Matt Kilcoyne

Nicola Sturgeon is not so different to Donald Trump

Nicola Sturgeon is not so different to Donald Trump
Nicola Sturgeon and Donald Trump (photo: Getty)
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Nicola Sturgeon sank to a new low this morning. The SNP leader bizarrely seemed to compare opposing a second independence referendum in Scotland to Trump refusing to concede the US election.

This is, of course, the same SNP leader who still refuses to accept the SNP’s 2014 referendum loss – a referendum her party claimed would be a ‘once in a generation’ vote. Perhaps Sturgeon should take a long hard look in the mirror before claiming that ‘politicians who rage against democracy don’t prevail’.

Let’s remember too, that as well as rejecting the decisive No vote in the independence referendum in 2014, Sturgeon has also raged against the British vote to leave the EU in 2016, conspired to overturn it again and again, and has done nothing but rage against UK general election results. And this is the same politician who used the Brexit delay to argue Remainers had a fresh opportunity to ‘stop Brexit’. Sturgeon is little different to Trump. She only respects democracy when it suits.

‘Power,’ Sturgeon says, ‘doesn’t belong to politicians – it belongs to the people.’ Except, of course, this year has been a powerful reminder that this isn’t very true. Certainly not in times of crisis. Sturgeon has implemented tiers and restrictions in Scotland without the necessary financial support being put in place beforehand, threatening businesses already on the brink — until the Chancellor stepped in to offer support on a UK wide basis. Now she wants travel bans between different parts of Scotland and to stop the dreadful, dastardly English from traversing up north. People’s lives, millions of them, have been put on hold and families cut off from one another by the whims of SNP politicians.

It’s not just in their rejection of democracy that Sturgeon resembles Trump. The dealings at the heart of the Scottish Government are hard to miss and grim to witness. Sturgeon’s husband has admitted to sending texts urging the police to be pressurised over the Alex Salmond case. An inquiry is currently examining the Scottish Government’s botched handling of allegations against Salmond when he was first minister. Yet Sturgeon refused to publish legal advice given to her government in the Salmond case even after MSPs demanded its release. Again and again, the SNP leader rages against transparency when it doesn’t fit her agenda.

Just like Trump, Sturgeon is a nativist with a complicated relationship with the truth. For Trump, it’s always the Mexicans down south. For Sturgeon, there is no societal ill that cannot be blamed on the English. Just recently, she enjoyed claiming, without any evidence, that coronavirus was spread to Scotland in the summer by the plague-ridden English.

Sturgeon also shares Trump’s love of selective polls. She’s very keen to share the recent spate of surveys suggesting that Scottish voters (just those based in Scotland of course, not those living elsewhere in our United Kingdom) would vote for independence if a referendum were held tomorrow. She is less keen on those showing Scots do not want a referendum in the near future, or those that show voters would reject independence if it would result in a hard border on the isle of Great Britain and hurt the economy. Or even ones saying Scots don’t want different rules this Christmas when visiting friends or family from other parts of the UK.

The First Minister shares with the current Tweeter-in-Chief a love of lambasting the media when it doesn’t go her way. Note as well her administration’s uneasy relationship with censorship. The Offensive Behaviour Act, repealed by opposition MSPs in 2018, had for years unfairly targeted football fans and failed to address actual sectarianism in Scotland. And just this month, SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said that journalists and theatre directors should be prosecuted under Scotland’s new hate crime law.

She enjoys too, as Trump does, the support of an angry online nationalist community, that pursue with vehemence those that question the sanctity of the message, or the inevitability of an independence referendum’s second coming.

Perhaps this where the comparisons between Trump and Sturgeon come to an end. Trump pursued an economic agenda that cut taxes and red tape, enabling one of the longest eras of prosperity in America’s history. Sturgeon, on the other hand, is an economic disaster. Despite the free ride given to the SNP by journalists in London, their actual record of delivery is incredibly poor. After a long period in power, there remains extraordinary levels of poverty and deprivation, shorter life expectancy, and drug dependency in Scotland. Not to mention the growing attainment gap between rich and poor students that Andrew Neil so ably highlighted yesterday, now he’s free from BBC impartiality rules.

We should not stand to be lectured about ignoring an election result by this First Minister. It’s time for her to start respecting results. And it’s time for Scots to start rejecting her divisive politics of the past.

Written byMatt Kilcoyne

Matt Kilcoyne is the deputy director of the Adam Smith Institute.

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