona cases; specifically to avoid similar scenes to those emerging out of northern Italian hospitals. Underneath this ultra-caution another dynamic existed, which was the decision that the NHS could not be put under such strain during the time of a Tory government.

For years the Conservative Party has been pushing back at Labour efforts to portray them as in some ways callous or uncaring towards the NHS (or even seeking to privatise it). While never sincere and never less than cynical, still the Conservatives deeply feared this line of attack, and worried that Italian hospital-like scenes would offer their domestic political opponents a weapon for many years to come.

A similar dynamic is seen in Scotland. The SNP exists for a single purpose — to remain in government, to be seen as ultra-competent in the tasks of government and from there to be able next time (whenever that might be) to persuade the Scottish electorate that a one-party state ruled forever by the Scots Nationalists will be a land of milk and honey. Or oil and whisky. Whatever your poison is. That is now, as it always has been, the sole ambition of the SNP. Anything that deviates from that goal is of no interest to them.

So how to explain Wednesday’s speech? Simply that Nicola Sturgeon would rather do anything — including shutting down the Scottish private sector, such as it is — than have another coronavirus death on her watch. This isn’t because of the extreme and unusual “compassion” of the Scottish people that the SNP claims exists (in fact we Scots are at least as bloody and vengeful a people as any) but rather because Sturgeon knows that if her own mortality figures come out any worse than England’s then she and her fellow Nationalists may be held responsible for the fact.

Just as if the death tolls in England turn out higher than those in Scotland, then Sturgeon and co will highlight this as yet one more example of “foreign” malfeasance and incompetence which only highlights the case for independence. Of course, happily for them the SNP can further wreck and immiserate the Scottish economy, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to continue relying on the support and largesse of taxpayers in the South-East of England.

So it is that after weeks of zero deaths Sturgeon stands in front of the Scottish people and warns them of fires, and gloom and doom and the importance of taking action “as human beings” to avert a catastrophe that was in fact averted weeks if not months ago. Shutting down Aberdeen for a dozen cases of corona portrays Sturgeon as a strong but determined leader.

When the financial consequences of her decision hit then she can portray them as further evidence of how much better off the Scots would be without the English yoke. The grim warnings Sturgeon issued on Wednesday will have given her the greatest possible satisfaction. Not just because she is a Scot, but because she is a Scots Nationalist who knows that everything — including the worst possible catastrophe — can all be made to work very happily in her own favour.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Sturgeon is a truly, truly horrible and deceitful person even by the standards of politicians, with the standards of Scottish politicians being particularly and egregiously low at the best of times. But she is staggeringly successful, despite having delivered nothing but disastrous outcomes across the economy, education and health. In this sense she is a perfect symbol of our age.

That aside this article contained two fascinating facts. One, that there have been no C19 deaths in Scotland for three weeks and two, that life expectancy in Dundee has declined during Sturgeon’s reign.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Sturgeon is successful because the Scottish electorate are idiots.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Sturgeon is not a success. She is only portrayed as a success by a progressive media because she is a champion of socialism and the New World Order

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
3 years ago

I think your assessment is spot on. She is the darling of the ‘establishment’ commentators and no negative comments are made. In Scotland, the one party system ensures positivity through exclusion of contradictory views and the use of patronage.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

True and it is shame that a plurality of political views is not represented.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

It is the same with Mr Drakeford in Wales. The devotion and reverence with which he is treated on all stations and channels has to be heard to be believed. Another nasty piece of work too.

Antiunionism is all the rage in the media as Unionism is thought to be Conservative.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago

Spot on….:)

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

The Scottish media is to a large extent hollowed out, withoutreal resources to hold her to account, and the UK (London) media, especially broadcast, views her entirely through the framing of Brexit as a useful whinge creation instrument that they can then use to berate the UK govt with.
In a sense the way the UK based broadcast media have viewed Scotland has been profoundly patronising…far worse than the reality of the way the UK govt view and treat with it.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Sturgeon is incredibly successful – consistently re-elected and riding high in the polls. If you are a politician this is the only measure that matters. The fact that you are three times more likely to die in a Scottish hospital than you are in an English hospital, or that Scottish kids continue to fall down the international educational tables, is of no consequence.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

She stood for several elections (fptp) and lost every single one of them. Every time there was a clear choice she lost – even her Govan seat in 1999 where she only elected due to the “list” after losing the election.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

You are a absolutely correct, a catalogue of defeats. Thank you for exposing this extraordinary state of affairs.

I suspect Fraser and I have not been paying attention, to put it mildly.

iain.swan
iain.swan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Furthermore, in the only Holyrood election in which she was S.N.P. leader she managed to lose the majority Salmond won in 2011 and had to stitch up a shabby deal with the Greens.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  iain.swan

In 2017…when the Tories were crumbling in the *Theresa may Strong and Stable* election, the SNP share of the vote in Scotland was 38%, and Alex salmond, Angus Robertson et al, lost seats.

In every campaign since 2014 Nicola Sturgeon has been very explicit in saying that a vote for her/The SNP was definitely not a vote for inde, or a 2nd referendum…and even with that caveat, and after a Brexit decision that was unpopular in Scotland, she still oversaw a campaign that left her party at 38%.

Her campaign slogan was *Stop Brexit*, and the last week of the December campaigning was spent in a very large yellow bus with the slogan *Stop Brexit* painted on the side (ironically), and no mention of independence.

Nicola sturgeon realises that as soon as independence is mentioned and the focus is thrown unequivocally on that issue, and her government’s lamentable record across many areas (possibly the most damaging has been the collapse of the previously laudable Scottish eductaion system…Sturgeon 2015 *Judge me on education* has become an albatross around her neck) her vote is liable to fall again.

One more fall like 2017 and the inde cause goes the way of Quebec, it is over for a true generation or more, and becomes an interesting footnote in future history.

I am glad that at last UK journalists like Douglas Murray (and you!) but more importantly news desks and news conferences at TV stations are beginning to properly question the realities of both Nicola Sturgeon’s record and expose the chasm between her presentationist style of politics and the disaster inde would be in reality for Scotland.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

True. Perception is everything in politics, or so it seems.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I would not agree that narrow definition of success…Mussolini made the trains run on time but still ended up hanging upside down from a lamppost less than a decade later.

(and for any hard of thinking that may come across this response..I am not advocating or expecting any similar fate for anyone..)

Salmond was also lauded as incredibly successful in very similar terms before the 2014 ref, but he now grubs money on Putin’s propoganda TV channel and had to besmirch his own reputation, confessing to coervive and sleazy behaviours with junior staff, in his own mitigation testimony to persuade the jury that while his nehaviour had been poor it had not reached the bar of criminality.

