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Nicola Sturgeon’s delusional second act Her latest rebrand is rooted in fantasy

(Wattie Cheung/Getty Images)


May 22, 2024   6 mins

Over the weekend, Nicola Sturgeon was due at a literary festival in my neck of the woods, as part of what seems to be an ongoing PR operation to restore her reputation after a bruising year. The former Scottish First Minister’s appearance was billed as a conversation with transgender author Juno Dawson, in which she would be reflecting — ahead of a memoir to be published next year — upon “her time in government, as well as her love of literature and the role the arts play in her life”. A friend offered me a ticket, so I took a deep breath and went along. As I walked into the festival tent, I entered a parallel fictional universe in several senses: one where feelgood vibes covered up yawning plot holes, and where nearly everybody seemed to suspend their disbelief.

Given Sturgeon’s much vaunted twin loves — novels and being a “voice for inclusion” — the venue was a perfect match. Not far from Brighton, we were at Charleston Farmhouse; a place where, for much of the 20th century, core members of the Bloomsbury Group — Vanessa Bell, art critic husband Clive Bell, and fellow painter Duncan Grant — lived experimentally with various illustrious literary and philosophical figures orbiting around them. Immersed in endlessly complicated romantic liaisons, this was a queer pangendered polycule before the SNP had even heard of one. (More simply, though not inaccurately, relatives of mine by marriage who farmed the land nearby would refer to the Bloomsburies as “those funny people up the road”.)

In the present day, those now in charge of Charleston try to capitalise on the frisson of inherited sexual dissidence with lots of queer-themed events, including a recent fashion exhibition sponsored by Christian Dior. Indeed, an event poster displayed onstage directly before Sturgeon’s interview showed a naked female standing crotch-deep in a lake, elective mastectomy scars glinting where breasts used to be. But despite management pretensions to be running a modern-day Weimar salon, the reality of the audience at Sturgeon’s talk was somewhat more prosaic: scruffy middle-aged people dressed in violently clashing prints, their LRB tote bags stuffed with books by George Monbiot and Judi Dench. Only a few bright young things were scattered here and there, paying homage to their second favourite politician. Their first favourite, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, swept in just before the start and sat at the front.

To the sound of applause, festival director Nathanial Hepburn introduced the main attraction, effectively warning off audience members from airing “their own views on politics” during the question period — a sentiment which drew further appreciative applause from some. Dawson began the softball questioning, and we were soon immersed in a touching fairy tale: about a shy working-class girl from Irvine who had joined the SNP to “try and make a difference”, and then challenged male dominance and discrimination in Scottish politics by rising to the top. Over time she became the great feminist champion who led her people through their darkest hour during Covid. But in the end, weary of acting as a lightning rod for unjust toxicity — including from those angry with her for being a steadfast supporter of marginalised people — she had altruistically stepped away from power, for the good of her country.

There is a mental delusion called Capgras Syndrome, during which a person becomes convinced that someone in their life has been secretly replaced with an identical duplicate. During my hour in the Charleston tent, I started dimly to understand what this must be like. For in many ways the version of Sturgeon in front of me seemed to bear only the vaguest of relations to her historical doppelganger North of the Border.

Not least, the cause of Scottish Independence — to which I was sure I could remember her devoting almost her entire political life — was mentioned briefly only once, with a reassurance that she had an English granny and wanted the two countries to be the “best of friends”. The ongoing police investigation into SNP finances was similarly glossed over fast, albeit partly for legal reasons. When asked what she had been most proud of during her time in office, she said her government had done “a lot to try and shift the dial on child poverty”, referring to increased funded childcare and the Scottish Child Payment, but not to the fact that child poverty figures overall had remained obstinately static on her watch.

Mistily recounting the Covid years — during which her government closed schools for months, and imposed tougher lockdown regulations than in England yet with no real difference in death rates — she seemed to suggest openness and transparency had been key: it had been important “to stand up every day and explain exactly what we were asking people to do, why we were asking people to do it”. Could this be the same woman, I wondered, who was unable to produce any WhatsApp messages from this period at the Covid Inquiry, having deleted them all?

And having arguably stuffed her party full of young activists hellbent on promotion within the system — including presiding over a jaw-dropping NEC rule change in 2020 that saw younger candidates with newly self-identified disabilities promoted to the top of regional MSP lists — this Anglicised version of Sturgeon advised young people never to see politics “as a route to a job or a career” because “if that is your motivation, then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons”. In her view, “politics, including in my party, now is probably too full of young people who have just gone through the political ranks”.

