Fresh from apologising for the persecution of witches in the sixteenth century, Nicola Sturgeon has now jumped on to the next big challenge. You’d have thought the energy, cost-of-living and health crises might keep the First Minister occupied, not to mention the various issues around Scotland’s schools, transport links and criminal justice system.
Not a bit of it. For the nationalist-in-chief has found a new cause to involve herself in: international relations, an area specifically reserved for Westminster. Despite having no powers, mandate or army, Sturgeon today decided to take a swipe at Nato, using an interview with ITV to argue the defence bloc should review the idea of a ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine on a ‘day to day basis.’
This idea, attractive as it may seem to those appalled by Putin’s invasion, has been ruled out by virtually all western policymakers, on the grounds that it would necessitate Russian jets being shot down, were they to enter Ukrainian airspace. This would likely constitute an act of war with a nuclear state, potentially triggering the most gruesome kind of atomic apocalypse. Mr S isn’t surprised to see Sturgeon calling for an unfeasible and unenforceable policy; coherent thinking has never been a necessity in a party that last month claimed the UK would pay its pensioners’ benefits post-independence.
What is surprising is the Scottish government’s apparent desire to dictate Nato policy, when the SNP were in favour of pulling Scotland out of the military alliance and its ‘collective defence’ clause as recently as, er, 2012. The pillar of Nato’s strength has always been the American nuclear deterrent; quite the irony then that current SNP policy is to remove the country’s nuclear weapons if Scotland ever votes for independence.