That she and her party were a disaster for Scotland, there can be little doubt. The catastrophic list of abysmal failures in just about every aspect of our national life are testament to an administration that was impotent in the face of the deep problems they had to face. It is invidious to repeat, because we know what they are, but it seems that the failure was catastrophic in everything they touched and these failures are only amplified when we scramble around to identify what might be the achievements.
Perhaps the biggest failure, in common with so many administrations, was their inability to see the limitations of their office. A lack of appreciation of the first responsibilities of government, which is to protect the citizens from bullies outside and in. There was a naïve aspiration to reach beyond these responsibilities and pursue impossible dreams without the qualifications or the authority to do so. So that, rather than focus on things they could do, they got lost in pursuing things that they never could. It is not in the gift of any governments to solve the deep problems that afflict our society. The problem is thinking that they can.
Many people including some of her fiercest critics have paid tribute to her management of the Covid crisis where she showed a level of leadership when others, notably the Westminster government, were dithering. It is hard to deny, but there is an underlying assumption that that there was in fact a real crisis and a real pandemic. Leadership, in itself, is of no advantage if the narrative is suspect and this one certainly was.
I believe it was a disaster for Scotland, but then, I am not convinced anyone could have done better, perhaps worse. Equally I am not necessarily convinced that the new incumbent, whoever that might be, will be able to turn things round in any significant or meaningful way. So, for those who are, metaphorically, ‘dancing on graves’ be careful what you wish for.
I met her once, chatting with folk over tea following a funeral. She was pleasant charming and, in many ways, an ordinary likeable person. But that’s the world we live in. The person in the media and in the public eye turns out not to be the person in real life. She will be 53 this year. She has been ‘Nicola Sturgeon the politician’ all her life and wants to spend a bit of time on ‘Nicola Sturgeon the human being’. I hope she can do that and, despite my sense of foreboding, wish her heir every success in governing with Wisdom, Integrity, Justice and Compassion.
First rate piece, one of your best.