By the time she got to the bit about how toxic the public discourse about “trans rights” had become, and how trans people had become a public scapegoat, because citizens “struggling” with “a cost of living crisis” and “rising levels of poverty” — “particularly young people who suffered during Covid” — were looking “for somebody to blame”, I started to check what was in my drink. “I just have this belief that people should be allowed to be who they are, feel comfortable, respected, safe and able to live with dignity as who they want to be,” said the premier who had overseen the putting of violent male felons in terrifyingly close quarters with impoverished, vulnerable female prisoners, with no apparent thought to the safety or dignity of the latter.

Was it really she who had closed her ears to any possible problems with introducing self-ID at age 16 upwards, arguing that some opponents would “cloak themselves in women’s rights to make it acceptable, but just as they’re transphobic you’ll also find that they’re deeply misogynist, often homophobic, possibly some of them racist as well”? Who had personally insisted that puberty blockers would still be used for physically healthy children in Scotland’s youth gender identity service even after serious concerns emerged in 2021; and whose Party was defending clinical standards at the service as late as last month? Did she really not understand why all of this might get reasonable people riled? Apparently she did not.

The audience mostly seemed to lap it up; partly, I assume, because they knew practically nothing concrete about the speaker’s nine years in government. Nationalists often complain that the English media ignores Scottish concerns, but in this case it has clearly worked in their former leader’s favour. Still, it was also obvious that this deeply middle-class and well-heeled bunch mostly didn’t want to know about any potentially complicating factors that might temper their adulation, for that would spoil all the fun of the festival: paying £65 per day ticket to feel appalled about the state of the world and the Tories, but rather better about themselves. To this end, they needed a suitable moral heroine to side with, mentally speaking: preferably someone with a charmingly authentic regional accent, getting intermittent jabs in at their favourite hate figures while decrying toxic masculinity, and whose stated values otherwise were vague enough that you could read almost anything positive you liked into them. And it seems that they found one.

“Nationalists often complain that the English media ignores Scottish concerns, but in this case it has clearly worked in their former leader’s favour.”

During the Q&A, as instructed, political questions were indeed mostly eschewed, in favour of fatuous queries about who Sturgeon might like to do a podcast with (Theresa May, apparently) and which books she might leave on the desk of an incoming Prime Minister (the crime novels of her good pal Val McDermid, in case you were wondering). Towards the end of the session, a sonorously voiced male admirer seemed to encapsulate the general mood of histrionic unreality by imploring the politician: “Will you promise us, whatever the result of the Police Scotland investigation, that you will find a continuing role to speak out?”

By then, I had heard more than enough. As I left, I reflected on the strangeness of what I’d just witnessed: the creation of an utterly fantastical world, bearing practically no relation to the actual one, being wrought in real time via the psychological co-dependency of two highly unlikely parties: on the one hand, a former Scottish National Party leader; and on the other, the sort of deeply unself-aware, affluent, self-satisfied and soft-minded Southerner who for decades has been a source of both mockery and fury to most Scottish Nationalists in practice. When that memoir eventually does come out, she’ll know exactly where to go to sell it.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
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Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
2 months ago

My fantasy regarding Nicola Sturgeon still stands the same.

It goes like this. She’s found guilty of fiddling the books and purchasing camper vans and cutlery with other peoples money and is sent down to spend some time sewing mail bags as His Maj’s pleasure.

As she’s led to her cell, the warders explain to her, “Aye well, hen, its a bit crowded now due to lack of investment in the system by your old lot, so its four to a cell . . .”. They arrive at a steel door which swings open to reveal a tiny cell with four bunks and three 18 stone, tattooed, male crims wearing ill fitting wigs and nail varnish . . . “But, never mind, hen, nice to have some company and I’m sure you girls will all get along just fine…” says the warder pushing Sturgeon into the cell.

The door slams with a clang . . .

R E P
R E P
2 months ago

Unlike the Guardianista below, gave me a good guffaw to get the day going!

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago

I share that fantasy too, although mine includes the addition of the attempted fitting up of Alex Salmond to the list of her perfidies.

DenialARiverIn Islington
DenialARiverIn Islington
2 months ago

Ooooohhhh. Yes please. instant karma for a shill…..