The go to text is probably *You can fool some of the people…..*

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

So what are the Tories so shit at getting the Scottish people to see things your way?

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

So why are the Tories so terrible at getting the Scottish people to see things your way?

Andrew Anderson
Andrew Anderson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser, can you give me the source for “three times more likely”?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Too true.
There must something seriously wrong with ‘wee little Scotland’, that so many are prepared to vote for such a demented Gorgon.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I suppose so many broad-minded, intelligent, productive people have been leaving for centuries that it is beginning to show.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Correct.

As Dr Samuel Johnson so eloquently said ” the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!”

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago

And to beat Boris over the head with. You would never think Scottish nursing homes have the highest death rate in Europe or that her testing is abysmally low and that she couldn’t supply PPE.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago

New World Order? Grow up.

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

Well, there’s nothing really ‘new’ about it. It’s the same old Marxist claptrap that’s been mucking up the world for over a century.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Hi there. Regular Unherd reader here. Also Scottish, from Glasgow. You’re perfectly entitled to critique Scottish politics of course, even though I rather get the sense you know next to nothing about it. Maybe just have a think how it would sound to you, however, if whatever electorate you happen to be part of were described as “idiots” en masse. Hardly an edifying contribution my friend. Perhaps you assumed none of us Scottish “idiots” would ever bother reading Unherd.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

I don’t think many of us agree with that, in any case. As a rule, the Scots are nobody’s fools. However, Sturgeon does have a peculiar Svengali-like quality and even many of the clever and canny Scots have fallen for her tricks.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

And to be fair, here in the US half the populace thinks the other half are idiots for electing Obama twice, while many Obama voters think
Trump voters are idiots (and evil too). This is a problem across liberal democracies apparently

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago

Yeah, I get that. And for what it’s worth I cringe when I hear the standard bromide among clueless left-wing non-Americans insisting that Americans are dumb because they voted for Donald Trump (I hope you don’t think me rude repeating it; I’m sure you’ve heard it before). In both cases there’s a straightforward ignorance of the country’s internal politics and conditions. I’m wary of the Sturge, and of the SNP, but I voted Yes in the independence referendum with trepidation. There are complex reasons for having done so, and that goes for many Scots.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

I am often thankful that as a non-American I did not have to decide between voting for Trump and voting for Mrs Clinton, and I feel the same about the choice between Trump and Biden.

I have, however, read several times that significant numbers of floating voters (or whatever you call them over there) happily voted twice for Obama, and subsequently for Trump. The picture is never as simple as some would have you believe.

rumianaberger12
rumianaberger12
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

I’m not a feminist either. I’m referring to “Mrs. Clinton” as opposed to “Ms” (which is also OK).

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Completely agree. Commentators love a good pigeon hole. People of all parts of society are not remotely as simplistic as they are assumed, unlike those doing the judging it seems.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

Why did they vote for Trump?

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago

You’d be far better finding several different Trump voters and asking them. Which was kind of my point in mentioning it.

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

In part because Hillary Clinton was one of the worst candidates the Democrat party has put forward in ages.

Sue Williams
Sue Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  aelf

It’s even more sad then, that with four years to up their game, all the Democrats have managed to pull out of the bag is Joe Biden.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

It’s called robust discussion, and you won’t find it in China or Russia.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago

You really think a cretin like Trump is comparable to Obama?

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

Well, Obama was effective . . . at undermining & demoralising the country he was elected to lead.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

I’ve been waiting for Unherd/Disqus to put through a new comment of mine on this article for nearly 24 hours now. I’m a little tired of checking so with apologies I’m just copying it here:

“As it happens a certain level of panic should exist in the voices of
Scotland’s politicians at all times: life expectancy in Glasgow, for
instance, is the lowest (for men and women) in the whole of the UK.
During the years of SNP rule life expectancy in parts of the country,
such as Dundee, has actually fallen, a phenomenon rarely seen in modern times outside of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

I like Douglas Murray, but this is a fairly silly argument. Firstly, he
must know by reputation Glasgow’s long-term terrible health issues and health culture; they long pre-date the SNP’s ascendancy.

Secondly, I’m no statistician but the briefest of online searches brought me a haul of articles talking about falling life expectancy in many places in the UK including England. Here are a few:

https://news.sky.com/story/

https://www.thenorthernecho

Other articles report “only” stalling LE in many parts of England with falling LE elsewhere in the UK including Wales. Either way, the LE picture is arguably not so good in the UK as a whole is it?

None of this validates the SNPs coronavirus strategy or Sturgeon’s character, but it betrays a degree of hysteria about the SNP which always pops its head up in this context.

scottsofardlair
scottsofardlair
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

Hello Pal,

I too share the same domicile as you.

I don’t think anyone on here thinks you’re an idiot. Maybe with one exception.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Sturgeon does quite well for a variety of reasons – unfortunately none of them actual competency.

If you ignore the content of what she says, she comes across as articulate and doesn’t pull punches (like many ‘populists’). Although still most certainly a bit of an oddball, she generally comes across as more normal than a lot of our other politicians at present, certainly in the soundbites we get on TV/news.

It’s more an indictment of the competition i feel.

Andrew Eccles
Andrew Eccles
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

I’m a non-nationalist, non-idiot Scot (but thanks anyway for the generalisation) who looks at the mendacious clowns in the the UK governing class (thus Dom can be included) looking after their own ilk (PPE contracts? HoL appointments?) in the midst of a public health crisis. I’m rather glad to be north of the border, faults and all, and all the more cheerful for it.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

No, that isn’t true. The Scottish electorate are very far from being idiots, but even the very intelligent (which many Scots are) can be deceived by someone like Sturgeon. She is nothing if not persuasive and single-minded.

Elaine Willock
Elaine Willock
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Being a member of the Electorate would just like say we are not ALL idiots but I do take your point as for months now I have felt I might just be from a different planet ! Fortunately, some seem to be awakening from the lockdown slumber albeit not quickly enough ! Hopefully more will see through this self absorbed strategist woman!

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Funny. Isn’t that exactly what most Unherd commenters accuse Remoaners of saying about people who voted Brexit and Democrats about Trump voters? Perhaps all voters are gullible idiots who are inevitably swayed by the dreaded MSM, unless of course they agree with your own poliitical views, in whch case they are model citizens who weigh up all the pros and cons and come to the correct decision.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Yes that’s the way to keep your precious union intact. Spew hatred and insults at the Scottish people

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

This from someone who’s been spewing hatred & insults at the U.S. & its citizens.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

I’m Scottish myself so…

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Since she was Salmonds right hand troll I’ve never been able to see a picture of it without my skin crawling. Nothing to do with politics it’s just the self righteousness and dark piggy eyes! Even with a mask on it’s no improvement!

scottsofardlair
scottsofardlair
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The statement that there have been no C19 deaths in Scotland for three weeks is smoke and mirrors and very far from reality.

https://www.spectator.co.uk

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

In the over five years from week one 2015 to week 52 2019..the mortality rate per 100,000 people in Glasgow was higher than London’s in 260 weeks out of 260 weeks.

