Nicola Sturgeon will curl up with a novel or 10 this Christmas.
The First Minister, like most bibliophiles, feels out of sorts if she goes too long without getting lost in a book. General Elections leave little time for such luxuries.
She goes into the festive period in good spirits, and deservedly so. Sturgeon had a brilliant campaign, outperforming her rivals in TV debates, drawing admiring comments from voters across the UK, and displaying an honesty and integrity not much found in the political world these days.
She was rewarded at the ballot box, where the SNP picked up 13 new seats to make a total of 48, out of a possible 59. Twelve years into government, that is an astonishing achievement.
The danger is that the rarefied air of electoral success obscures the toxic fug of domestic disappointment.
This has not been a vintage year for the administration. In fact, 2019 may contain the seeds of problems that could eventually bring it, and her, down.
If the constitutional debate were somehow surgically removed from Scottish politics it is arguable that the SNP would not be sitting so proudly in the polls. Were the devolved government to be judged solely on its delivery of public services and its ability to deliver growth in the economy, then it would certainly be in more trouble than it is.
As things stand, the fact that the independence dream is as yet unfulfilled ensures pro-indy voters keep the Nats artificially high.
Sturgeon’s desire to keep independence in the headlines is evident. She has come out of the campaign with the volume turned up to 11.
“You can’t hold Scotland in the union against its will,” she has said. “You can’t lock us in a cupboard and turn the key and hope everything goes away. Scotland cannot be imprisoned in the UK against its will.”
The use of such hyperbolic language is surely intentional, partly with an eye on ramping up anger at Boris Johnson and the Tories, and partly so that the electorate doesn’t start talking about something else.
That something else might be education where, during the election campaign PISA published its international comparison of pupil performance in maths, science and reading. Scotland has fallen in the first two categories and, though it has climbed a little in reading, this follows a previously alarming slump. There is grave concern among educationalists that Curriculum For Excellence, the Government’s flagship schools policy, is failing children.
Or that something else might be the NHS, where a sorry charge sheet of worsening waiting times, missed targets and the Glasgow super-hospital crisis is building. Or it might be the performance of the economy, which faces the looming prospect of Brexit, and of a Tory budget at Westminster that cuts taxes sharply, leaving Scotland looking uncompetitive.
The FM should enjoy her break and squeeze in as many works of fiction as she can. Once the holidays are over, the real world is coming back with a bang.
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