Chipoko
Chipoko
2 months ago

Brilliant!

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago

323 upvotes for this weirdness?
You really are a very strange group of people!

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago

Get ye gone, Plonk Socialist, your masochism is better served elsewherre.

charlie martell
charlie martell
1 month ago

It’s called laughter. It occurs at various times, including when someone makes a joke that hits a nerve.

Keep trying. You’ll get the hang of it.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
2 months ago

Have you noticed she has no sclerae? Just a pair of empty pits, gazing deeply into the darkness in your soul, reaching out with her own darkness.

Thomas K.
Thomas K.
2 months ago

I *thought* something was off after she kept saying in a weird, echoe-y, six-in-one voice “this human form is so limiting…”

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago

Like soup girl, Phoebe Plummer. Eyes black as sump oil.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago

It’s like staring into the Abyss – I hadn’t even realised Nietzsche had met Sturgeon.

Phil Day
Phil Day
2 months ago

Spiteful, odious little creep shows zero self awareness and continues to be a spiteful, odious little creep.
What a surprise

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 months ago

I hope K. Stock enjoyed her visit to Sturgeonland. In future, within Scotland at least, I’m pretty sure heretics like the author will have to wear an ankle bracelet so that if she approaches The Holy Presence a fatal electric shock will be delivered, much like a bolt of lightening striking down a vampire who dares to enter a church.

Simon White
Simon White
2 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Have you been reading Christina Dalcher’s “Vox” by any chance? I mean, in the novel it’s 100 words per day and a wrist bracelet that delivers the non-fatal shock, but the principle’s the same

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago

Whatever one thinks of la Sturgeon you can’t help but admire her ability to drive you people absolutely barmy!
The frothing rage at the mere mention of her name is enough to send you gammons into paroxysms of fury. Highly amusing!

David L
David L
2 months ago

Haven’t you got some death threats to send or something?

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
2 months ago

About as amusing as your chronic flatulence.

McLovin
McLovin
2 months ago

Isn’t calling someone “gammon” hate speech in Scotland?

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago

The Queef That Wasn’t Sat Down On Hard Enough returns!!

How are you, old boy?

Stitches and sutures still holding up ?

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago

Whatever one thinks of la Sturgeon

Clearly you don’t like her either.

David McKee
David McKee
2 months ago

People like Sturgeon rely on audiences being far too shy and good-mannered to pipe up and tell the truth.

In this instance, women rely on a brave few, like JK Rowling, to speak up while they stay silent. Like a woman being harassed by a man on public transport, they keep their heads down. Mustn’t make a scene, it’s not nice…

Nice be blowed. If you want to keep your rights, ladies, you need to be very unladylike from time to time.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
2 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Interesting comnent! I dont know any women who keep quiet or who ignore other women being picked on. I like my female friends and our world better than yours.

A J
A J
2 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Whatever makes you think women aren’t speaking out? Pop onto YouTube; there’s plenty of footage there of Let Women Speak events around the world. Then check out WDI; they hold a weekly feminist question time that has 4 or 5 sex realist activists speaking each week, to a live audience of over a hundred activist women. Every week. There’s also plenty of interviews with Stock, Helen Joyce, Kellie Jay Keen, Jo Phoenix, Kara Dansky, Mia Hughes (who wrote the WPATH Files, breaking to the world the story of WPATH’s disingenuous “standards” of gender care for kids). There’s many more.

Then take a moment to reflect on how many women have lost their jobs/careers because they DID speak out. Nurse Amy Hamm in Canada is still being dragged through the courts 3 years after speaking out about patient safety relating to needing to know what sex patients are. Right now in France, two women are facing extreme death threats for publishing a book about sex realism.

Roz Adams’ was hounded out of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre simply for trying to reassure a rape survivor that her support worker would be female, which you can read about in UnHerd. At least in the UK, women are winning their employment tribunals, but it takes about two years each time, and they have to crowdfund for their legal fees. I am one of many who always contributes to these crowd funds – do you? We have to raise £100,000 plus for each case. And we do.

David McKee
David McKee
1 month ago
Reply to  A J

Oh, I didn’t mean that nothing is going on. As you say, there’s quite a lot of activity – by a relatively small number of women. And that’s sort of my point. The overwhelming majority sit on their hands, and let the energetic and stubborn few do the heavy lifting.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
2 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Their silence might be because they fear being beaten senseless or carved up by a mad man with a knife.