This year, in the 24 weeks from January to July 20th London’s death rate was higher than Glasgow in a couple of weeks around the hieght of Covid-19, though they were not consecutive weeks,, with Glasgow being higher for the other 22 weeks.

Taken with the astonishing fact about Dundee, and the jaw dropping one that Scotland has THREE times as many drug deaths as the UK, this demonstratesthat Nicola Sturgeon has not handled the Covid-19 crisis as well as she makes out…and she and the SNP can’t even handle ordinary life and non-crisis healthcare as well as the UK, or indeed most places in the developed world.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

But she is staggeringly successful

… in the eyes of a rather undiscerning audience

David Pitt
David Pitt
3 years ago

In the late 1950’s my father advised me to never follow a political party with the word “National” within its title. I suspect he took that viewpoint after having to spend an extremely scary year trundling across Europe to suppress one.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  David Pitt

That’s worth remembering. I shall. Thank you!

pedanticjase
pedanticjase
3 years ago
Reply to  David Pitt

Amazing Godwin’s law, right at the top of the comment section. It hardly takes any time at all these days.

Hope you’re taking his advice on smoking and the use of asbestos as a insulation in wall cavities.

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago
Reply to  pedanticjase

Prat

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Tye

Oh dear. Someone didn’t Read their Comment Policy before commenting.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Tye

I dare you make the comparison SNP = Nazi to actual victim of Nazism you clown

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

The SNP are a one issue party and all decisions (political, personal and operational) are taken from the perspective of that single issue. You can see that position at work in this decision and announcement, in legislation proposed by their administration (eg the new blasphemy law is a woke response to curb free speech which will be useful to silence opposition) and in the behaviour of Ian Blackford in the HoC when he takes every word and action by others as if its a personal attack on “the people of Scotland”.

The SNP see grievance and distrust of others as a key strategic element to their plans and they, like all strains of nationalism, are excellent at fomenting it and don’t care about the consequences.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Ian “the people of Scotland” Blackford is incredibly annoying, even by the normal standards of the SNP jockinjays.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Excellent post. I love to see Ian Blackford in action in the HoC. He is like a terrier and it always looks as if he is about to bite someone!

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Would the unionists do well to go flat out against the new hate legislation?

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Flat out no, selective yes. The government need to take a couple of very selective actions to protect themselves. I suspect the SNP will use the legislation flat out against the government and Scottish Tories in an attempt silence opposition. One of the key elements is to show that a woke SNP government is not in tune with the majority of the population.

scottsofardlair
scottsofardlair
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

I think the SNP has started to fragment with Alyn Smith, Joanna Cherry and a few others realising that Sturgeon is happy with the status quo, her place in the Privvy council and her unusual relationship with her ‘husband’ as CEO of the party being challenged as never before.

I forgot to mention the Salmondgate Holyrood enquiry, which already is looking very challenging for the entire SG.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Let’s hope so. Nationalism needs defeated!

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

The unionist side are starting to organise outside party lines, simply because the structure of politics in Scotland now has become quasi sectarian, with a republican, Irish facing mainly Strathclyde(Glasgow) faction, represented by the SNP (and Greens , who seem in Scotland to have abandoned ecological and envirimentalism..a great advocate during Mr Salmond’s oil money fuelled campaign , for Scottish Oil, was old *Patrick *Fossil Fuel* Harvie, who like many separatists seems to have a lifetime place in his party).

The union vote splits have repeatedly allowed the SNP to present as having momentum by picking up seats where the actual supporting vote is far below 40%.

It’s a shame but the decsent into polarised politics is a direct result of the way the SNP refused from the first minute to accept the 2014 vote as decisive or even legitimate.

They are not really near breaking up the UK but have broken up Scotland..there are movements in many regions to refuse any referendum ever unless it includes provisions for regions to vote to remain in the UK.

Certainly in the Border counties Stranraer across to the East Coast, Orkney and Shetland, and other areas. IN many places people view SNP rule from the Central belt far more suspiciously than the UK Govt.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

Thanks for that, very interesting

andrewbrowne3912
andrewbrowne3912
3 years ago

Nicola Sturgeon – very similar tactics to Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill. Blame everybody else for everything – preferably the “English”. Michelle recently clamed that her job (and that of Sinn Fein) was saving lives”. Given that Sinn Fein / IRA killed more people than the army, UDR, police, police reserves, loyalist terrorists, and Corona Virus all put together, her change of policy is welcome!

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago

As many as died in 9/11 – and in a province of one and half million souls.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

The SNP should change their name to the
SEUP (Scottish European Union party) because how can you say you want Independence but then want to be an EU colony?
Next time let the whole of britian vote on a Scottish referendum and they will be gone in a heartbeat

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

They will be gone in a Braveheartbeat.

But yes, I agree, and I’ve been saying that for a long time. Give me a vote on Scottish independence and I might actually vote on something for the first time in 20 years.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Beware of getting what you want. You also want Germans, French, Belgians etc voting on whether we can leave the EU?

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

Why should they?
It’s was never up to them, they are not part of our United history but Scotland and England have been together for 300 years.
Massive difference but I am sure you know that?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

“Bought and sold for English gold”, as Robbie Burns so succinctly put it, a century after the event.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Or perhaps, Small Nation Paranoia.

jrogerfranklin
jrogerfranklin
3 years ago

Re the joy in relating bad news, think Fraser from Dad’s Army.

As to the intelligence or otherwise of the Scots, I can only go on the specimens we shipped out here to Australia as ten-pound imports. Whenever there was industrial trouble, count on some or other Scottish shop steward to go before the cameras and insist that a beer strike at Christmas, a petrol strike strike at Easter or a strike for any reason at any time was an essential act of defiance against the capitalist oppression of the ruling class.

