Since the contemporary Scottish Parliament’s inception the spectacle of First Minister’s Questions has played the same role in my life as flossing my teeth has*. I do it/ watch it most of the time, and I want to do it/ watch it most of the time. But sometimes it is just The Worst. So I go to bed (or in the case of FMQs eat lunch) without doing it and nobody is any the wiser, including me.
This was a wee bit of a different week as it was the first FMQs since the recent Scottish Parliament election. With a new minority SNP Government (Top Boss Nicola Sturgeon) and with a new Leader of the Opposition in Tory Tank Commander Ruth Davidson and Head Girl Kezia in third place.
I’ve made the disclosure before, but just in case, I will do it again: I love the First Minister.
Notably, though, she was routed this Thursday.
Mere weeks after the election I don’t know how she hadn’t been briefed and prepared for Ruth’s far more competent style – it’s not like they have never met. Kezia even finally hit her stride, Willie Rennie rattled her, and when you are reduced to telling the leader of the Scottish Green Party that his point is less valid because you got more votes, there’s a serious issue.
In so many ways this is perfect. The previous majority admin had far too much free rein, and a rainbow opposition that demands answers to hard questions is so long needed. But this was a Nicola Sturgeon reminiscent of the one we saw in opposition to Jack McConnell: right on some things but unconvincing on most things. That isn’t the FM we know, love and want more of. The SNP is missing the Pringle.
I need to watch a couple more times, but first thoughts – Nicola Sturgeon can no longer take future tenure for granted. The honeymoon is over.
* Not entirely true as FMQs didn’t start with the Parliament’s inception, but that’s another matter for later, when I get annoyed again.