David McKee
David McKee
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

You have a point. Which why they should do usually do it as a group. In organised surroundings, like – oh, a literary festival – there’s no risk in piping up and making the speaker thoroughly uncomfortable.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

“deeply unself-aware, affluent, self-satisfied and soft-minded Southerner”

Sturgeon has long been a fantasy deus ex machina politician for this type of English progressive. You could often find comments below Guardian articles expressing the wish that “the SNP would stand in England”. A yearning to be saved from the original sin of being English.

“the crime novels of her good pal Val McDermid”

Sturgeon does at least have impeccable taste in crime fiction. McDermid is an exceptional novelist.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
2 months ago

Agree about McDermid, but she goes down in my estimation if she’s genuinely good friends with such a creep as Sturgeon, rather than it just being another false claim.

Richard Powell
Richard Powell
2 months ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Sturgeon and McDermid now seem to be a roving double-act, appearing together at festivals: Sturgeon did a second session at Charleston on Sunday, an “in conversation” with McDermid, though Kathleen Stock can perhaps be forgiven not making the most of her day ticket.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

As I understand it they are indeed friends and political allies.

Unless it detracts from the work itself, I try to avoid judging art by the artist. I’m sure I would disagree with McDermid on many points. But that doesn’t reduce my admiration for her work.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
2 months ago

Fully agree that the work can be seen as having intrinsic value (in any artistic context) otherwise more the half the Western canon would suffer.

McDermid can be seen as the mirror inage of JK Rowling (metaphorically speaking!)

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
2 months ago

I’m a little surprised that Ms Stock survived that crowd intact; wouldn’t they be keen to lynch her? Maybe, she wore a masterly disguise. Maybe dressed as a postman or astronaut they wouldn’t have recognised her.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

Maybe she identified as Owen Jones for the day.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
2 months ago

Ha. Any who did recognise KS would have been terrified.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

“Roll up, roll up! Only 65 pounds to come in and see the biggest brass neck in history!”

R E P
R E P
2 months ago

Is Sturgeon not very bright? The transphobe label was clearly invented to crush debate. Does she not realise that some people are concerned that life altering surgeries for minors are being fast-tracked without debate or that women’s spaces are being compromised by men with autogynephilia?

To be a successful politician you have to deal with reality. To be Goethe you have to be bright. I could see her as servant to the massively overrated Bloomsbury Group.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  R E P

The transphobe label was clearly invented to crush debate

Well yes, but ditto homophobe, islamophobe, misogynist and the rest. It’s how the game works unfortunately.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

If the cap fits, old boy….

David McKee
David McKee
2 months ago
Reply to  R E P

The servant? For a highpowered bunch like the Bloomsbury Group, Sturgeon would be the comic relief.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
2 months ago

What is it with the likes of Sturgeon and their need to conflate trans critical views with misogyny, homophobia and racism?

Wanting to protect women’s spaces makes you a misogynist?!

Beyond ridiculous.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

In large part its simply a means of silencing dissent and I suspect that’s Sturgeon’s main purpose.
If the person pointing out that women should have a reasonable expectation of receiving same-sex support from a rape crisis centre can be traduced as a homophobe and racist, then their point can be more easily dismissed and others frightened into compliance.
But some of these loopy-loos have drunk very long and hard at the omnicause kool-aid and sincerely believe that you can’t take one position they disagree with, without at least by implication taking every other opinion they disagree with.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago

Oddly enough, misandry was missing.

Actually all groups have pretty much modelled themselves on racism. Once a genuine prejudice has been identified, called out, and accepted as such it’s in everyone’s interest to jump on the bandwagon. Totally insulting to people who have genuinely suffered. Feminists did this by describing marriage as an institution of slavery – thus trying to usurp the genuine suffering of actual slaves.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
2 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Those early feminists live alone with cats or with other women also with cats.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
2 months ago

Whew.

“There’s been a murder”

– Taggart

stuart brennan
stuart brennan
2 months ago

Coruscating article! And absolutely on the money! She has a neck forged from pure brass! Her place at the UN is now toast! However, I believe that Irvine WI is in need of new members!