On the whole we’ve been better served by the Italians, whose women don’t have those annoying freckles, don’t turn red as their hair at the slightest touch of sun and are better cooks, and the Greeks, who have an instinctive aversion to paying tax.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  jrogerfranklin

Oi! You saying we Greeks don’t pay our taxes? Just a minute while I hide this cash under the mattress. A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse…

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  jrogerfranklin

Wodehouse: ‘It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.’

scottsofardlair
scottsofardlair
3 years ago

‘There are few more impressive sights than a Scotsman on the make’

James M Barrie (author of Peter Pan and one of Mark Twain’s favourite writers)

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago

As an Englishman, I don’t particularly begrudge the £200 a year I ‘contribute’ to Scotland’s finances and if there were (another) referendum that decided on Jocksit, I’d wish them goodbye and good luck (they’ll be needing a great deal of that). But I would challenge the standfirst of “all Britons will pay the price” by quoting the wise words of Deep Thought when faced with a strike by philosophers: “Whom will that inconvenience?”

I’d be £200 a year better off, the endless whingeing about evil Sassenachs would cease, and the only problem would be the thousands pouring south across the border fleeing the Zimbabwefication of their country under the Scottish National Party (presumably to be rebranded as the Scottish Socialist Party).

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Apparently, on Jocxit, there will be a massive wave of English remainers flocking to Scotland so they can still be part of the EU without all that bothering to learn another language that moving to the actual EU would entail. That’s assuming an independent Scotland are allowed to join the bloc. So no need to come to England, half of England will be coming to you.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Scottish National Socialist Party, would be apposite.

Dutton
Dutton
3 years ago

This article completely misses the point: this isn’t about politics – Nicola is following the Science! Haven’t you been listening to Devi Sridhar? You do realise that she’s a Professor don’t you? With a long track record in – oh hang on a minute – what’s Health Politics? Is that even a thing?

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Dutton

The science is not clear or unanimous on almost any measure at present – so appeals to that are pretty foolish I am afraid. She’s following some scientists who think a certain way. Plenty think the opposite too.

Fact remains that this is still a new disease, and its effect on society coupled with the effects that any remedial actions will have both short and longer term are completely unclear. But to do anything proactive (and necessary), policy is being made up as we go along.

That’s not a criticism but a statement of fact.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Any government facing this pandemic would have to make it up as it goes along. The trick is not to look as if you’re making it up as you go along. The current Westminster government fails that test, and Mrs Sturgeon is notorious for passing it by adopting measures ever so subtly different from those south of the border, and then claiming (or letting her vocal supporters claim for her) that the lower death toll in Scotland is purely because of her decisions, and nothing to do with relative population densities.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Yes agreed!

Elaine Willock
Elaine Willock
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

And little to do with fact either

facebook11
facebook11
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Would you agree that results speak for themselves?

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  facebook11

In reference to what specifically? Sorry might be being slow.

Andrew Eccles
Andrew Eccles
3 years ago
Reply to  Dutton

Professor of Global Public Health.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

The SNP are neither Scottish (the ludicrous “civic nationalism’, aka Jock Tamson’s bairns), National (desperate to ponce off Brussels instead of London), nor a Party – Sturgeon “no minutes for any meetings” basically runs it as her private fiefdom.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

And their jumped up toon cooncil isn’t a government.

Mark Stone
Mark Stone
3 years ago

Excellent summary of the shrieker’s mandate we now have. I’m certain the BojoCummings team will be spending their lives working this situation to their advantage. The “work – dont wont – work at home – wear a mask – work in work – wear wellies” blurted messages are all part of the good news for everyone. Sturgeon has a much easier job – just do better then Boris. She has an audience who will love it. And enough hypochondriacs who will react accordingly.

The collateral damage – working people, businesses, school children, normal life, democracy??? As long as these power brokers retain power at any price. We live in a scary time!

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

Jockenfreude

Olaf Felts
Olaf Felts
3 years ago

Probably the most divisive set of comments I have yet to read on UnHerd. As good an indication of the toxic nature of Scottish politics. The inevitable victims will be the people of Scotland. I’m half Scottish and Swedish with a Scottish wife and we live in England. My mother-in-law now refuses to visit her homeland as she is disgusted at what she sees as a betrayal by the Scottish people of the largess and love of the rest of the UK (as she sees and experiences it). My parents were both raised in England, South Shields and Stevenage. We did have a holiday home in Scotland which we have now sold. We do no longer feel comfortable visiting there. But then we have English accents – mind my wife’s old accent emerges if she over does the wine! People with Scottish roots exiles from their own land? That’s the problem with this – I have more Scottish relatives in England than Scotland! Talk about a journey into the absurd. What does Scottish independence actually mean and from what? Becoming more European? Alienating more people with Scottish roots in England than actually live in Scotland? Any mention of the SNP and I’m pulling my mother-in-law from the ceiling – in her heavy Scots brogue she’ll spit comments like ‘the English have welcomed me here, I never had a single negative comment about my roots, and that lot are just peddling hate and stupidity and my people are falling for it!’

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Olaf Felts

You are certainly right about divisive comments. Perhaps I have missed some that would explain your reaction, because the toxicity I’m seeing is from people with a serious axe to grind against Scotland and Scottish politics. I can’t really see how you can claim it’s the other way around in THIS thread. Not that there hasn’t been obnoxious toxic behaviour elsewhere on the part of “Cybernats” for sure. Like Brexit, it got ugly on all sides.

But regardless of how the Scottish independence story proceeds from here, there are many Scots and many English (a silent majority, I would be so bold as to claim) for whom all this heat and rancour is decidedly ridiculous. I am Scottish and live in Scotland; my wife is half English, we are surrounded by English neighbours and friends. We all get on and understand our shared history, and it would hardly occur to any of us to do otherwise. It’s really no big deal.

Olaf Felts
Olaf Felts
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

Just reflecting on the nature of the debate generated by the SNP. No big deal? Perhaps all about perceptions, but we have certainly experienced anti English reaction last year which led to us selling our holiday home. It was sad and not isolated. Maybe we were unlucky. No axe to grind with Scotland, with Scottish politics, yes. Why? Because all this heat and rancour is decidedly ridiculous. Sort of feel we agree Jack, just reversed living circumstances!

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Olaf Felts

Everywhere has its idiots blighting the landscape. If you’ve experienced openly anti-English sentiment that’s awful, and yes it may just have been your luck. I can only speak for my own area / friends / circles / family but anti-Englishness is just not an acceptable or common thing, and I have good reason to believe that baseline is replicated in much of the country. I seriously doubt any real nastiness goes beyond isolated pockets.

I can speak to this tension a little more: back around the time of the referendum I was taken aback by my English mum-in-law’s reactions to it all. When I admitted with as much tact as I could manage that I had voted Yes (as had my half-English wife who was able to vote – I also personally know several other English people who voted Yes) she was obviously deeply hurt. She pretended it was all a laugh and that she was only teasing me, but I could tell her only way of comprehending it was as an anti-English thing and not, as I tried to explain, about Scotland getting its own house in order.

