It is baffling why Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, is so feted in the lead-up to the general election. It seems that no debate, interview or political discussion can take place without her featuring in some way.
But there’s a problem. Yes, she’s leader of the Scottish National Party, which is tipped to do quite well in Scotland, so we can understand why she might be in a leader’s debate. She is also already an elected politician, albeit in the Scottish parliament, so we can understand why she might have something to say on SNP policy. But here’s the problem: she isn’t standing in the election.
That’s worth saying once more, so the implications can sink in – She isn’t even standing in the election for the Westminster parliament.
And yet she is everywhere in the discussions of the general election. It’s an old-fashioned idea, perhaps, but in a democracy it is assumed that people stand for election and, if elected, then get to boss us about and make policy. But only if they are elected.
This simple fact should have been a major point of contention these last few weeks. But it hasn’t, has it?
What we have is Nicola Sturgeon shaping the debate and making promises that will bind elected members of the SNP when they get to Westminster. But she has no democratic mandate and will have no democratic mandate on May 8.
Are we to expect that she will instruct them how to vote once they are in? If so, we will be living in a democracy compromised even more than it already is. The point surely of democracy is that elected politicians decide, not outside forces.
If I am mistaken, and she will have no say at all, then why is she being so feted now? It is a fraud. The electorate is having its views shaped by someone who is going to have no role in parliament – certainly no legitimate role. That’s actually a bit of a disgrace, and evidence of the ludicrous state of affairs we have got ourselves into, particularly concerning our constitution.