‘I’m going to be around a lot longer.’
With these words, Nicola Sturgeon seemingly struck a blow to Unionist hopes that the SNP’s election-winner extraordinaire might not see out this current term of parliament. There has been speculation for a number of years that the First Minister would be gone in six or twelve months, typically to a never fully explained job at the United Nations, but nothing ever materialised. Stubbornly, she persists.
It doesn’t say much about the quality of the Holyrood opposition that their best hope of beating Nicola Sturgeon in seven years has been the off-chance that the UN Secretary General might hypothetically recruit her to help save the world.
But is it really Unionists who have the most to fear from many more years of Sturgeon in Bute House? As the SNP’s lacklustre virtual conference has illustrated, the Nationalists are in an odd position. They are the government at Holyrood and far and away the biggest Scottish party at Westminster. But the SNP isn’t like other parties; it doesn’t exist merely to win elections. The primary purpose, as stated in the party constitution, is ‘the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty’.