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago

It’s only very occasionally that I find myself disagreeing with Kathleen Stock, but there’s an example here when she says this “…the cause of Scottish Independence — to which I was sure I could remember her devoting almost her entire political life…”. Had Stock preceded this quote with the word “scuppering” then she’d be on target, but I don’t think that’s what she meant.

Sturgeon’s relentless delays, her focus on stopping Brexit, her trans-nonsense and her possible role in the political persecution of her predecessor has purposefully set back the cause of Scottish Independence for decades.

See the Rev. Stuart Campbell at WingsOverScotland for years of details here. She’s an absolutely disgraceful character.  

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
2 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I’m not sure that KS quote in any way conflicts with the points you make

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
2 months ago

£65???? I assumed it was a free event.
The fact that it was “she/her” Sturgeon makes matters worse, but what kind of people would pay £65 to hear ANY, and I really mean any, retired or current politician? I personally can’t think of any.

I wonder if Kathleen had to hit the bottle once she had left – I sure would have.
Personally I would have tried to get some value out of my £65 by asking a question or two…

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

In fairness I think its £65 for the whole day, then normally you can attend as many individual events as you wish.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
2 months ago

Oh, I see. It some kind of entry ticket. Still…

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 months ago

Sturgeon perfectly represents the New politicians of the Progressive State. Green Lib Dem, Labour, Wet Fake Tory – all. They are weak and shallow inadequates, bound tightly by the New Order’s toxic ideological groupthink and its grevious mental derangment. Hostile and ignorant of enterprise and wealth creation, they all inhabit a lalalnd bubble now dangerously detached from the public. They have imbibed the core governing principle of the rwvolutionary EU Order established in the 90s – top down Diktat and Coercion, mixed in with an innate suspicion of genuine democracy and loathing of most of its people. Hence their destructive Net Zero, Open Border and Lockdown & Regulatory insanity. They are all in the grip of an equality and identity cult which is tearing our society to shreds. And incredibly – despite the evidence of their inadequacy and our danger – the British people appear ready to vote for the Big Daddy of the Progressive State and its broken useless Blob – the mendacious vacuous identitarian Labour Party. Strange days indeed.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Succinctly put Walter.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Cornish

Seriously? That word salad of right wing talking points and conspiracy theories is your idea of “succinct”?
I’d hate to see what you consider verbose!

andy young
andy young
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

They get voted for because of the free money they provide. I keep thinking it’s going to run out, but then they just borrow another few trillion …

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Lots of illnesses apparently whose symptoms include believing one’s someone else. Not everyone’s indulged though. Just try saying you believe you are Emperor Bonaparte.

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
2 months ago

I realise that politics is the world where self-awareness goes to die but this is something else. Sturgeon was always the most colossally overrated politician I can recall seeing and also the most rumbled. Not apparently though in certain quarters.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  Simon Phillips

I feel a Sturgeon Truss roadshow coming on. For a “shy girl” her confidence seems completely bullet proof.

Jaden Johnson
Jaden Johnson
2 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

A Sturgeon Truss podcast would be a glorious thing – two utter fabulists talking past each other, each convinced of their own blamelessness and rectitude. THE REST IS DELUSION? Calling Mr Lineker!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago
Reply to  Jaden Johnson

He can run it with his mate Alastair Campbell.
It would be like an amoeba, bacteria and a virus having a conversation about self-awareness.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 months ago

