Iain Martin's Letter

The SNP is in a terrible mess‎. Call an early election, Prime Minister

BY Iain Martin | iainmartin1   /  17 March 2017

Just imagine Theresa May’s face, and her shoulders heaving up and down, when she was told the news that the new editor of the London Evening Standard is…. George Osborne.

The former Chancellor has gone straight from copy boy (a flunky who in the olden days ran around a newspaper office fetching copy) to the post of editor, without pausing to do any of that boring stuff, like being a reporter.

So momentous is the news of Osborne’s appointment that ‎this week, for one week only, there are two weekly newsletters from me. There is this one, on the SNP and on an early election and all that jazz.

And then I have been handed a leaked copy of Osborne’s first newslist and details of his exciting plans for The Standard. I will publish it later and send to Reaction subscribers.

Until then, back to the small matter of the constitution and the survival of the United Kingdom. When Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday that she would seek on behalf of the Scottish National Party a second referendum on ‎independence it had an almost electrifying effect. What an operator she is. On the supposed eve of the triggering of Article 50, the process by which the UK will begin leaving the European Union, she had cut through the Westminster waffle on Brexit and in delivering a clear and provocative line stolen the headlines. She was aided by some bungling in Number 10. Theresa May’s team had not – not – planned to move on Article 50 on Tuesday, but they had, to the frustration of cabinet ministers, let the impression be created that they would, and let the story run, so that it looked as though Sturgeon had scared them off. This is spindoctoring and chief of staff basics. They must do better.

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