‘Get back to the day job.’
The six magic words that delivered the Scottish Tories their best election night in decades. Ruth Davidson recited this incantation endlessly during the campaign and Labour and the Liberal Democrats quickly joined in. As messages go, it was blunt but effective, capturing the public mood that Nicola Sturgeon has allowed herself to be distracted by the independence issue.
After the UK chose to leave the EU despite Scotland’s Remain vote, the First Minister planned to parlay opposition to Brexit into support for independence. But her scheme went from no-brainer to harebrained in a breathtakingly short period of time. Like Theresa May’s snap election gamble, the opportunism was too naked and overestimated Sturgeon’s public support. The people revolted, the SNP leader’s favourability ratings tanked, and Ruth Davidson’s star rose. Independence, which motivated half the country to give the SNP 56 out of 59 seats in the 2015 election, now drove the Unionist majority to the polls to give the Nats a shoeing.
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Feature image © First Minister of Scotland by Creative Commons 2.0.