Merryn's Blog

How Donald Trump's victory has wrong-footed Scotland's self-righteous first minister

Donald Trump’s victory is awkward for all sorts of people, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Nicola Sturgeon especially.

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Trump's victory is awkward for all sorts of people. However of all the politicians in Europe my guess is that it is Nicola Sturgeon who is having the worst day.

Her predecessor Alex Salmond was once one of Donald's besties, but is now in the middle of a nasty public feud with him over his business interests here (Salmond at one point raised all our hopes by promising to move to Antartica if Trump won the US election). But the current Scottish government hasn't exactly been particularly diplomatic when it comes to Trump either.

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Transport minister Humza Yousaf told a Question Time audience last year that he'd punch Trumpif he came across him as president (this was the practice question before the cameras started rolling, but it was to me at least still pretty shocking). Talk about populism! Humza is one of several ministers who supported a petition to ban Trump from entering Scotland.

And Sturgeon herself? Last year she stripped America's president-elect of his role as a business ambassador for Scotland. He was, she said at the time, "no longer fit" for the position. She has also broken with protocol by publicly backing Hillary Clinton, and made it clear over and over that she just isn't that into Trump.

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So what now that the US population have decided that while Donald Trump might not be good enough for Nicola Sturgeon he is good enough for them? There's major back-tracking ahead. But with any luck the Scottish government will have learned something of a lesson too.

Running countries isn't like having a social media account. Self-righteous virtue-signalling is meaningless on Facebook. But it comes back to bite you if you are a first minister with a real parliament and real responsibilities.

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