Nicola sturgeon

Sturgeon’s government broke the law (again)

The finest QCs in all of Twitterdom have made much out of the Johnson government, firing off law suits at the drop of the hat. But while token victories at London’s High Court are trumpeted as earth-shattering defeats for the wicked Tories, the shenanigans of Nicola Sturgeon’s government in Scotland get far less publicity in the Fleet Street press. For this week the SNP regime was (again) found guilty of breaching laws regarding freedom of information. For the Scotsman newspaper has won a decisive victory this week, forcing ministers to publish legal advice they received about a second independence referendum after a thirteen-month battle between the paper and the Scottish Government. It will be the first

Another day, another SNP scandal

Dogs bark, cows moo and the SNP duck their failings. It seems as though every day brings fresh revelations about Nicola Sturgeon’s regime in Scotland as more and more questions are asked about her party’s record in office. The only novelty is the sheer range of scandals which can outrage, shock and rile: last week it was the terf war and her plans to rig the electorate. Today it’s ferries and the news that, once again, proper records were not kept of the Scottish Government’s mismanaged takeover of the Ferguson shipyard. For Audit Scotland has now demanded a fresh review about how an initial £97 million deal for two vessels spiralled into a quarter of

Will Nicola Sturgeon now resign?

The blessed Nicola has been out on the campaign trail in recent days, spreading the good news and decrying that wicked Boris Johnson’s non-believing band of heretic Tories. The bad king’s woes down in London have proved a godsend to Saint Nicola the nationalist, ever eager to lead her people to that land of milk and honey otherwise known as an independent Scotland. Naturally the sinless Sturgeon was among the first to call for Johnson to quit over partygate, preaching how ‘basic decency’ meant he should go for breaking lockdown rules. ‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!’ For just four days after demanding the heathen Johnson go, it seems the good

Terf war grips Scottish government

It is said in Westminster that Boris Johnson likes to surround his 5ft 6in Chancellor with tall ministers to make him feel small. And up at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon has clearly taken a leaf from the Prime Minister’s book, judging by the ministers with whom she surrounds herself. After suffering a reversal at last year’s elections, Sturgeon was forced to take the Scottish Greens into government: a marriage of political convenience but one that no doubt reaffirms Humza Yousaf’s faith in his own intellectual prowess. For the Greens are led by a duumvirate of Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, a man diminutive both in size and in stature. The devolutionary double act serve as the

Nicola Sturgeon’s adolescent troubles

After the Derek Mackay scandal, you’d have thought the SNP would want to distance itself from 16 year-olds. Far from it, it seems, for the bairns of tomorrow are central to Nicola Sturgeon’s ambitions today. Support for independence is flagging. The public sector services are creaking. Calls for an investigation into the ferries fiasco are growing. So, if you are First Minister, how do you regain the initiative?   The answer, apparently, is to let kids become MSPs too. For this weekend, the SNP unveiled their latest constitutional wheeze: reducing the minimum age of election candidacy from 18 at present to just 16 for Scottish parliament and local council elections.  The move would bring it

The fightback against Sturgeon’s secret state

Few of Nicola Sturgeon’s promises have aged worse than her pledge to be ‘the most accessible First Minister ever’. The SNP launched its council elections campaign yesterday but refused to invite any print journalists: an effective press blackout designed to shield the party’s leader from questions on policy. Some newspapers declined to cover the event; others denounced it as a sham. As Conor Matchett of the Scotsman points out, the move is in keeping with the party’s long-term media strategy: a broad distrust of the print press and a belief that independence and SNP support will be won online and on TV and not through legacy media. Newspaper sales have halved since

Nicola Sturgeon’s secret state

As Westminster grapples with the P&O scandal, a very different farce over ferries has been playing out in Scotland. In the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, a Glasgow shipbuilder went bust and was rescued by a Scottish National party adviser. It was later awarded a £97 million government contract to build two ferries. Neither emerged. The cost now stands at £240 million and last month Scots learned that there will be another eight-month delay to the boats. What happened? Why did so much public money change hands? Was the taxpayer swindled? Those trying to get to the bottom of these questions have hit a problem common to Nicola Sturgeon’s

