Nicola Sturgeon has had a change of heart. Gone are the ultimatums, the stridency and the self-righteous rhetoric. In an interview with today’s Daily Record, we see Sturgeon the Introspective:
‘Brexit gave me an insight, maybe that I didn’t have before, of how No voters would have felt had the referendum on independence gone the other way.’
We see Sturgeon the Pluralist:
‘Scotland belongs to those who oppose independence just as much as it belongs to those who support independence.’
There is even Sturgeon the Collegial. On a Labour proposal to include a ‘remain, but with more powers’ option in any future Scottish independence referendum, she says:
‘If they bring forward a credible proposition, then of course there has to be a discussion…’
Who are you and what have you done with the woman who routinely accuses opponents of ‘talking down’ their own country?
Could the SNP leader’s sudden transformation from Dolores Umbridge to Luna Lovegood be connected to the fact she has been forced to campaign in Lanarkshire? Or to her futile pleas for party activists not to canvass for a candidate dropped for anti-Semitism? Or to the stubborn failure of the polls to show the Scottish Tories being punished for Brexit?
Sturgeon went into the campaign combative, declaiming Brexit and touting Scexit — Scotland leaving the UK — as the only way to escape Boris Johnson’s wicked right-wing plot to enforce the outcome of a referendum. In the fading hours before polls open, she is forced to feign humility and tone down her bellicose rhetoric about Scexit.
What went wrong? First off, let’s not overstate things. This is a wobble and has come late enough in the campaign that it might not filter through before Thursday.
Polls still show the SNP winning the election north of the border but what looked like a landslide now hints at being a more modest victory.