There’s a lot of that going on here I think: assumption of anti-Englishness when for most folk that has nothing to do with it. I’m not talking about the SNP’s tactics in Westminster – honestly, how else can they approach the issue given their goals? If I lived in England I’d probably be sick of them too.

So in my view blaming the divisiveness on the SNP is shooting the messenger.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

“no big deal”? It is a HUGE deal. I for one didn’t feel safe putting a “no” banner outside my window at the time of the referendum (and despite I live in a clearly “No” area) and I doubt I would feel comfortable now.
I have lived in Scotland for over 20 years and I have seen how anti-English sentiment has changed from quaint banter to “anything goes”. If some of the stuff I read or hear were said about, say, trans people the jails would be overflowing.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

If you’ll re-read my comment you’ll see I was talking about everyday divisiveness (or lack of) amongst Scots and English living together in Scotland, not the low-resolution nonsense online at the time of the referendum or whenever the issue comes up.

As for what you read and hear now and what if it were about trans…yeah yeah…honestly, do you not think the exact same goes for anti-Scottish diatribe? Including arguably some of the stuff on this thread?

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

“trans people”

I think they’re Kilts.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

I reckon the SNP is both a symptom and a cause of a lack of Scottish faith in the UK government – or Westminster as Sturgeon deliberately calls it to focus on London and England and deflect focus from the Union as a whole.

Disillusion with politicians is generally widespread, and the SNP stir that division relentlessly, applying a deliberately England/London focus on it – indeed it’s their reason to exist after all to split.

You’re probably right that the silent majority of English think it’s ridiculous, but the longer it goes on, the greater the division. For many in England now, the only time that Scotland really appears on their radar will be Sturgeon and the SNP grumbling about England. More and more people will start to agree and actively think “sod it – b****r off then” if that is the main message they hear.

Shame

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I think you’re largely spot on here. And it is a shame yes, which is why I am trying to emphasise that silent majority understanding of what’s really at stake. I can easily understand how the SNP’s tactics would start to grate very quickly south of the border; but that’s what they are: tactics. It’s when people pretend that many in Scotland haven’t then voted tactically and supported the SNP as a calculation, that we’re all mindlessly crushed under a fanatical one-party state yada yada that I get miffed.

John Vaughan
John Vaughan
3 years ago

Hi from West Yorkshire where I am just about to leave for Inverness with my eldest grandson. Last time I looked it was part of the United Kingdom and I have been going there for 8 decades, as I have to Pembroke and other parts of our wonderful country. I don’t usually pack an ice axe in August but am this time just in case some seedie weegie tries to stop me crossing some imaginary line. A student from Guangzhou once asked me if I was English. I replied thus: “I am sorry, I don’t understand the question.”

i.morse
i.morse
3 years ago

The BBC have played a role in this by attacking the UK government on Cummings & the Coronavirus while barely interrogating the SNP in London and Scotland. Most Scots get their news from the UK media but their sentiment from social media. This has swayed some votes from being Unionist to (in polls) endorsing the SNP .

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago
Reply to  i.morse

Yes let’s blame the BBC for this because of course they did such a great job of trying to get the country to reject Brexit. Perhaps instead they really are an impartial news broadcaster as opposed to stooges of the metropolitan liberal elite that supposedly run this country. But then again without this mythical elite Unherd would not have an audience to play to.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Sturgeon Is a dictator,especially sinister ”Monitoring of Parents” Covering up Salmonds’ ‘Sexual piccadellos” Real death rate in Scottish care homes, Gathering Scottish debt,Allowing EU to fish in Scottish Waters to the detriment of Scottish Fishermen…Like MOST modern politicians,Boris, Theresa,John,Dave,Keir,ed etc she is vacuous hypocritical

Elaine Willock
Elaine Willock
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

You missed out Derek McKay who continues on the payroll with no work! Oh maybe he was furloughed! SNP are corrupt

David Hutchison
David Hutchison
3 years ago

We would be better off without constant
moaning

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago

Spot on, but as Boris has become a born again socialist telling people to wear a face nappy and what to eat they will soon become great friends

Gary Johnston
Gary Johnston
3 years ago

Murray has his figures wrong. When he went to press, there were 79 new corona cases in Aberdeen – and rising. Not 18 as he suggests – less than a quarter of the true figure!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Johnston

Golly gosh! Panic!

Aberdeen is a city of about two hundred thousand souls. 79 cases of C-19 and rising. It’s the end of the known world.

I seem to recall Aberdeen was known as the Granite City. Now it seems, the Marzipan City would be more appropriate.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Johnston

Any of them not “asymptomatic”?
How many hospital admissions?
How many deaths?

Paul Buxton
Paul Buxton
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

From the Scottish Government web site:

Hospital admissions: week ending 29 July : 5 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital.

0 new reported death(s) of people who have tested positive.

So obviously time for a big old panic!

Rob Cameron
Rob Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Johnston

79 isn’t a number I can find. I haven’t tried to hard just the gov.scot webpage which suggests 43 new cases for the whole of Scotland. Please clarify your source Garry? https://www.gov.scot/public

Elaine Willock
Elaine Willock
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Johnston

And still only 0.024 of the population!

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

“While never sincere and never less than cynical, still the Conservatives deeply feared this line of attack.” I assume that Mr Murray meant to indict as insincere and cynical the “Labour efforts to portray them as in some ways callous or uncaring towards the NHS” that he had mentioned in the previous sentence. But the sentence structure tells us that the Conservatives are never sincere and never less than cynical. Of course, both claims could be true.

June Skelton
June Skelton
3 years ago

Always thought there was something fishy about the Scottish National Party. First we had Salmon[d] going on trial for alleged rapes, now we have Sturgeon with this….

Richard Colman
Richard Colman
3 years ago

Excuse my ignorance or naivety but why does a vote for Independence from the UK only involve those living in Scotland. Don’t those in the rest of the UK have a say as we will all be affected? Am I missing something very simple?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Colman

Believe me, we would love to have a say in it. And if we do, she will have her independent in a Braveheartbeat.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Colman

England is never allowed to vote on whether it wishes to keep subsidising either Northern Ireland, or Scotland.
Having in the past conquered them both, we must now do penance for our past victories. Remember Culloden etc.

Incidentally does anyone know the percentage of the work force employed in the public sector in either Northern Ireland or Scotland?

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

It will always be the Marxist politicians who take away your freedom of speech and movement.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Which Marxist politicians are you referring to?

Mike Hursthouse
Mike Hursthouse
3 years ago

In 2014 the case for independence rested on the price of a barrel of oil averaging $100 over the next couple of decades. The actual figures to date looks to be about $62, and that’s ignoring the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic where the price has fallen below $40.