There is a mental delusion called Capgras Syndrome, during which a person becomes convinced that someone in their life has been secretly replaced with an identical duplicate. ……. in many ways the version of Sturgeon in front of me seemed to bear only the vaguest of relations to her historical doppelganger North of the Border.”
Wee Nicola was able to get away with these bizarre re-inventions of the very recent past because a broadly supportive press pack never seemed to confront her with earlier pronouncements that were 180 degrees out from the position she was currently taking – on a whole host of subjects.
As I’ve noted previously, there is a tendency among the leftist media to extol the virtues of their preferred leaders for what they represent, rather than what they actually did, or how the nation benefitted from their time in office. Any objective review of Sturgeon’s time in office would make for pretty unflattering reading, as would Jacinda Ardern’s or Justin Trudeau’s – even more so Merkel or Obama’s – yet they are fêted as statesmen having done remarkably little to earn such accolades.
The SNP provided a useful camparison against a very unpopular Tory Govt in Westminster, and the media played that for all it was worth. UKIP and Donald Trump were lumped in with Orban and Bolsonaro as ugly nationalists. Nationalism was akin to Nazism, if you read the Guardian. Yet the SNP’s clearly anglophobic nationalism never seemed to get any pushback.
The media played a very large part in how Ms Sturgeon – despite the pitiable shambles she made of devolved powers – was still able to boast on stepping down “I enjoy approval ratings after eight years in government which most leaders would give their right arms for.” There was almost no scrutiny of the very obvious failings of her govt. It should have been those failures that brought her down – long before her doomed efforts to convince us that simply uttering the words could transform men into women, or the bilking of funds donated to the Independence war chest being used to prop up the party.
Ms Sturgeon – abetted by this pliant presspack – was able to sell lie that Scotland is more internationalist, more welcoming, more “European” than those ghastly “wee Englanders” south of the border. That the caring, sharing Scots would welcome any outsiders and fold them into their ample, comforting bosom.
I made the point serially over several years, but obviously don’t have the platform to hammer it home – no one else seemed to counter this narrative – even though it was palpably untrue.
Never judge someone’s utterances when everything’s going fine. How they react under pressure will be what gives you their true measure. Perhaps the press could have reminded these oh-so hospitable Europhile Scots of Ms Sturgeon’s earlier reaction to José Manuel Barroso, then President of the Commission, when he countered the SNP’s assertion that an Independent Scotland could remain part of the EU, stating: “(A) new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the EU and the treaties would no longer apply on its territory” – a position backed up by the then Council president Herman van Rompuy, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy and Commission VP Viviane Reding.
Sturgeon’s remarkably vitriolic response was to announce “There are 160,000 EU nationals from other states living in Scotland, ….. If Scotland was outside Europe, they would lose the right to stay here.’ That threat was amplified by Robin McAlpine, who jumped in to say that Scotland would only “be out the EU for as long as we can afford to put every single EU citizen in this country on an EasyJet and send them back to their countries”. 
Just imagine, if you can, how the BBC would have framed such a jingoistic outburst if a Tory PM had spoken those words. 
Yet even though the UK’s position was always that EU Nationals were welcome to stay (in return for reciprocal rights for UK nationals in the EU), wee Nicola endlessly criticised Westminster for their approach and insisted she had always wanted EU nationals to remain. “As EU citizens in the UK you have had to endure years of careless indecision on what the future holds for your lives, your careers and your families… The hardest part of dealing with Brexit has been meeting EU citizens across Scotland, who want to stay here but who do not know what steps they need to take and whether their rights will be secured.” 
I’m prepared to be corrected but I’m not sure I ever saw anyone in the British media actually push back against such obvious untruths. How is it, given their appalling track record with every one of their devolved powers, and their blatant xenophobia, that the SNP largely got a free ride from so much of the British and European press?
The SNP’s record in Govt – by almost any available metric – has been much worse than the Tory’s, though you’d be forgiven for not noticing if you relied on a supportive press to inform you.
La Sturgeon’s re-invention as an Anglophile, bibliophile, beacon of financial probity and rectitude is no more than one would expect.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
2 months ago

What we’ve been witnessing is less Scottish nationalism but the radical separation of a ‘university class’ from the rest of society, educated or otherwise.
This cultural bloc of political administrators, NGO staff/leaders, media/HE professionals and civil servants has appeared revealingly pronounced in Scotland thanks to devolution of a small country.
On Net Zero and gender, they have been allowed free rein with the slimmest notion of democratic accountability. I suspect they have mostly been driven by a large student share of the voting electorate, which reveals the importance of the modern university in producing and reproducing this ‘progressive stratum’ that now seems ominpresent in directing political discourse while ensuring state adminstration.
All of which entails that Mrs Sturgeon will be very welcome in English literary and music festivals until a Labour government is elected, her people take power once again, and where I can’t see her playing an insignificant role in deciding the direction of the UK (towards single monetary union).

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

University class is a misnomer. Brainwashed class is better. Unfortunately not bright enough see through bs.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago

an event poster displayed onstage directly before Sturgeon’s interview showed a naked female standing crotch-deep in a lake, elective mastectomy scars glinting where breasts used to be

Not Sturgeon herself I hope!

