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She can take a script of utter fantasy and make her audience believe it is actual reality. Alice Through the Looking Glass would be an ideal movie for her – with a starring role as the Red Queen, allowing her to shout “off with their heads” at former close friends whom she now has no use of.

In the first full week of campaigning, we saw Nicola rattling out promises like a nuclear-powered Gatling Gun she can have no possible idea how to keep. Electoral bribe after electoral bribe was fired in every direction to make sure she hit a target somewhere – but who’s paying for the ammo? The election give-aways might be costed but how they will be afforded is beyond her ken.

There are no moral victories at the ballot box and no consolation prizes. The losing side sometimes tells itself otherwise to cushion the blow of another rejection. Neil Kinnock is said to have won ‘the battle of the campaigns’ in 1987, because his ground operation was savvier and his presentation slicker, but come election night Mrs Thatcher was returned for the third time in a row with another landslide majority. Democracy is not a morality play, it is cold, hard numbers.

The cold, hard numbers tell us that the SNP won more than double the constituency vote of the Conservatives and Labour in 2016. For the Tories to become the largest party after May 6, they would have to hold on to every seat they took last time then take a further 17 from the SNP. To say this is a prospect not entertained by current polling would be an understatement.

No political party is entitled to win an election but oftentimes governments deserve to lose them. No government in the devolved era has deserved to lose quite as thoroughly as this one.

Nicola Sturgeon’s response to Covid-19 has been spun as a triumph but when the lights go down on her daily BBC Scotland slot, the facts remain the same. As of last week, Scotland has a higher infection rate than England or Wales and a higher daily mortality count than any other part of the UK. The UK Government has serious questions to answer over its handling of the pandemic but at least it gets asked them. The SNP has been underscrutinised for its lack of preparedness ahead of the pandemic and its management in the early weeks and months of the crisis.

Health chiefs warned during a 2016 pandemic planning exercise that there were ‘significant business-as-usual staff shortages, making stepping up in an emergency even more challenging’. Internal emails have also shown that the Scottish Government was aware of shortages in PPE supply before the pandemic hit. In the event, hospital staff were issued with expired equipment, including out-of-date respirators.

Nicola Sturgeon deserves to lose

(https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/april-2021/how-to-scotch-independence/)

If the Scottish National Party does well enough in the elections on 6 May, the UK Supreme Court may soon become the focus of public attention once again. At stake will be nothing less than the future of the United Kingdom. The SNP is committed to holding a second referendum on independence for Scotland. The 2014 vote — which rejected independence by 55 to 45 per cent — had the blessing of the UK government. This one will not.

Unlike its Westminster progenitor, the Scottish parliament has limited powers. Any act of the Scottish parliament that “relates to” the “Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” is outside its legislative competence. That’s one of a number of matters that were reserved to UK legislators by the Scotland Act 1998.

How, then, was an independence referendum possible? Section 30 of the act allows the Westminster government to modify reserved functions. Ministers simply made a temporary order allowing Scotland to vote in 2014. Well, say the SNP, we’d like another of those section 30 orders, please. And if Boris Johnson refuses? We’ll pass the legislation anyway — and dare you to challenge it.

That’s where the Supreme Court comes in. Whenever the Scottish parliament passes legislation, the attorney general has four weeks to ask the court whether it was within the legislature’s competence. The Supremes are surely bound to conclude that — in the absence of a section 30 order — Scottish legislation authorising an independence referendum is of no effect.

© Scotland Matters