BY JOHN ISMAEL
Why has Nicola Sturgeon not resigned as leader of the SNP?
The SNP lost 476,867 voters compared to 2015 on June 8th – 33%. One in three of its voters! That’s nearly twice as many voters as the Scottish Tories lost when they were wiped out in Scotland in 1997 when John Major duly resigned.
The SNP mantra over the last few days has been to deflect this horrific defeat by claiming that Theresa May is in a far worse position. Yet Theresa May increased the Tory vote and the Tories got millions more votes with May than under Cameron – the Conservatives polled 13.7 million votes last Thursday compared to 11.3 million votes two years ago. The Tories polled 10.7 million votes in 2010 when they ended 13 years of Labour rule by becoming the largest party with 306 seats and formed a coalition government with Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems. A few votes here and there last Thursday and May would have won a majority – the Tory vote is definitely on the rise nationally.
Against this background the SNP general election performance was nothing short of a bloodbath. Losing a third of one’s voters can hardly be excused as carelessness! No doubt Theresa May would have resigned immediately if the Tories lost 33% of their voters. Yet brazen Nicola Sturgeon has hit out at Mrs May since the election, saying she had ‘lost all credibility’. Projection?
Embarrassingly, Sturgeon has the gall to fall back on the claim that the SNP “won Scotland”. So, has Mrs May lost all credibility in Scotland? The Tory share of the vote went from 15 per cent to 28 per cent as the party’s tally of MPs increased from just 1 to 13 in Scotland – hardly a loss of credibility north of the border, then.
The SNP lost seats to the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the election – with high-profile casualties including Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson, John Nicolson, Mike Weir and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. They must be seething at her.
When quizzed over whether she was going to push her issue for a second independence referendum, Sturgeon said she would take some time to “reflect on that and come to a considered judgement”. She added: “We cannot escape the presence of the constitutional question in Scottish politics.”
Sturgeon is in real trouble.
Without the independence issue, the SNP is a busted flush. So no wonder Sturgeon now plays the misdirection card of Brexit as a distraction from last week’s painful rejection by the Scottish people of another independence referendum. Sturgeon is running out of misdirection plays. She desperately needs a pressing issue to distract attention away from the remoteness of another independence referendum and, for now, Brexit is that excuse.
The SNP is a party united over just the one issue – containing factions of followers who argue about economics, who cannot agree on Brexit and who exhibit varying degrees of hawkishness on security. This election result in Scotland was thus a hammer blow for the SNP and for Sturgeon.
It is time Nicola Sturgeon stepped down. The rise of the SNP has been reversed for (the true meaning of) generations.