Craig Murray: Nicola Sturgeon – Used & Discarded

The first minister — now resigned — failed to claim independence for Scotland and will be remembered for that.  

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announcing her intention to resign on Feb. 15. (Scottish Government, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Craig Murray

Nicola Sturgeon is discarded, having served her purpose for the British establishment once she obtained the U.K. Supreme Court judgment that Scotland could not hold a referendum on independence.

That fight was deliberately thrown by Sturgeon’s unionist lord advocate. After almost nine years of leading independence supporters into a whole series of blind alleys, with promise after promise broken to deliver a referendum, and mandate after mandate squandered, she appears to have shattered the independence movement.

Throughout this nine years, Sturgeon, who announced her resignation on Feb. 15, was sustained and promoted by the unionist media.

Easy Ride in Media 

Meanwhile Sturgeon was given an extraordinarily easy ride over the real failings of her government. The achievements of former First Minister Alex Salmond in building an extremely efficient reputation for the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) ability to manage the business of government, were all knocked back.

The collusion of the unionist media in hiding Sturgeon’s role in the attempt to frame Alex Salmond on false charges — a conspiracy orchestrated from her office and her husband’s office — showed the Sturgeon/Unionist axis in operation.

Salmond of course was rightly perceived by the unionists as a much more genuine threat to the union. They had a joint interest with Sturgeon in putting him away.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond preparing to give evidence to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, Feb. 26, 2021. (Scottish Parliament, Wikimedia Commons)

The main cause of bad government performance was Sturgeon’s compulsion to sideline all people of real talent in the SNP, and surround herself only with the extremely mediocre, who would never challenge her.

No leader genuinely concerned with the good of the country would ever appoint Shirley-Anne Somerville to be a minister.

Scotland has slid down the international tables, in healthcare, in education, in substance abuse, in almost every important area. The ferries debacle has been a disaster for the island communities.

Much of this has been a result of the SNP gradualists walking into the devolution trap. Devolution forces the government in Holyrood to try to mitigate the effects of Tory policies, with resources constrained by Tory austerity and hands tied by neo-con fiscal policy.

Devolution is a dead end filled with poison gas. Sturgeon’s lack of urgency to escape from it was inexplicable.

Sturgeon’s Place in History

Scotland independence march in Glasgow in 2019. (Lorna M Campbell, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

She will be remembered as the woman who saved the Union in its hour of maximum danger — the moment the U.K. left the European Union, against the will of the large majority of Scottish people expressed in a referendum.

[Related: Scotland Has Only One Move to React to Boris Johnson’s Maneuvers and Scottish Independence Is Within Sight]

Having saved the Union then, Sturgeon went on to obtain the Supreme Court ruling last November against a referendum and subsequently shattered the independence movement over identity politics.

She succeeded, by refusal to listen sympathetically to concerns of others, to unleash a wave of hatred towards trans people from those who had previously given the question not a moment of thought.

The contrast is astonishing between her “softly, softly” attitude to Scotland’s independence, where doubters were to be gently persuaded over decades, and her drastic attitude to gender reform, where doubters were to be condemned as misogynists and racists.

Sturgeon was a great boon to the unionists. Whether as useful idiot or as traitor is something history will decide. My money is on the latter.

But after the Supreme Court judgement, the U.K. establishment did not need her any more. All that soft soap treatment disappeared. They started to seriously question her, on all points.

There has been a huge change in press tone towards Sturgeon since the Supreme Court judgment. The U.K. establishment believe they no longer need her to hold back the Independence movement.

I suspect much more tellingly, the establishment has also finally taken off the gloves over the missing £600,000, that was donated to a “ring-fenced” fund to campaign in the Indyref2 [proposed second referendum on independence] that Sturgeon did not deliver.

The money disappeared into the SNP’s accounts and where it went is not clear.

I could not understand why Sturgeon blatantly lied at the press conference last week, when asked by Tom Gordon of The Herald when she first knew that her husband had lent £107,000 to the SNP.

She replied she could not recall, and sought to distance herself from the loan, saying he used “his resources.”

Now it is a strange marriage where the husband lends £107,000 without telling the wife. But it is not impossible.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with her husband Peter Murrell in 2014. (Scottish Government, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

However, it is impossible that the leader of the SNP was not told that the party was lent £107,000. Whoever it was from, let alone her own husband.

But I could see no reason that Peter Murrell should not lend the party the money. It was not illegal to do so and arguably a good thing to do. Why on earth would Nicola pretend she didn’t know?

This only started to make sense to me when I learnt that Murrell made the loan the day after he was interviewed by the police about the missing £600,000.

No wonder she wanted to distance herself from it, and the timing.

Numerous sources have reported in the last few days that Police Scotland have now been given the go ahead by the Crown Office to pursue a criminal case over the missing money.

That seems the most likely explanation for the timing of her resignation announcement.

The good news is that, if my sources are correct, the £600,000 question is going to make the coronation of the Angus Robertson family collective as devolutionist party leaders somewhat difficult.

So farewell Nicola Sturgeon. You served the Union well. Now they don’t need you any more and you have been tossed away.

They won’t get you that U.N. job either (all U.N. posts need to be agreed with the candidate’s member state). The Establishment is both ruthless and ungrateful. I suspect the protection over the Salmond affair will disappear too.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

This article is from

The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Support CN’s  
Winter Fund Drive!

Donate securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:

5 comments for “Craig Murray: Nicola Sturgeon – Used & Discarded

  1. Frank Discussion
    February 22, 2023 at 00:53

    Support for Independence went up to 57% after the Supreme Court judgement, that was the whole point of taking it to court. People in Scotland were indignant that an English court would dictate to the Scottish people. There is no point in pushing for Independence with public support in Scotland
    Unfortunately she threw all that away with the Gender Recognition Act. It was designed to so that the Westminster Government would block it and anger the Scottish people, but it was too unpopular, and then comes Isla Bryson.
    The SNP have to drop the GR crap before support for independence can start growing again.

  2. February 21, 2023 at 15:37

    United States corrupt and dishonorable officials evidently come by it “honestly”, having inherited it from the mother country. Mrs. Sturgeon fits right in with the Clintons and Bidens.

  3. Gordon Hastie
    February 21, 2023 at 13:42

    You’d have to have a heart if stone if you don’t have a wee chuckle if/when Sturgeon fails to get a plum job with the kind of people she really cares about, and that isn’t the people of Scotland. I do feel sorry for those who carried on believing in the Nicola myth despite the glaring contrast between Scotland c.2014 and Scotland now.

  4. Johnny
    February 21, 2023 at 13:21

    In addition to being a pawn & played for the role in the pandemic of totalitarianism. she thought ( as most o the did & do ) that they are invincible & useful & all of them get thrown on the bus. Closet Power drunks

  5. Tom
    February 21, 2023 at 04:36

    Alex Salmond and Jeremy Corbyn unleashed at the same time. This is going to be interesting.

Comments are closed.