Gradually, then suddenly. That is how the political career of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon – a regrettably towering figure of modern British politics – seems to have crumbled. She announced her resignation earlier today, saying at Bute House that she will step down as soon as her successor is chosen. Her humiliating climbdown over her gender reforms, sparked by the sickening ‘Isla Bryson’ revelations, was undoubtedly the immediate cause for her downfall. But in truth her political project has been on a collision course with political reality and common sense for some time.
In her resignation speech earlier today, Sturgeon held forth on the state of politics. She said it had become too polarised, unreasoned and irrational – suggesting this is partly why she had to step down. What slipped by the usual supine suspects in the media, who were naturally bowled over by Sturgeon’s homily, was the industrial-strength brass neck of it. Here we had a politician who has been campaigning for the right of male rapists to be housed in women’s prisons calling for more reason and rationality. Here we had a politician who dismissed her gender-critical opponents not just as transphobes, but as misogynists and racists to boot, calling for everyone to tone down the rhetoric. It was ballsy, to say the least.
The self-styled centrist sensibles of the commentariat, those now mourning Saint Nicola’s ascension (no doubt to a plum job in the international technocracy), look all the more clueless in the wake of the Scottish gender debacle. That row has exploded the myth that Sturgeon and the nominally left-of-centre pedigree to which she belongs are in any way sensible or centrist, let alone progressive. These people advocate for ridiculous things and then ignore the blatantly obvious consequences of them. They think they’re on the ‘right side of history’, because they think the hurt feelings of sex offenders should be prioritised over women’s safety.
That Sturgeon at first doubled down on her reforms, even though two-thirds of Scottish voters opposed them, underlines just how deranging gender ideology can be to its adherents. She even thought she could pick a fight with Westminster over them, convinced that Rishi Sunak’s decision to block the bill under Section 35 of the Scotland Act would drive a wedge between Scots and Westminster, proving Scotland was under the thumb of England. Quite aside from the nonsense of this argument (the bill was blocked because it interfered with GB-wide legislation), it clearly has not landed with the Scottish public. Half of Scots, according to a recent poll, support Westminster’s decision to veto the bill. Only a third oppose it. Even SNP voters are split on the bill itself.
What we have in Sturgeon’s resignation is woke lunacy colliding with the wisdom of ordinary Scots. And not before time. Indeed, while the gender row may have done it for Sturgeon in the end, it also illuminated all that has long been rotten about the SNP: a faux-progressive, authoritarian party that, despite the Braveheart routine, holds Scots, their views and their values in contempt. Since coming to power in 2007, the SNP has set about trying to manage, surveil and re-educate Scots – as seen with its censorious Hate Crime Act, its locking up of offensive football fans and its thankfully thwarted ‘named person’ scheme, which would have assigned a state guardian to every child.
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