Mark Smith in the Herald today:
Take a good look at the picture. What do you see? Is it Nicola Sturgeon celebrating a win by Scotland’s football team? Or is it Nicola Sturgeon celebrating Jo Swinson losing her seat? Or is it both those things? Is it graceless and tacky? Or celebratory and inclusive? It matters because people react in radically different ways. It also matters because the image reveals the troubling, Trumpian way in which some independence supporters think. You may remember when you saw the image for the first time. It was in December 2019 and the results of the General Election were coming in. Nicola Sturgeon was watching them on a monitor and when she realised the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson had lost her seat, she laughed and cheered and clenched her fists. The First Minister of Scotland then realised she was being filmed and attempted to be a bit more dignified. But it was too late. It had been caught on camera.
There are key comments in this, under a lazily clichéd choice of image now trending everywhere in the social media and which ‘professional journalists’ like Smith condemn:
Or is it Nicola Sturgeon celebrating Jo Swinson losing her seat?
Nicola Sturgeon was watching them on a monitor and when she realised the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson had lost her seat, she laughed and cheered and clenched her fists.
Smith has no right to draw such conclusions. Kevin McKenna in the Guardian on the day after the win, had a more plausible view:
In fairness to Scotland’s first minister, her untypical explosion of joy was probably more to do with the triumph of a young, first-time candidate who had overcome a cancer diagnosis as a teenager and has since sworn allegiance to the NHS.
Though sorely tempted to rejoice in the utterly ego-centric, Trumpian, figure of Swinson, don’t we all know that the FM doesn’t do that kind of thing?
Also, crucially, the FM had a previous personal identification with the candidate, Amy Callaghan.
Callaghan had surgery for face cancer at the age of 19, again at 21 and then collapsed with a brain haemorrhage in June 2020.
Here they are before the election night:
Here is the FM’s response to the news in June 2020:
Smith sees and feel things that surprise.
In June 2020:
And in July, astonishingly:
A new opinion poll [YouGov] has shown that half of Conservative voters in England support English independence, but tell us something we don’t know. English Tories supporting English independence is about as surprising as Scottish nationalists supporting Scottish independence – in many ways, they come from the same source and feel the same feelings. The only problem, in both England and Scotland, is what on earth anti-nationalists can do about it.