This is Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter, exclusively for Reaction subscribers. 

In 2000, Nicola Sturgeon MSP came to see us and she looked especially shifty.

That year she was campaign manager for John Swinney when he launched his bid to become leader of the Scottish National Party. Alex Salmond had resigned as SNP leader, having been defeated by Labour’s Donald Dewar in the first Holyrood elections in 1999. Swinney was the SNP party establishment choice to succeed and there was Scottish press interest, if not public interest, in whether and how he would begin his campaign to take over from Salmond.