Sturgeon’s biggest weakness in my view (apart from having a titanic ego) is: she doesn’t understand economics, which she thinks of in terms of “investment” but never “return on investment (both financially and socially). In other words you just throw money at something at it will work.

We should scrap the Barnet formula and continually and publicly ask how much of the Scottish fishing industry the SNP will be willing to sacrifice to get back into the EU.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

“how much of the Scottish fishing industry the SNP will be willing to sacrifice to get back into the EU.”

The answer is “all of it”.
EU negotiations with an independent Haggistan would last 5 minutes or as long as it took the EU to say “give us everything and shut up”.

Harry Powell
Harry Powell
3 years ago

As a Scot (and how unfortunate that you have to preface your comments with your bona fides these days) I am genuinely worried for the first time that independence might become a reality. That is a measure of how much the SNP have used their power to thread themselves through the guts of Scottish life. As an illustration, when I signed up for my GP a few years ago I was asked to identify my nationality, Scottish, English, Other were the options. I wrote in Other: British. Aside from the gelded Scottish media, more importantly the ascendency of the SNP can be blamed on the uselessness of the opposition. Who can even name any of them? They are scattered and tribal. None of them can command cross party support or can conceive of doing so. If they are serious about stopping independence (and maybe they aren’t) they need to urgently ditch their ideological baggage and realign around taking on the SNP or we will sleep walk into the break up of the Union.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Harry Powell

I never understood the “ethnic” questionnaire… Does it mean they want to know where you where born, where your parents are from, where you spent most of your life, how you see yourself or what? I tried to ask before filling one of those out, but nobody knew.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago

“If God had meant ye tae be happy, he’d have pit yer mooth on th’ ither way up!”
– Presbyterian Minister, 16th Century
– Nichola Sturgeon, 21st Century

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago

Let them go their own way and rid ourselves of the millstone that is Scotland.

Paul Morrell
Paul Morrell
3 years ago

We’re all doomed, I tell ya.

Stephen Lloyd
Stephen Lloyd
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Morrell

* I tell ye.

Robin Bury
Robin Bury
3 years ago

Simple question.Will the EU accept part of the UK as a member? Scotland is not an independent state as are EU members. Then there is the Catalonia, Brittany precedents. The EU may well decide not to allow Scotland to become a new member.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

As many below have pointed out commenting on sturgeon as a politician rather misses the point. She is a classic illustration of the race to the bottom politically and personally. Most Scots who are competent and decent go elsewhere for work and many settle away from Scotland. People like her are the reason for this “strainer” effect. Much as i fear and distrust Boris Mendax thank God the nearest we had to this nasty piece of work was thrashed at the last GE. See her reaction to the defeat of “no such think as women” Swinson and her disinterest in stopping her predecessor Salmon from being framed for indecent assault. Wonder what her reaction to the death of “no such thing as England” Kennedy drinking

himself to death was?

Sam Mac Gill-Eain
Sam Mac Gill-Eain
3 years ago

What a refreshing article. Not because I agree with it, but after many months of agreeing with Douglas’s opinions on things like covid and free speech and having just finished his latest book I had almost forgot he was a tory.

Thanks.

Richard Haviland
Richard Haviland
3 years ago

Those of us who view Sturgeon as neither the devil incarnate nor a living saint read this sort of article and wish that, in a public health emergency, writers like Mr Murray could be a little more measured. It’s clear that, both in a scenario where Scotland had higher mortality than England and one where Scotland had lower mortality than England, he would find different ways of damning her. Could it possibly be that there is no way she could have responded to this without attracting his criticism? (And no, I’m not saying there’s nothing to criticise her for).

On the wider constitutional politics, reflected both in this article and in many of your comments – the painful truth which Conservatives seem to find so hard to acknowledge is that it’s the policies of their party over the last six years, rather than anything the SNP has done, that have converted many people – including me – from “No” to “Yes”. Not because we think independence would be easy or even particularly desirable, but because the alternative is beginning to look worse. Yes, I know it’s hard to admit this, and yes, I know it may make you angry. But anger won’t win back those voters, and nor will telling them they’re idiots and SNP cultists when they’re emphatically not.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

A newly ‘independent’ Scotland leaving the UK Union in which it was, arguably, an ‘equal’ partner, will presumably then rush headlong to join an unashamedly pro-austerity European Union in which it clearly wouldn’t be?

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago

Exactly. Excellent comment.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

Indeed, but who is going to keep paying for the charade, that is Scotland. The EU?

More than two centuries ago Dr Samuel Johnson described Scotland thus:”Your country consists of two things, stone and water. There is indeed a little earth in some places, but very little, and the stone is always appearing. It is like a man in rags, the naked skin is still peeping out.” Has anything really changed?

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Why do I get the sense that that’s not a bona fide question, and that you don’t want a bona fide discussion?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

It is a most serious question, and one that I hope provocative humour may elicit an answer.

How on Earth is Scotland going to pay its way? Before you annunciate North Sea Oil, (NSO) I have it on good authority, from Arbitration ‘gurus’ of the Middle Temple, that Scotland might be lucky to be ‘awarded’ 10% by an International Tribunal. Additionally as you may know, NSO has collapsed from 100 dollars a barrel to about 40.

So, without English largesse, where are you going to get the cash?
The EU perhaps? I would hazard a guess you are far too late, they (Germany) has far too many ‘basket cases’ on the books already.

Additionally the Private Sector in Scotland is almost non existent, whilst the Public Sector is an unsustainable, bloated, behemoth of gargantuan proportions. QED?

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Well if a barrister you know in London says it, it must be true.

To be clear I’ve never been an uncritical supporter of
independence. It’s always seemed a gamble to me and a fraught one.

So my attitude is the same as Richard Haviland’s above, i.e. yes we
may suffer badly without “English largesse” (I doubt
the economics are that simple, but England being bigger, more
populous and richer it’s inevitable so many insist they are),
however it may be a price worth paying for the reward of governing
ourselves more directly (sound familiar to you as an argument”Š?).

But a Wee Little question for you: if Scotland is a “charade”
as you say, and can’t ever be supported other than by English
largesse, what would you have it do at this historical juncture?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

Go for independence as soon as possible. Wean yourselves off English gold, and try and emulate what Ireland has done.

Currently you are so dependent on English largesse, that your once famous entrepreneurial spirit, has all but evaporated. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, so you will be able to recapture it, after the initial pain has passed.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Quite so…It would be the only way to do it, and to make it worthwhile. We agree on that at least!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

Yes indeed. Don’t worry about the rest, there is no malice intended, just a bit of ‘wind up’ banter, which I’m sure your used to.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

The SNP are an out and out nationalist party a good many of whose supporters feebly hide their growing anti-English sentiment behind a social democratic veneer and increasingly now feel able to openly demonstrate this xenophobic hostility without fear of censure from their own party machine, let alone many of their own countryfolk, to their eternal shame.