The SNP’s ferry mess

Eight years ago, and with the independence referendum one month away, the Clyde’s last commercial shipyard went into administration. The collapse of Ferguson’s not only threatened the jobs of 70 shipbuilders: it was an inconvenient symbol of industrial decline right as the SNP was trying to parlay rhetoric about an independent Scotland being ‘one of the world’s wealthiest nations’ into a Yes vote on polling day. The Scottish government intervened and quickly arranged for a billionaire adviser to then First Minister Alex Salmond to buy Ferguson’s. One year later, the Scottish government awarded Ferguson Marine, as it now was, a £97m fixed price contract to build two ferries but the

Did the SNP leak the Salmond inquiry report?

Cast your minds back to March 2021. Back then, Britain was emerging from lockdown, the Americans were in place in Afghanistan and Thorntons still had shops. Up in Edinburgh meanwhile, the Salmond Inquiry was raging. The timely leak from a parliamentary committee which concluded that Nicola Sturgeon had misled Holyrood prompted a flurry of accusations as to who was responsible. Now though, a year on, an answer might finally be available. For Andy Wightman, then an independent Member of the Scottish Parliament, has used the one year anniversary of the leak from the committee to speak out about who he believes is responsible. Wightman was one of the nine MSPs on the

Now the cybernats come for students

Something is rotten in the state of Scotland. No, not the creaking CalMac ferry fleet but rather the health of free speech in the birthplace of the Enlightenment. The warning signs have been there for years now, what with the Hate Crime Act, the Scottish government’s efforts to evade Holyrood scrutiny and the SNP’s own intolerance for any kind of internal party dissent. But now a minor episode at a leading university perhaps best illustrates the sorry state of the right to dissent in Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland. Students at the University of St Andrews last week published a short satirical article in their magazine the Saint, making fun of relations between London and Edinburgh. Titled ‘Och Aye

Sturgeon’s pay rise grandstanding

After apologising to witches and advocating nuclear armageddon, what next for Nicola Sturgeon? Why, a healthy dollop of virtue-signalling, of course. The selfie-loving satrap spotted an opportunity to put some clear blue water between her and Westminster this morning, leaping on a tweet from today’s No. 10 briefing that confirmed Boris Johnson would accept the forthcoming pay rise being given by IPSA to all MPs. Sturgeon declared to her 1.4 million followers on Twitter that: Ministers in @scotgov have not taken a pay rise since 2008 and I can confirm we will not do so this year either. We donate increases back to the public purse for spending on services. Where

Nicola Sturgeon’s Potemkin parliament

Is the word of a Scottish government minister worth anything? The question arises in the wake of the SNP’s Hate Crime Act which, among much else, creates the offence of ‘stirring up hatred’ against ‘transgender identity’. Feminist groups warned early on that the Bill’s language could see people who don’t believe that men can become women (or vice versa) prosecuted for what had hitherto been treated in law as legitimate expression. Prominent among these groups was MurrayBlackburnMackenzie (MBM), a policy analysis outfit whose principals boast extensive scholarship and years of experience inside the civil service. One of MBM’s principals, Lucy Hunter Blackburn, gave evidence to the Holyrood justice committee in

Sturgeon: Nato shouldn’t rule out no-fly zone

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

Five times the SNP delayed indyref2

It’s groundhog day up in Scotland as once more the SNP have found a reason to suggest why their desperately-needed, long-overdue second independence referendum… might have to be delayed again. For, despite a pliant press, a captive state and 15 years in power, the tartan nationalists are still unable to breach the magic figure of 50 per cent support for independence.  Having demanded a second referendum barely after the dust had settled on the first one, the SNP don’t seem so keen on holding it, given the lack of any sizeable shift in their favour. In light of Ian Blackford’s latest intervention, below are just five reasons given by the SNP since

