Nicola sturgeon

Alex Salmond teases a reconciliation with Sturgeon

Even in her absence, Nicola Sturgeon dominated Iain Dale’s discussion with Alex Salmond and David Davis at the Edinburgh festival. Dale invited them both to comment on George Galloway’s suggestion that Sturgeon is ‘Mrs Thatcher in a kilt.’ Salmond flatly rejected this caricature. (Evidently he knows that criticising her in public will do him no favours.) Davis also dismissed the comparison. ‘Mrs Thatcher’s favourite pastime was arguing with people. Nicola wasn’t like that,’ he said, recalling the meetings he held with her during his term as Brexit secretary. ‘Nicola was very passive, very difficult to engage with. She adopted the image of a stern, domineering woman – which a lot

The SNP’s fall could be as rapid as its rise

Scottish Nationalists are putting a brave face on the latest opinion poll showing Scottish Labour apparently winning the race for Westminster. The Times/Panelbase survey suggests that Labour is on course to return 26 Scottish seats at the next general election against the SNP’s 21. The nationalist are currently the third largest party in Westminster with 48 MPs, so this would be a shocking reversal of fortune. The survey was conducted between 12 and 15 June – just after Nicola Sturgeon had been arrested and released under Operation Branchform – the police investigation into irregularities in party funds and fundraising. Ach, it’s not as bad as it looks, say the Nats.

The timing of Sturgeon’s arrest couldn’t be worse for the SNP

The arrest of Nicola Sturgeon by police investigating allegations of fraud within the SNP was hardly unexpected. After all, her husband – the party’s former chief executive, Peter Murrell – and the SNP’s past treasurer, Colin Beattie MSP, have already spent time helping officers with their enquiries. It was only a matter of time until the cops got to Sturgeon.  Nonetheless, the shock of news – broken in a tweet from Police Scotland at 2.29pm on Sunday afternoon – that she was in custody as a suspect was undiminished.  Until her surprise resignation as SNP leader – and, thus, first minister of Scotland – in February, Sturgeon was widely considered

Nicola Sturgeon and the truth about motorhomes

Watching the narrative arc of the Sturgeon family campervan – removed from the drive of Nicola Sturgeon’s mother-in-law as part of an SNP fraud probe – is an opportunity to review the campervan. Or motorhome, if you prefer. The Mrs Murrell model is a stylish Niesmann + Bischoff ‘iSmove’, priced at £110,000 or thereabouts (her son, Peter Murrell, it should be said, has been released without charge pending further investigation). There’s an irony in being accused of embezzling money for an independence campaign and then supposedly spending it on driving away. Nationalism is about standing still, but campervans contain people and people contain multitudes. There is a cognitive dissonance between

The arrest of Peter Murrell

16 min listen

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, has been arrested today in connection with an investigation into the SNP’s finances. James Heale talks to Fraser Nelson and Conservative Home editor Paul Goodman on the episode. They also discuss Trump’s arrest and ask whether Suella Braverman might need a new seat. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Why I’m glad to see the back of Nicola Sturgeon

I see Scotland as the brain of the UK, with Wales as the soul and Northern Ireland as the heart. Though I like being English – our lovely language is second to none – we’re probably not the most sensible nation on earth, so I’d call us the sense of humour. Because of this, I’ve always thought that if I was a Scot, I’d probably be a separatist. It annoyed me intensely when during the referendum the likes of David Bowie (by then resident in the USA for many years) stuck his oar in, getting his mate Kate Moss to accept a Brit award for him and pass on the

Time is running out for Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has led a charmed life. Even her sternest critics agree that she is immensely talented, one of the UK’s most successful politicians, a master of detail and an effective communicator. She has been at the pinnacle of public life for two decades. But all things must pass. Nearly ten years after she took over as leader from Alex Salmond just about everything is going wrong at once. Hospital waiting lists lengthen, teacher strikes roll on, council service cuts deepen, the ambitious plan for a Social Care Commission has stalled. Across the board the SNP government appears to have made a right royal mess of just about every policy for which

Will the Scottish trans row go to court?