After the supposed ‘once in a generation’ hugely rancorous referendum vote in 2014 many Scots hoped they would not to have to revisit the divisive ‘independence’ question anytime soon.

Hope and reasoning based on longstanding, sound democratic principles ie you don’t have a referendum on exactly the same question hot on the heels of another simply because you don’t like the original result.

Funnily enough the SNP already has recent form on this when they demanded a second EU referendum on much the same basis.

Are the SNP unashamed nationalists? Undeniably.

Are they anti-English? Probably. Certainly a good many are.

Are they anti-democratic? Your truthful answer to this will speak volumes, frankly.

Martin Wright
Martin Wright
3 years ago

Does she actually want independence? Surely this would lead to the loss of all those support systems that Douglas mentions on which Scotland is dependent: The UK’s credit rating, public-sector jobs, the Barnett formula etc. If she is in any way intelligent, she must know that Scotland would only travel further down hill under her leadership and, without the English to blame, she would finally be exposed.

Steve Dean
Steve Dean
3 years ago

Hold on, isn’t Scotland following a zero covid-19 strategy? If they are, then in this case (which is all this article is about) the Aberdeen lockdown would be justified.

So here we all are, criticising a politician for doing what they say they would do, when we spend most of the rest of the time criticising them for not doing what they said they would do. Or doing it badly!

pedanticjase
pedanticjase
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Dean

100% but look you have to fill column inches.

Personally I feel like the lockdown in Aberdeen seems a bit punitive as it doesn’t appear to be a massive outbreak and for the most part centered around a single pub. However I’m not a epidemiologist I’m not even a armchair one like most of the commentators and the author of this post so I can’t say what’s the best course of action here.

There’s also a decent chance that sturgeon and boris have no idea what they’re doing and are just trying their best. Trying to argue that they are doing so in bad faith with zero evidence seems quite silly.

Fabian Destouches
Fabian Destouches
3 years ago

If you ever wanted to know why the SNP is so successful reading the comments under this article from Britnat readers perfectly explains it.

facebook11
facebook11
3 years ago

I thought I was reading Unherd but I seem to have picked up the Daily Fail by mistake.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

The problem is that the alleged catastrophic threat of covid, the interminable months long, ‘are we, aren’t we’ lock down essentially means that there are many millions now ‘invested’ in terms of emotion, time, effort and money in the process.

The vast majority with the best intentions, I’m sure, but it doesn’t change the cold, hard reality that it’s fast becoming an binary article of faith for some….you either want to save humanity or you don’t, basically.

A good many of those people can either currently financially afford to sit there telling the rest of world that we need to forever #staysafe or there are those out there that can’t indefinitely but who naively believe that the state can forever 100% guarantee to protect them from a virus, history show us, that likely will never, ever go way, plus apparently promise to support them into the bargain.

Something WILL have to give and my only hope is that the largely unnecessary damage now being caused is not too great.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

Misled. Not mislead.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Convincing enough people that you’re a chess Grandmaster in control of the board whilst your opponents are little better than clueless squirrels is part of ‘the game’.

Sturgeon, at least, understands this.

She obviously hasn’t got a Scooby Doo when it comes to ‘battling’ corona virus, and nor do most of her global political peers it seems, but as long as she looks like she can project the illusion of ‘control’ and exploit it for her own political ends she will do so.

alee09676
alee09676
3 years ago

Your numbers are very wrong; grossly underestimated. As for behaviour and tactics of politicians – is it really anything new?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
3 years ago
Reply to  alee09676

Evidence for this curious assertion?

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago

As it happens a certain level of panic should exist in the voices of

Scotland’s politicians at all times: life expectancy in Glasgow, for

instance, is the lowest (for men and women) in the whole of the UK.

During the years of SNP rule life expectancy in parts of the country,

such as Dundee, has actually fallen, a phenomenon rarely seen in modern

times outside of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.”

I like Douglas Murray, but this is a fairly silly argument. Firstly, he must know by reputation Glasgow’s long-term terrible health issues and health culture; they way pre-date the SNP’s ascendancy.

Secondly, I’m no statistician but the briefest of online searches brought me a haul of articles talking about falling life expectancy in many places in the UK including England. Here are a few:

https://www.thenorthernecho

https://news.sky.com/story/

Other articles report only stalling LE in England with falling LE elsewhere in UK including Wales. Either way, the LE picture is arguably not so good in the UK as a whole is it?

None of this validates the SNPs coronavirus strategy or Sturgeon’s character, but it betrays a degree of hysteria about the SNP which always pops its head up in this context.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Convincing enough people that you’re a chess Grandmaster in control of the board whilst your opponents are little better than clueless squirrels is part of ‘the game’.

Sturgeon, at least, understands this.

She obviously doesn’t really know her arse from her elbow when it comes to ‘battling’ corona virus and nor do most of her global political peers it seems, but as long as she looks like she can project the illusion of ‘control’ and exploit it for her own political ends she will do so.

rumianaberger12
rumianaberger12
3 years ago

Spelling mistake. The past participle of “mislead” is “misled” without the ‘a’.
By the way, I miss lead in my petrol.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago

(Disqus has for some reason blocked several versions of this comment. I’m posting again minus examples of the articles I mention. Apologies for any duplicates)

I like Douglas Murray, but his argument about life expectancy (not
to mention Zimbabwe) is a fairly silly one. Firstly, he must know by
reputation Glasgow’s long-term terrible health issues and health
culture; they way pre-date the SNP’s ascendancy.

Secondly, I’m no statistician but the briefest of online searches
brought me a haul of articles talking about falling life expectancy
in many places in the UK including England.

Other articles report only stalling LE in England with falling LE
elsewhere in UK including Wales. Either way, the LE picture is
arguably not so good in the UK as a whole is it.

None of this validates the SNPs coronavirus strategy or Sturgeon’s
character, but it betrays a degree of hysteria about the SNP which
always pops its head up in this context

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago

(Posting this again from 2 days ago as it seemed to have disappeared)

I think this article is being too critical of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scots in general.

It’s not unusual for a politician to be grim about fresh outbreaks of coronavirus! And Nicola normally has someone signing for the deaf when she speaks to be fair and inclusive – this doesn’t seem like a thing to criticise to me.

It’s a fair point about her ‘doom-mongering’ but again she’s not alone in the world at the moment where every new covid case – not even death – is met with doom-mongering. England locks down Leicester and Scotland locks down Aberdeen – it’s pathetic in both cases not just here in Scotland.

