Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nicola Sturgeon's speech to the SNP conference

This afternoon I watched Nicola Sturgeon's speech to the SNP conference:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-30061564

The personal style of a politician should not matter, but it does.  Looking at Ms Sturgeon, her hair was lacquered into immobility, she wore a jacket that was riding up at the back so that she looked round-shouldered, her face registered little expression.  Throughout the speech she kept looking down, as if she was afraid to make eye contact.

On the whole the performance reminded me of an Oscar acceptance speech, with excessive amounts of thanking and tributing. 

Referring to the 60 thousand new SNP members she said "To all of you from all of us" reprising a Bay City Rollers chorus.

Often the SNP leader talked of power, without really explaining what she wanted to do with that power.  As Mikhail Bakunin helpfully pointed out in the 19th century, all state power ultimately depends upon force and the threat of force.  "Stronger... louder..." Ms Sturgeon yelled, making one apprehensive for anyone in that land who disagrees with her party.

She attacked Labour as a "barrier to progress".

She cast the Tories and UKIP in the collective role of Emmanuel Goldstein, conveniently forgetting that in the 2010 general election the Conservatives and SNP were more or less level, and in the Euro election UKIP won one of the MSP constituencies.

Passing reference to "wealth creation" but most of what she said, insofar as she said anything on policy, was to do with spending other people's money - on education, land reform, and gender inequality (which in a macho society like Scotland might be a challenge).

It was probably a mistake to announce a few more pounds to 117 cleaners as a major step forward in eradicating low pay.

However I was genuinely shocked that one million people in Scotland are living in poverty.  How on earth has that happened in a tiny population where the average spending per head (due to the Barnett formula) is greater than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.  No wonder that is such an unhappy society.

The speech ended with lacklustre imagery about a journey.

The conference itself ended with a hairy band wearing kilts, singing feudal war songs while the middle class audience sang along in a Mull of Kintyre sort of way.

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