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago

while decrying toxic masculinity

Shame we didn’t get more on this. Like many, Sturgeon is a feminist first and a trans supporter second. More insight into her misandry would have been welcome.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Feminist support for transgenderism comes from the mistaken belief that women who transition to men will be better men, and men who transition to women will no longer be guilty of the sin of toxic masculinity. It’s all magical thinking of course.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Dear men, we would like you to be more like women, show your emotions, don’t be stoic, have a good cry, watch chick flicks wear makeup and listen to ABBA.

Ps Please carry on using the male loos as normal.

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0 0
2 months ago

Reminds me of a similar talk between Polly Toynbee and Melissa Benn at a north London book launch last summer. Absolute determination to avoid mentioning Genderism from both panellists and packed audience (of similar class and vintage) when discussing youth & education, felt pathological, at least to me. I regret I lacked the nerve to break the barrier.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 months ago

YET AGAIN, I’ve posted a comment and, several hours later, it still hasn’t appeared.

Dennis Learad
Dennis Learad
2 months ago

Sturgeon the tip of the iceburg in the SNP, if an honest forensic team set about payments made from the public and party purses sanctioned by the SNP members the party would be history

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
2 months ago

People were willing to pay 65 quid to listen to N. Sturgeon? Summon the men in white coats.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago

I hereby, and in front of you all, so as God Is My Witness, deny Ms Sturgeon the right to orbit around me. Even experimentally.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
2 months ago

The always engagig Kathleen Stock has exceeded herself today. She skewers the fallen fantasist with accuracy and coruscating wit.

McLovin
McLovin
2 months ago

Nicola Sturgeon is a charlatan – always has been. The amazing thing is how a lot of people in Scotland, not even SNP supporters, thought that she had/has integrity, common sense etc. You can put that down to nationalism with a small n. Southerners have no reason to be taken in by her though.

David Murphy
David Murphy
2 months ago

So the author, Ms Stock shows no bias, then. I’m so glad to see that the spirit of the, “Modest Proposal” is thriving as an object lesson in how one describes an actual event; no facts, they’re not needed.

william langdale
william langdale
2 months ago

Kathleen Stock is still the best writer here.I love the line “the creation of an utterly fantastical world, bearing practically no relation to the actual one” as this pretty much sums up every bit of identity politics and most of the TV we see.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago

“I just have this belief that people should be allowed to be who they are, feel comfortable, respected, safe and able to live with dignity as who they want to be,”
The platitudinous, water-is-wet nature of this statement notwithstanding, it’s a nice sentiment. Pity that Sturgeon never applied it to women who did not want men in their private spaces, regular people who did not want their everyday speech policed and regulated, and children who were no longer allowed to simply grow up.
I truly despise people like her, people who actively cause harm to others and then engage in these pitiful rehab tours to justify their actions. But even more, I despise their enablers.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
2 months ago

While we’re at it, where’s that luxury RV found in the driveway, not to mention the 660k in party funds trousered by her husband the party treasurer?

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

SNP has no money.
What they have is in reality subsidy from English taxpayers.
The sooner Barnet formula is ended the better.
Not likely under Labour.

john d rockemella
john d rockemella
1 month ago

Marxist beliefs! She is an awful person who belongs in the put of hell. Altruism is based on commonality and empathy of the people, to bring them up and deliver a common goal which society can work to achieve. I think she may actually be he, all she talked about was trans rights, all governments effectively mandated medical interventions which all the anti-vaxxers we seemingly right, why we didnt question this new technology i do not know. She is evil, but that is the system these days, she is part of the neo-liberal elite which has failed all of society.

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
1 month ago

‘paying £65 per day ticket to feel appalled about the state of the world and the Tories, but rather better about themselves.’

Excellent summation of the concerned luvvies bitter about how their old school friends opted for a differentcourse. George Monbiot’s cheerleaders are the worst of the lot.

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
1 month ago

This is so psychologically acute it’s almost painful to read. Professor Stock’s last paragraph is entirely accurate – the symbiotic relationship between grifters like Sturgeon (or anyone sufficiently distant who is the current not-Tory du jour in the beating hearts of our London media; the fawning over Labour’s Scottish leader is currently approaching emetic levels) and the well-spoken too-posh-to-suffer advocates of identity politics (think “FBPE”) is real, and is a disease, and harms the rest of us who continue to attempt to live in the real world. Brava Professor Stock.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
1 month ago

Don’t worry, Ms Stock. 99.999999% of the English won’t be taken in by this rebrand.