15 min listen

Westminster and Holyrood are going head to head on Scotland’s newly passed Gender Recognition Bill. Last night, the UK government blocked the legislation from Edinburgh, citing that the powers it gives – requiring those identifying as a different gender to only live in that gender for three months, and reducing the age of self-identification to 16 – would contravene the UK’s Equality Act. In the end, it may be the courts that decide. Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and Kate Andrews. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Sturgeon’s swipe at Scottish voters

There was a lot more rubbish than usual at the Edinburgh festivals this August. With refuse workers out on strike, the debris piled high in the Scottish capital and other cities, much to the dismay of visiting tourists. But one attendee who remains clearly undaunted is Nicola ‘friend of the stars’ Sturgeon, who last night returned to make her fifth appearance at Edinburgh’s festivals to interview pro-independence actor Brian Cox. And it wasn’t just the local bins overflowing with garbage, as Sturgeon and Cox shared in an orgy of congratulatory nationalist self-love. ‘I just don’t give a fuck any more,’ he declared. ‘I can’t wait to reach that stage,’ she replied.

The gender debate is getting nastier

Elaine Miller is one of the grown-ups. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, with a specialism in pelvic health. She also jokes about it. Her comedy show, Viva Your Vulva: The Hole Story is currently playing at the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s a good one: the production has won awards and a five-star review. Miller is forthright – her audiences are warned about ‘strong language and swearing’ – but her performance is more than mere entertainment. In Miller’s words, The aim of the show is that the audience leave knowing what a pelvic floor is, what it does and where to take theirs if they think it

Sunak and Truss turn their guns on Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has a target painted on her back. Sadly for her, it’s the size of Ben Nevis. Failing public bodies, collapsing school grades and a census as poorly received as Jerry Sadowitz’s Edinburgh Fringe show means taking aim at the SNP is a popular and easy win. The Tory leadership bandwagon rattles its way into Scotland tonight, for its first and only hustings there. The debate in Perth provides the perfect opportunity for the most dangerous drinking game ever concocted: imbibe every time someone bashes Sturgeon and her barmy army. Paisley-raised Liz Truss, who brands herself as ‘a child of the union’, said she would ‘never let anyone talk

Sturgeon fires back at Truss

Miaow. The claws are out in the Tory leadership race, after Liz Truss took a pop at Nicola Sturgeon. The frontrunner to be the next PM told a Tory hustings last week that the First Minister was an ‘attention-seeker’ who ought to be ‘ignored’ – a judgement that won her plaudits among the party faithful but raised eyebrows north of the border. And now the media-savvy Sturgeon has fired her own riposte to Truss, telling Iain Dale at the Edinburgh fringe about Truss’s own attention-seeking antics. Sturgeon claimed that when she met Truss at last year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow, one of the few things Truss was interested in was

Sturgeon isn’t an ‘attention seeker’

There is a lot of pearl-clutching over Liz Truss’s dismissive remarks about Nicola Sturgeon. Much of it involves conflating a dig at the leader of the SNP with a grave insult to Scotland. This is symptomatic not only of the fetid culture of grievance that permeates Scottish politics but of the steady merging of the party of government and the state itself. Were Emmanuel Macron to brand Boris Johnson an ‘attention seeker’, these same guardians of the public discourse would scoff at the suggestion it represented a slight against the British people. In fact, they would regard anyone proposing such an interpretation as a hysterical ideologue and perhaps even a

Letters: What Sturgeon has got wrong

Sturgeon’s single issue Sir: Nicola Sturgeon needs to be careful what she wishes for. Declaring that the next general election will be concerned solely with the issue of Scottish independence is, as you say, ‘a constitutional absurdity’ (‘Sturgeon’s bluff’, 2 July). Heads of government who stipulate single-issue elections are on a hiding to nothing, and rightly so. Theresa May’s ‘Brexit’ election in 2017 turned out badly for her, although at least she kept her job (just). Ted Heath wasn’t so lucky in 1974 (‘Who rules Britain?’), ditto Churchill in 1945 (‘Who won the war?’) or Stanley Baldwin in 1923 (‘Free trade or protection?’). Even the 2019 election was about more

