What has happened to the SNP’s usually slick media handling during this election campaign? In several recent interviews the famously sure-footed Nicola Sturgeon has struggled to sound credible when asked tricky questions. The bluff and bluster, learned from her mentor Alex Salmond, is still there, but at the same time there is a sense of a previously grounded authenticity slipping away.
In a revealing interview with Channel 4 News last week, Sturgeon was asked if she has conducted any economic analysis on the consequences of independence. Given the UK is now outside the EU (and hence we have clarity on the EU-UK trading relationship) and that Sturgeon wants to use this election as a gateway to independence, you would think this would be of some importance. But apparently not.
‘When we put the choice of independence before the Scottish people in a referendum, we will do what we did in 2014,’ she said. ‘We will set out a prospectus, we will do the analysis at that point, and we’ll let people in Scotland decide.’
This is odd given her administration managed to push out multiple pieces of detailed analysis on the economic impact of Brexit in the build up to the UK leaving the EU single market and customs union.
In a separate interview with ITV she was asked how she can justify the enormous spending commitments made in her manifesto when it is also her intention to achieve ‘Scexit’, thus cutting Scotland off from funding levels that come from being part of the UK. She effectively deflected the question, but again came across as unconvincing.
The interviewer, Peter Smith, raised a good point though.