A POOR performance in the Scottish leaders' TV debate earlier this week marked the latest episode in a series of events that have dented the air of near invincibility that Nicola Sturgeon had carefully cultivated.
The daily Covid-19 briefings and the supine nature of much of the Scottish press has meant that her authority has been largely unquestioned and she has avoided troublesome scrutiny on the SNP’s record on governing Scotland. This is perhaps why she looked so taken aback when she was harangued by the public over the SNP’s record on health, education and poverty.
The insistence on having a second independence referendum at the time of an international pandemic clearly struck many voters as a twisted sense of priorities.
The benefits of being part of the United Kingdom have seldom been clearer than in the ability to join in the British government's world leading immunisation programme.
After 14 years in government Scottish voters quite rightly wanted to know why the number of drug deaths in Scotland were the highest in Europe and over three times the rate of the rest of the UK.
They want to know why Scotland’s once signature education system has now fallen behind other parts of Britain and why, under the SNP government’s Hate Crime Act, Scotland, which led the enlightenment, is now more restricted when it comes to freedom of speech than any other part of the UK.
The feud between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon has stripped away the veneer and let Scottish voters see who they really are.
Having told us for years that Alex Salmond was the man to lead an independent Scotland into a new and glorious future she now tells us that “Alex Salmond is a gambler. It is what he enjoys doing” and that “there are significant questions about the appropriateness of his return to public office given the concerns that have been raised about his behaviour previously”.
It is a perfectly pertinent question to ask when it was that she realised that he was such a flawed character who posed a danger to both individuals and of the future of an independent Scotland.
When did Sturgeon realise that the man with whom she has shared leadership of the SNP for a decade and a half was only standing to be an MSP because “he loves the limelight and can’t bear not to be on stage?”.
Their shallowness has now been exposed and their poor record of government is finally being properly scrutinised.
Scottish voters must now hold them to account before they destroy the United Kingdom itself.
Dr Liam Fox MP is a former International Trade Secretary, Defence Secretary and NHS doctor. He was the UK’s Nominee to be the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2020.