When Nicola Sturgeon shines

I get a fair bit of abuse from SNP/Sturgeon loyalists. About the same as I get from Alba devotees. That’s the price one pays for declining to participate in the inane tribalism of either camp. It is a price I am more than happy to pay. The very nature of tribalism dictates that if you are not in one camp then you must be in the other. There are no grey areas. There is no middle ground. It is the ‘with us or against us’ drained of any remaining vestiges of good sense. It is factionalism distilled to its most toxic and corrosive concentration. Tribalism is a product of the lizard brain and is anathema to all but those inadequates who are incapable of keeping that lizard brain in check.

One of the more irksomely idiotic manifestations of the unchecked lizard brain in full flow is the allegation that I ‘hate’ Nicola Sturgeon. It ranks in spittle-flecked zoomery with accusations of being an MI6 ‘plant’ and/or a Unionist troll and/or a closet Tory. In the monochrome imaginings of the SNP/Sturgeon loyalist there are but two possible states. If you fail to exhibit total devotion to Nicola in all things and at all times then the only other possibility is that you nurse a visceral, seething hatred of her. Nuance is unknown to the mind given over to tribalism. The complexities of human nature are all reduced to the simplest of binaries – with/against; agree/disagree; black/white; love/hate. It’s less effortful than thinking.

In fact, I don’t do hatred (or love, for that matter) any more than I do faith. You are highly unlikely to find any instances of me using the term ‘hate’. By which I mean applying it to someone or something rather than merely referring to it. (An almost certainly futile attempt to forestall the pedants, there.) I am cautious about the language I use because language can shape our thinking as well as express our thoughts. The concept of hatred is not something that should be taken lightly. It is an extreme emotional reaction. It is a response emerged from the lizard brain. I consider it advisable to avoid the extreme emotional responses which so readily and so reliably diminish rational thought. To this end, I tend to eschew the language associated with such extremes.

In short, I do not ‘hate’ Nicola Sturgeon. I’m not sure why anybody would suppose such a nonrational attitude might be appropriate in the case of an individual with whom one has no close personal relationship. They must think hatred easily earned and freely accorded. Personally, I don’t find myself so richly endowed with a capacity for hatred that I can spend it willy-nilly on mere politicians. I’m saving what hatred I have for a truly deserving case.

Nicola Sturgeon, like all human individuals who exist outside the confines of the tribalist mindset, is an unknowably complex mix of all the components of unfathomably complex human nature. My attitude to her reflects this. That attitude can never be other than flawed and fallible because it can never be fully informed. It is informed only by what I can observe and deduce. Best then that I observe with as unprejudiced an eye as possible and as far as I am able, shield the process of deduction from being tainted by extreme emotion.

I not only don’t hate Nicola Sturgeon, I can’t hate her. I just don’t have it in me.

I fundamentally disagree with some of the policies Nicola Sturgeon has inexplicably espoused. But I don’t hate her.

I suspect her of having behaved very badly in relation to certain matters. But I don’t hate her.

I abhor what she has done – or allowed to be done – to the party that I had thought of as mine for about sixty years. But I don’t hate her.

I deeply resent that she has contrived to let Scotland’s cause languish in the doldrums of timorous inertia for seven years while missing opportunities and failing to exploit advantages and offering only increasingly pathetic excuses for inaction. But I don’t hate her.

I totally disapprove of her entire approach to the constitutional issue. But I do not hate her.

There are many things I admire about Nicola Sturgeon. Her superb communication skills, for example. Her ability to win people’s trust. Her love of books and reading. I cannot possibly hate someone who daily reminds me of her many redeeming qualities. As, for example, in her response to Douglas Ross when he accused her of attempting to mislead people about a particular target in the Covid vaccination program. This may be dismissed by some as mere debating [non-sex/gender specific] showmanship. But if perception matters then presentation must be of at least equal consequence.

What most impressed me about this admittedly quite trivial incident is the way Nicola Sturgeon honed in on what Ross was really doing and then recounted her precise analysis with such excoriating clarity and concision. In her Tweet (see below) and in her remarks at the briefing she perfectly and admirably debunked Ross’s accusation and denounced not just his petty politicisation of a serious public health issue, but the entire obnoxious practice of politicians and media deliberately ‘misunderstanding’ a statement or situation in order to maliciously misinform the public.

I recommend that you read in full the comments Nicola Surgeon made at the Covid briefing. The matter may be small. But the manner in which she dealt with it was masterful. How could a politics anorak such as myself possibly hate this person? When she is on form like this, I could almost love her… despite everything!



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9 thoughts on “When Nicola Sturgeon shines

  1. 100% agree. Both Nicola AND Alex are as complex mixtures as any other human beings.

    I also tend to feel that people who either have exceptional ability or have risen to prominence (other than through hereditary) are more likely than average to display extreme abilities/disabilities and behaviours. The same unusualness that makes them stand out from the crowd in a good way, is generally matched by a capacity to make equally big mistakes or decisions.

    In Nicola’s case, I think that the temptation of the tribal observer towards lazy binary thinking, is exacerbated by her own strong tendency towards binary thinking and action. Impartiality is not her strongest suit. While Alex has perhaps shown partiality towards her in the past too.

    However, the real problems you list, and their solutions, are what’s important. Not our emotional reactions to political personalities.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You make a really excellent point here. I have certainly become very disillusioned with Nicola Sturgeon regarding her non-action on independence and her stance on things like GRA. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t recognise her good qualities and things she does well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Good article. The problem with hating someone is that they either don’t know or don’t care.
    It’s pointless and clouds your judgement.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. With Craig Murray beginning his prison sentence today Nicola is not shining, in fact looking decidedly tarnished along with Scotland’s reputation for being the ‘best wee country in the world’.
    I don’t hate Nicola but I am ashamed of her and what Scotland has become under her Stewardship.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The whole of Scotland understood what Sturgeon said, not just the upper classes, and it wasn’t what she should have said. Her statement was stupid and misleading.

    Like

    1. What do you think she said? In another comment you implied that she said “Everyone over 40 has been given the vaccine.”. This is NOT what she said. So you evidently don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

      Like

  6. Everyone over 40 has been given the vaccine.

    Everyone over 5 knows what that means.

    It was a gaff that required an apology, not a war.

    Like

    1. Sturgeon did not say “Everyone over 40 has been given the vaccine.” There was no “gaffe”. She has nothing to apologise for. And an apology from those who should be offering one would be worthless. If this is a “war”, the British Nationalists have been routed.

      Like

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