The First Minister has let herself and Scotland down – and must go

The First Minister has let herself and Scotland down – and must go

by Kenneth Morton
article from Friday 5, March, 2021

YESTERDAY must have come as an eye-opener to many Scots, not just those unhappy with our SNP Government, but also to many SNP supporters and even some ardent but open-minded Nicola Sturgeon fans. 

The First Minister’s presentation skills were not as smooth or polished as expected and there were times when she was obviously uncomfortable and did not provide the gravitas or clarity of Alex Salmond’s presentation the week before.

In contrast, Alex Salmond, a man acquitted in court of all criminal charges and therefore retaining his innocence before the law – who was the subject of alleged framing that could have resulted in him being jailed for 10 years or potentially for the rest of his life – sat down, presented his evidence calmly, clearly and factually, using documentary evidence readily available to him. No obfuscation, avoidance or hedging, giving nearly always straight answers to nearly every question. 

Yesterday, how many times did we hear words such as, ‘I was not aware’, ‘as far as I believe’, ‘I don’t recall’, ‘to the best of my knowledge’, ‘to the best of my recollection’, ‘I have not seen’, ‘I am not sure’, ‘I don’t know’ – or some such similar phrases – every time, an attempt to avoid giving a straight answer?  

The First Minister is a politician in a weak position and her words and body language reflected that weakness. 

Her own lack of corroboration – and claiming to not have seen the evidence provided by Alex Salmond’s advisors that anyone accessing social media could have obtained for themselves, even though the First Minister has a team of 40+ media officers – told its own story.

The First Minister also tried to play the sympathy card on a number of occasions, trailing often and at length how terrible this has been for her; the sleepless nights she has suffered etc., all which gave the effect of diminishing her stature whilst giving evidence.

The SNP has in the face of it, lost all credibility, with a leader who appears to put herself before the country to follow polices on Independence, Trans-rights that are not high priorities and COVID restrictions that make little logical sense. Following the recent polls indicating highs of support for the SNP the trend is now reversing as more and more of the ‘dirty laundry’ is pulled into the light.

One of the most depressing parts of First Minister’s submission was the regular default to claiming “legal restrictions” preventing her from answering, whether in part or in full, building the perception of being evasive – and failing to come across as honest by giving the full and complete picture.

One of the greatest failures from a moderate’s standpoint, was the continuing attacks either directly or from the side on Alex Salmond, as he had taken great care and pains to avoid directly commenting on the First Minister unless questioned. The professionalism of Alex Salmond, certainly to a lay person, gave much greater weight to his evidence. 

Indeed, for a serving First Minister who can’t provide evidence due to so called “legal restrictions”, but is able to question the behaviour of Alex Salmond, who was found innocent by jury and therefore did not commit any crime, makes a mockery of the legal position.

The SNP will now have to examine its own internal make-up; the woke liberals who have taken over will need replaced as it is very clear that my fellow Scots have more important things in their lives – such as living day-to-day, raising their children and holdings down jobs –  and which the Scottish Government should be focusing on and supporting. 

I can also envision that whilst the SNP may lose some votes in the upcoming election in the constituency seats, the list votes are likely to show the real feelings of the Scottish electorate as they signal a rejection of the current politics of the Scottish Government and SNP.

In truth, the First Minister has let the Scottish electorate, the SNP and herself down badly. When sitting before the committee we saw the ‘true’ First Minister and not the façade that emanates day-to-day in her daily COVID briefing performances, and whilst I don’t expect the rabid SNP supporters to call for her resignation, a lot of the moderates and most of the opposition will now and forever see her as ‘tarnished goods’.

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Kenneth Morton is a Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer and has worked for some of the largest organisations in Scotland. He is a prospective parliamentary list candidate for Reform UK Scotland in the coming Holyrood elections.

Photo of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon courtesy of BBC Scotland.


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