Nicola Sturgeon the most dangerous woman in politics
Despite being a tribal Tory, I concluded that the Coalition has worked well not something a Conservative Party member for more than 30 years expected to admit.
I doubt I alone: most voters aren ideological, and couldn care less which Lib Dem policy was swapped for which Tory initiative, or vice versa, so long as there stability in our governance, and that governance is more good than harmful. Against those criteria stability, and positive outcomes the Coalition should be judged a success.
And there is the key danger for all of us in tonight Party Leaders debate a danger for David Cameron, a danger for Ed Miliband, and, more to the point, a danger for the United Kingdom. Because not all coalitions are the same. As we watch Nicola Sturgeon the leader of the SNP and Buy Nike Air Max 2016 806771-401 Men Blue Ireland the source of the danger take the stage on Thursday night, it that mantra I hope is repeated in every viewer head: some power sharing arrangements are more toxic than others.
Election peril? Nicola Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon will be a event for most English viewers. Those of us with families on both sides of the border know that news of the Scottish Parliament activities don travel south, while the comings and goings at Westminster are viewed dimly, if at all, further north. Mrs Sturgeon, to most voters, will be fresh on the scene.
Who is Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP?
Nicola Sturgeon: SNP leader in 60 seconds
If you like to know a little about life Under Armour UA Slingride TRI Men Blue White Outlet Ireland the SNP, tune into West Sound Radio sometime. It the station that I grew up with on the west of Scotland, and to which I still listen sometimes, on Sunday mornings, for that little bit of hometown connection. The programmes themselves are fine. It the news and adverts in between that would make English centre Right hair curl. The preaching on how to live your life is relentlessness. And this is life under an SNP government: it really does know best, Adidas Equipment Support ADV BB1302 Men Black White Pink Sale Ireland knows that it knows best, and if you don agree that it knows best, will spend your money to tell you it knows best.
But in England Mrs Sturgeon will be new to most of us, and we like new things, don we? Perhaps you agree with me on that. Or maybe you agree with Nick?
The Deputy Prime Minister was the new guy last time around, and he played his card well much better than his Labour and Conservative opponents anticipated, to their parties detriments on polling day. So tonight the danger is that Nicola Sturgeon repeats the 2010 Nick trick, presents her very old fashioned politics as new, reasonable and sensible, and persuades enough voters in Scotland to vote for her party.
Some of you might be thinking: danger to Labour, yes. We all seen that Miliband, Get Salmond poster. But what danger can she represent to the Prime Minister? In England, we couldn vote SNP even if we wanted to, so what to worry about?
It true that Mrs Sturgeon isn the sole problem the Prime Minister will face tonight. She will just be one of six opposition voices he faces, who between them will have far greater collective airtime to make their anti Tory case than he will have to rebut them. That unlikely to make pleasant viewing for Conservatives; but of those six attacks hers will have by far the biggest impact on the election certainly bigger than Ed Miliband.
Who cares, for example, what Green leader Natalie Bennett says? Assuming that she can string words into coherent sentences at all not a given we could all of us already write down the dull, Leftist blather she will undoubtedly produce. Mountains as an environmentalist, she be glad of this will not be moved as a result of her presence.
And to the extent that Mr Clegg attacks the Prime Minister, should he foolishly decide to do so, it will serve only to remind those of us who admire the Deputy Prime Minister that he missed a historical opportunity for Liberal Tory realignment during this successful Coalition. Those who despise Nick Clegg for working with the Tories, meanwhile, will remember what they known since halfway through 2010: Air Jordan 13 3M 414571-004 Men Black Red Ireland Sale that they never vote Lib Dem again.
This will also be our first chance to witness the tension between Mr Cameron and Nigel Farage. That should prove delicious, if unedifying. And again, comparatively unimportant: Ukip will be a nuisance to the Conservatives at the election, but their peculiarly joyless flush is surely busted.
Most of the furious argy bargy this evening, then, should fall neatly into the nothing bucket. But not Nicola Sturgeon contributions. Should her party enable Ed Miliband to become Prime Minister, the end of Union will be within her sights. Talk about a double whammy.
How will she play it? If the Scottish referendum is any guide to future behaviours, we expect Mrs Sturgeon to flatten her opponents. Her demolition of the Lib Dem Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, in that campaign has passed into SNP folklore. (Her opponent was decent, and gentlemanly. Ms Sturgeon used this against him.)
But she clever, and a lawyer, and knows how to vary the tone of her argument to suit her audience. Mrs Sturgeon and I, born six months apart in the same Ayrshire hospital, share a west central Scotland accent. It not one the Home Counties tend to warm to, not when it angry. It can sound like the voice of a vengeful Dalek. I doubt we hear much of it this evening.
She and I overlapped again, at Glasgow University, where the Union is home to world beating political debate, and every student learns to hone their arguments. So it much more likely that tonight she set out to charm and disarm both her actual electorate in Scotland, and the one she really cares about the one that can vote for her in England.