Great analysis, as ever, and as depressing as usual for a Unionist. I wonder about Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity though. Is it based on her leadership of the idea and cause of the SNP, or actual service as First — and Deputy — Minister? Surely the Scots are wary of the SNP’s centralising tendencies, embodied by the Named Persons Bill?
Living in England, I’m generally unaware of the day to day debate in Scotland, and general contentment with the SNP as a government. Is the idea of the SNP actually more important than their activities as a government? Maybe the fact that their power base is a devolved assembly, they have the opportunity — like a local authority — to take credit for the good, and blame the bad on Westminster, but I’d be surprised if the Scots fell for that time and again. It seems pretty clear that Holyrood is its own centralising establishment, with its own career politcians, who are as cynical and calculating as those in London. Do you think SNP supporters — and Sturgeon’s wider fanbase — overlook their governance, in the hope of achieving Scottish independence, or are the Scots actually fundamentally more leftwing than the English, as the SNP claim?
I realise this has just been a collection of long questions, but I hope they’re interesting ones to think on. The Scottish government is showing worryingly statist attitudes in its policy — and the SNP have such a hefty majority in Holyrood they can practically govern as they please — that I thought there would be a significant backlash from a wide range of Scots, encompassing unionists and separatists. It would be depressingly self-loathing of Scots to actually support the SNP’s governance, which seems bent on portraying their own citizens as drunken, violent and racist, and seems just as disconnected from its electorate as its enemy parties in Westminster. Labour definitely can’t call the SNP ‘Tartan Tories’ any more. I’d love to know more, and I hope a Scottish liberalism challenges the SNP soon.