Nicola Sturgeon’s pensions untruths

If Prince Harry really does want to stamp out ‘disinformation’ he ought to have a look at what’s going up in Scotland. Two of the SNP’s leading lights have claimed in recent weeks that Scottish pensions would be guaranteed in a post-Scexit nation, despite both the UK government and independent pension experts pointing out the opposite. And now the nationalist-in-chief, the great- greivance-merchant herself Nicola Sturgeon has decided to throw her weight behind the claim. In an interview last night with ITV’s Representing Borders programme, the First Minister said that, while she accepts ‘on an ongoing basis it will be for the Scottish government to fund Scottish pensions’ – a tacit rebuke to

Sturgeon skews her stats (again)

The statistical shenanigans of the SNP have been highlighted by Mr S before but it’s always worth highlighting when the nationalist Holyrood government gets it wrong (again). At First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon told colleagues that England’s infection rate is 20 per cent higher than that of Scotland, according to ONS figures. A surprising figure, given that the ONS estimated infection rate was 1 in 20 for both nations yesterday. The SNP leader said: In terms of the ONS figures this week, infection levels in England right now are over 20 per cent higher than in Scotland. I don’t think it’s a competition but if Douglas Ross wants to make these comparisons, then

The SNP’s bullying hypocrisy

The ‘baby-faced assassin’ has struck again. William Wragg, the backbench Boris-basher, lobbed another grenade at the door of No. 10 today with his comments at the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee about the tactics being used by the Johnson regime. Wragg, who possesses the name of a septuagenarian but the appearance of an adolescent, claimed that his party’s whips are trying to undermine colleagues opposed to the current leadership. He told an ashen-faced Steve Barclay that No. 10 staff, special advisers and government ministers had said there would be embarrassing stories released to the press if MPs did not support the Prime Minister. Wragg also claimed No. 10 had threatened to withdraw funding


Kent Tory Burns Sturgeon

It’s Burns night on Tuesday and after two years of pandemic politics, what better time to celebrate the Union? Yesterday evening Tory unionists piled into the opulent splendour of the the Cavalry and Guards Club for the London branch of the Scottish Conservatives’ annual celebration of the national poet. Steerpike’s spies were in attendance to enjoy the traditional bagpipes and whisky, with Dame Eleanor Laing delivering a magisterial toast to the haggis in her wonderful Paisley accent — a job for which her stints in the Speaker’s chair have certainly proved good training. Scottish leader Douglas Ross was the star turn, having found himself caught between a Holyrood/Westminster tug-of-war in recent days after

To save the Union, ignore Gordon Brown

As he blasts his way through the remaining support beams of the UK constitution, Gordon Brown is doing more to deliver Scottish independence than the SNP. The former Prime Minister is reportedly poised to recommend that Labour adopt ‘devo max’ as a policy, which would see the SNP-run Scottish parliament handed yet another tranche of powers. Only defence and foreign policy would remain in the hands of Westminster: everything else would be at the whim of Nicola Sturgeon. The theory is that by increasing the powers of Holyrood, the Scots’ appetite for independence will be sated. But is no evidence for this, and 23 years of evidence against it. From

Sturgeon backtracks on Covid (again)

Oh dear. It was just two weeks ago that Mr S remarked on Nicola Sturgeon’s unfortunate habit of sneering at journalists who criticised her Covid policies – only to then quietly backtrack days later, without apology or remorse. And now another U-turn can be added to the growing list, after the First Minister today announced she would cut the self-isolation period to seven days. The move is in keeping with Edinburgh’s record throughout the pandemic in moving glacially slow to recognise the wisdom of anything done in London. For England changed its Covid rules on 22 December so that infected individuals can stop isolating after seven days rather than ten, so