Talking about the SNP, yes of course it has a single purpose to remain in government but specifically to get independence for Scotland. After that there will still be a democratically elected government just like the UK government.

I like new discussion about covid but the SNP bashing was not ‘unherd’ but the same old mainstream cliché after cliché!

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Exactly. Murray is an excellent and usually very thoughtful writer, but this is the most (in fact the only) cliché-ridden thing I’ve seen by him or for the most part on this site. I think it really brought out his prejudices.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

“But for the SNP to address such problems on their watch would be to take some responsibility, and Scottish Nationalists like Nicola Sturgeon never take responsibility. Not when there is “Westminster” to blame, and the opportunity to grandstand by issuing the direst imaginable warnings”

But isn’t that common to all politicians now?

“After decades of sending them through the post like this he has to had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who are insisting that each kipper must be accompanied by a plastic ice pillow”

– Boris Johnson

As we know this was not an obligation under EU legislation and actually was advice which came from the UK’s Food Standards Agency.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago

Given the choice between Johnson’s flippancy, bluster and unprofessionalism and Sturgeon’s “doom mongering”, I choose Sturgeon’s professionalism. I prefer my politics to be sober, not the antics of a clown and over-grown school boy who imagines he is charming and funny. If want that I’ll watch “Four Weddings and a Funeral”

Robert
Robert
3 years ago

For balance note that the author has conveniently not mentioned that life expectancy has fallen in several places across the UK during the same period that it fell in Dundee. Presumably the SNP are not to blame for lower life expectancy in Norwich, Gloucester, Southend-on-Sea and Hartlepool?

dldouglasleighton
dldouglasleighton
3 years ago

Reactionary contrarianism masquerading as ‘free thinking’.This must be the most putrid collection of swamp dwelling tosh-peddlers ever to emerge from the preponderant fail cohort of the ‘quali’,who went onto their careers in sewing or tea pouring, finally gravitating to Englandshire, and quite unable to transcend their third rate bourgeois mediocrity.
I’m out of here and won’t be back.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago

Eh?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Come off it!
Most of us are just indulging in a little lighthearted banter!

Why? Because as you have so clearly demonstrated, you always “rise to the bait”. Why else would we do it?

Incidentally is English your first language? I only ask because your prose style, and syntax are rather unusual.

Rather oddly it looks as if this your first epistle. Surely you are no going to give up at the first fence? That’s not sort of behaviour we expect from “Scotland the Brave” is it?

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Well said, Mr Corby. However he does hint at a disturbing truth: it would indeed be nice to have more progressive (and/or regressive/woke) lefties (if “left” does mean anything any more) in these hallowed halls to banter with, don’t you agree? It seems well nigh impossible to avoid echo chambers in this era – and I have a feeling this was one of Unherd’s aims.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Poynton

Yes, I completely agree with what you say. There have been the odd ‘shriekers’, but excoriated by logic and facts, they soon “retire hurt”, which I am sure you will agree, is no ‘sport’ at all!

I have also noticed a growing intolerance in the UnHerd Censor of late. Unusual adjectives seem to be the trouble. Perhaps the ‘algorithm’ needs recalibrating?

I also had considerable vexation over the terrible desecration by the (R)AF
of the grave the Black Labrador Retriever dog, belonging to the late, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC,DSO,DFC. “The dog that may not speaks its name for shame” as one might say

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I still love your “Shriekers”. Yeah, it really does seem to be the regressive left who are the ones refusing to even engage. In fact in my Twitter days I began to realise that to “mute” or “block” someone who was totally respectful but with the wrong narrative was a badge of honour rather than being seen as cowardice or a lack of anything substantial to rebut with. They don’t realise the sport they’re missing out on alright. I mean look at the poor Douglas fellow above – he has retreated while we all have a perfectly good discussion about it all.
Although I feared there may be some silly censorship going on when I first started commenting, I haven’t noticed any since. I find every now and again a comment gets lost, but if I post it again it turns up.
I actually queried you about something in your fine post about Gibson’s bl… d*g (best to be safe these days). You mustn’t have seen it – can’t remember what is was now.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Poynton

I cannot find your question about ” the dog that cannot speaks its name for shame”. Must have got ” lost in the wash!”

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Ah, maybe I spoke too soon about avoiding the censor’s delete button after all.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Poynton

Ah, maybe I spoke to soon about avoiding the censor’s delete button after all.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

I’ve given you a “like” for making such a valiant and spirited attack on the status quo (always to be commended of individuals) and for pointing out that there is indeed somewhat of an echo chamber forming on this really quite wonderful site, which I think is the complete opposite of what Unherd planned. However it’s a great shame that you don’t stick around a bit, for 1) I think most of the discussion on this site is intelligent and civilised (and if not, where is it so in the swamp that is the internet?), and 2) if you have differing political views to most here (which I actually think is what you are trying to express, in rather unfair fashion) then stay and help give us that variety of view that you are complaining is absent.

alistairgorthy
alistairgorthy
3 years ago

Thanks Douglas L, your response is one that sometimes chimes with the way I feel about Unherd, especially when the usual tribe of rightwing harlots, masquerading as principled free thinkers, peddle their well rehearsed whine against the so-called liberal elite. I hope the people here will take cognizance of your views and listen, before this space becomes yet another rightwing grievance site.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  alistairgorthy

At least Alistair, unlike poor Mr Leighton, you are sticking around to take these rightwing harlots on. That’s the spirit!
I’m not sure which rightwing harlots you are referring to, so can’t tell you if I agree with you about them in particular, however I agree that a right-leaning echo chamber is forming on this site. Unherd obviously did not want that at all. Do you think it’s unavoidable in this post-truth era?
(On the off-chance that I am included in the tribe you refer to, I am quite happy to be called a harlot, but will challenge you to a duel over the ‘rightwing’)

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
3 years ago

I do not know what to make of Murray’s suggestion that the main reason for the shutdown in March was to avoid the “embarrassment” of the NHS being unable to cope. There would be rather more than “embarrassment” involved in chronic and acute cases being turned away from hospitals. Had the lock-down been a week or two earlier the “embarrassment” might well have been rather less and more routine but acute operations carried out.

The Aberdeen lock-down is an example of policy getting ahead of events by following the science, rather than several stages behind.

Frankly Sturgeon doesn’t really need to work hard to make a case for Scottish independence. The incompetence, incoherence and corruption we are seeing from Mr Johnson’s government would tell most Scots that they couldn’t do any worse

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

Sweden is managing fine and never needed to lock down. They are almost done and dusted with Corona.