Slippery poll

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‘I’ve done loads of stories like this about how the careers of senior politicians are now in tatters…’

Our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry who has been a journalist for 40 years, has witnessed the rise and spectacular fall of numerous senior political figures both in Wales as well as across the UK generally, and this is now underlined by new polling figures which show that the former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, is now at rock bottom in the popularity stakes. 

Earlier he described how he was assisted in breaking into the South Wales Echo office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and making clear that the ‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.

He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Wales TV Current Affairs series, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off

Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of ‘history’ is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.

He has disclosed as well why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, how the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown played havoc with media schedules, and the importance of the hugely lower average age of some political leaders compared with when he started reporting.



The SNP with Nicola Sturgeon at the helm, once bestrode the political stage in Scotland like a colossus

As Enoch Powell said so memorably: “…all political lives end in failure”.

Apparently endorsing this aphorism is what has happened to the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon, and there may be lessons in it for the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (Plaid).

She (and the party she once led) used to bestride the political stage in Scotland leaving other parties by the wayside.

She seemed to have come a long way since her school days!

Ms Sturgeon hobnobbed with senior people, and she was queen of the north as First Minister.

No longer.

The Covid-19 inquiry last week heard that policy was discussed on WhatsApp despite protests that there should be no official discussions about it over social media.

She deleted all of her messages, but some were found anyway and she showed herself to be a foul-mouthed abuser, which may have been liked by her supporters, but did NOTHING to win over wavering voters.

Yesterday she appeared to be in tears when asked if she was a good First Minister (FM) during the pandemic, but some believe it was all put on.

She was in tears – but were they REAL?

She was accused by campaigners on behalf of victims of showing “crocodile tears”.

The families affected do not think she has answered the questions accurately.

A new poll has put her net trust rating at -19, while this has also dragged down the SNP’s popularity, with the party’s numbers cut by four points to 33 per cent.

Nicola Sturgeon’s travel was upgraded

It reveals that the main beneficiary appears to be Labour, and the opposition party’s Scottish leader Anas Sarwar looks on course to be the next FM.

Journalistic research has disclosed how public money was used by the SNP, to upgrade travel arrangements for Ms Sturgeon, pay for a party member’s theory driving test, fund yoga classes, and buy multiple copies of books, including a collection of her speeches.

The five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, was a destination for the SNP

The spree that has been divulged included almost £10,000 on VIP airport upgrades, and more than £32,000 on team-building exercises.

Apart from the yoga classes, driving test and books, other purchases by senior staff included nail polish, and £4,182 for hospitality, as well as accommodation at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.

Controversy cannot be removed from the SNP as easily as the luxury camper van which was seized by the police during their investigation

Taxpayer money also went on wellington boots “for inspections”, and China crockery for a meeting room.

In all £14.2 million of taxpayers’ cash was spent by Scottish civil servants in three years.

Ms Sturgon has been arrested and questioned (although released without charge), in the huge investigation which has been undertaken by the police into party finances.

Her home, and that of her husband (the former Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the SNP Peter Murrell), was searched in April as part of it.

Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell in happier times, before their home was searched…

Meanwhile, the ferry system in Scotland appears to have been appallingly badly managed, and given that around 90 inhabited islands rely on ferries this reflects poorly on the SNP’s record in government.

Scotland’s school performance lags behind England’s and its health service has long waiting lists, with voters giving low ratings for both.

The numbers do not look good for Nicola Sturgeon, or the SNP

Ms Sturgeon’s life-long mission to secure an independent Scotland now seems as far away as when she succeeded Alex Salmond nearly a decade ago.

Her signature policy of using the next General Election (GE) as a de facto referendum on independence now lies in ruins.

The party used its annual conference in Aberdeen to state that, should it win a majority of Scottish seats at the GE, it would begin negotiations with Westminster on how it can GO ABOUT securing Scotland’s independence.

Nicola Sturgeon appeared angry in a leaked video where she told people not to undermine the SNP

Some MPs supported the approach previously championed by Ms Sturgeon – in which securing 50 per cent plus one of the vote in Scotland would be treated as the Scottish people declaring themselves independent.

The new policy was described by one SNP MP as seeking the mandate to secure independence, rather than a vote for independence itself.

All of this just goes to show that Mr Powell was flat WRONG on many things, but RIGHT when he said: “…all political lives end in failure”.


The memories of Phil’s astonishing decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when stories about the rise and fall of senior politicians were all-important) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have a lot to think about

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – how a victim of the enormous Post Office (PO) scandal, where the crucial role of Wales is centre stage, has condemned the extraordinary sacking of the man at the top as “too little too late”.