Public sector pay strikes: Nicola Sturgeon has 'personally intervened'. What a privilege for everyone concerned – Brian Wilson

I loved the press release about Nicola Sturgeon “personally intervening” in talks about the public sector pay strikes. Presumably this is as opposed to being represented by her Vicar on Earth, Mr Swinney.

Should we be grateful that, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe having concluded, she can “personally” find time to fit in a meeting about disputes that were telegraphed for months with deeply damaging impacts, particularly for Edinburgh, evident for several weeks?

Or are we entitled to ask – as she would certainly have asked of her Labour predecessors, in the nastiest terms – why on Earth was she not “personally” involved when it was possible to pre-empt these strikes? At least, her “personal” involvement abandons the pretence it was not the Scottish Government’s business all along.

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The implication that all this is below her pay-grade, only to be entered into “personally” when it is going politically wrong, reflects delusions of grandeur, doubtless fuelled by the sycophancy book festivals encourage.

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Incidentally, on that front, I only met Brian Cox once. I can date it very precisely to August 2002, which was before the Iraq War, and he was boring on endlessly about the impossibility of living in the UK due to tax rates under a Labour government. Safer now to stick with New York and London, Brian.

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In better days, he might also have reflected that pushing low-paid workers into strike action is something Labour politicians would “personally” have worked day and night to avert. But where’s the glamour in that?

Brian Cox was in conversation with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

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