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The SNP will dominate Scotland for generations - but for how long?


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One year on, the Scottish National Party dominates the political landscape of the entire nation.

Nicola SturgeonNicola Sturgeon is adored by so many north of the border despite her shocking record as First Minister.

Her MP’s and MSP’s are regularly embroiled in scandal after scandal; the NHS is in crisis, with nurses threatening to leave their jobs due to chronic mismanagement. Scotland could once boast that it had the best schools in the world - our children are now leaving primary school unable to read and write. Ministers are throwing money at vanity projects rather than protect council budgets.

Flood defence budgets have been slashed. College places have been cut. University grants for the poorest have been scaled back dramatically. Food banks are on the rise whilst the SNP refuse to increase council tax. Our council estates remain plagued with crime and unemployment. Gaffe-prone Police Scotland are ignoring emergency calls and policing our thoughts on Twitter.

I could go on, the list is extensive.

Put simply, the SNP have failed Scotland.

Yet, despite their complacency, they remain the most popular party by a mile. They lead Scottish Labour by 30% in the polls. The Scottish Conservatives remain the real alternative to the SNP, yet remain on only 14% in the polls; the Lib Dems have yet to recover from the tuition fee debacle.

What about the Scottish Greens? Patrick Harvie remains slick and professional; he was regularly seen in the company of Ms Sturgeon during the referendum campaign: his reward for supporting independence was a rise in membership and a couple of extra seats at Holyrood in May – thanks to SNP voters offering their second vote on the list.

I should be celebrating after the No vote, should I not? Better Together ran a rather miserable campaign, it has to be said. Of course, Yes Scotland promised voters a future of milk and honey, all guaranteed on a high oil price. North Sea Oil now languishes at $38 a barrel, with no promise of it rising any time soon.

Nicola Sturgeon knows her dream of a low-tax, high spending economy is, at best, a fantasy. Alex Salmond was always allergic to the detail during his tenure as First Minister. But Nicola is different, they say. Having spent 10 years in numerous cabinet positions, she is used to criticism and the dangers that come with the job. She witnessed Alex Salmond take the blame for the White Paper on independence whilst she took selfies with voters.

She has had the top job for one year and I cannot think of one single difficult decision she has had to make. She bows to the unions as soon as a fuss is made about strikes and pay. She has made no attempt to reform our schools and free them from the dead-hand of council control.

Voters, however, cannot forgive Labour for not backing independence and now the party faces a generation in the wilderness. That leaves us in a very peculiar position. What happens next? Will the SNP back a second referendum in May? Probably. Probably not.

I don’t know. What I do know is that Nicola Sturgeon will have a hard job convincing those that voted No to back separation in the future. And voters aren’t stupid.

They will remove their support for the SNP, as they did with Labour, if Nicola doesn’t come up good in the next five years.

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