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The politician who can fill a venue quicker than Kylie

22 November 2014

2:45 PM

22 November 2014

2:45 PM

What’s the most significant political story of the week, Ukip winning Rochester or Emily Thornberry’s resignation? Well, I suspect, it might be neither of them and that the really big event this week happened north of the border, Nicola Sturgeon being sworn in as First Minister. For the new SNP leader is riding a quite remarkable wave of popularity. Right now, she’s addressing a rally at the Glasgow Hydro, a 12,000 seat venue that she sold out faster than Kylie Minogue—what other politician in Britain could hope to do that?   As I say in the column this week, what makes Sturgeon’s popularity all the more remarkable is that she is a career politician. She became an SNP activist at 16, first stood for the Commons a 21, became an MSP at 28 and is married to the SNP’s chief executive. But she is the leader of a cause and this seems to be translating into huge affection.   The SNP are consistently and decisively ahead in Westminster polls in Scotland for the first time. If this momentum keeps going, the party will rout Scottish Labour at the general election before going on to win another Holyrood majority in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.   This all, obviously, has implications for the future of the Union. A second referendum now looks increasingly likely and this time the Nationalists will start within touching distance of victory.


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