Another Scottish independence referendum is coming

Despite what the SNP and its supporters insist, Nicola Sturgeon did not ‘announce’ a second referendum on independence today. Far from it. Her statement to the Scottish parliament quietly accepted that a referendum is highly unlikely to take place on 19 October next year. The 2014 referendum – an act of self-determination that inconveniently produced the wrong outcome for the SNP – was an agreed plebiscite. All parties and Scotland’s government agreed it should take place and that its outcome would be politically, if not legally, binding. This is still the path Sturgeon would prefer. Holding such a referendum, however, requires a section 30 order by the British government, which


Sturgeon plans to sue herself

Here we go again then. Nicola Sturgeon has finally anounced her great Scexit wheeze: after years of making claims about another independence referendum, she’s finally announced a timetable at last. Thursday 19 October 2023 is now Scotland’s divinely-ordained date with destiny (according to the First Minister at least) with Sturgeon prepared to use the courts to achieve this, given the UK government’s continued intransigence. To do this, Sturgeon says she asked the Lord Advocate to consider referring to the Supreme Court the position of her referendum bill with regards to reserved matters; in effect, suing herself. She confirmed that the Lord Advocate has agreed to make a reference to the

Nicola Sturgeon’s women problem

It seems that Scotland isn’t the only thing failed by the SNP. Britain’s greatest grievance-merchants are (rightly) being hauled over the coals today for their treatment of Patrick Grady’s male victim, after Ian Blackford told a room of MPs last Tuesday that the disgraced sex pest had their ‘absolute full support.’ One of those who expressed support for Grady was fellow nat Amy Callaghan who is now, apparently, ‘truly sorry’ after telling the meeting that the SNP should be ‘rallying together around’ Grady. And all it took was a leaked recording and a public outcry — truly, the definition of contrition. Don’t worry though: it’s not just men that the SNP

Sturgeon squirms over Salmond

The economy is tanking, the public services are in peril. So what do you do if you’re Nicola Sturgeon? Promise another independence referendum! That’s right, the queen of the nats is out on tour again, dusting off all the great classics to keep her fanatical fan base happy. The First Minister will today publish the first in a ‘series of papers’ making the case for Scottish independence, amid much excited SNP chatter about a plebiscite in 2023. And why not? After all, the same trick worked for Sturgeon in 2016, 2017, 2018… Fortunately though, some of Scotland’s less pliant media have grown tired of yet more press conferences at which

Sturgeon’s record in eight graphs

Today, Nicola Sturgeon becomes the longest serving First Minister in the history of devolution. Surpassing Alex Salmond’s seven years, six months and five days. It’s a long time to be in charge: a full generation by some definitions. Certainly time enough to make your mark on a country with devolved powers unparalleled in the democratic world. But what difference has Sturgeon made in her time in office: 1. Life expectancy for Scots men and women has seen the sharpest fall in 40 years – accelerating in the time Sturgeon’s been in power.  Scottish men born today can expect to live 77 years, the lowest of any UK country (it’s 79

The SNP’s own goal hat-trick

It’s just one week to go until the local elections and up in Scotland, the SNP have sportingly decided to dedicate a day to highlighting the kind of successful administration which voters can expect if their party candidates are voted into office. For no less than three separate incidents happened in the last 24 hours which perfectly demonstrate the nats’ commitment to thrifty, frugal and competent government. First up was belated confirmation from Sturgeon’s deputy John Swinney that his colleagues blew more than £7 million of taxpayers’ money on a flawed Covid vaccine passport app. The Scottish Government pressed ahead with this initiative last year – despite numerous warnings that it wouldn’t