Scottish referendum loss left Nicola Sturgeon in 'floods of tears'

Cry Baby

Losing Scotland’s referendum on independence left Nicola Sturgeon in “floods of tears”, the Scottish first minister has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday, Sturgeon revealed how she was “totally and utterly devastated” by the defeat of the yes campaign in last year’s independence referendum.

Yet the Scottish National party (SNP) leader said she remained convinced that Scotland would one day become independent, and stood by her view that the country could hold a second referendum if the UK voted to leave the European Union.

During the candid reflection on key moments in her life, Sturgeon said her English grandmother’s views had a lasting impression on her younger self and the way she perceives nationalism.

She said she was “genuinely upset” with the way some of her opponents had perceived her during the referendum campaign, and said it was at odds with how she perceives nationalism.

“I detested that sense that what we were arguing for was a rejection of England as a country, or England as a people,” she said. “It is not about antipathy or hostility towards England,” she said of the way critics represented her views during the referendum campaign, adding that the implication had “genuinely upset me”.

Looking back on her political career as she marks her first anniversary as first minister since taking over from Alex Salmond, Sturgeon added that she “regularly feels overwhelmed” by some aspects of her job.

Away from day-to-day politics, if stranded on a desert island, Sturgeon would be found reading a Jane Austen novel, listening to Cilla Black and sipping a cup of strong coffee, she said.

She told Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young, however, that it was unlikely that she would “survive for very long” as a castaway as she is “not practical in the slightest”.

“I am going to take a coffee machine, because the one thing I cannot do without in the morning is my injection of caffeine. I like it strong with a little bit of milk,” said Sturgeon.

But “what I take with me is pretty academic because I won’t survive for very long”, she added.

Her castaway songs of choice include Step Inside Love by Cilla Black, with whom Sturgeon said she had a childhood obsession, as well as Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves by Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin – a song she said “speaks to the feminist in me”.

Sturgeon, the latest politician to be invited to review moments of her life on Desert Island Discs, also spoke about her childhood in Irvine, North Ayrshire, and her early political awakening in the 1980s during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.

“My political awakening, if I can be as grand as to call it that, was all about what was happening around me,” she said. “It wasn’t some romantic, patriotic vision of Scotland going back to what it had been 300 years previously. It was very much about a sense of hopelessness in the community I was growing up in.

“I was fascinated, long before I joined the SNP, in the world around me, current affairs really interested me,” said Sturgeon, whose SNP won 56 seats in the general election in May.

She also said if she was cast out at sea, she would most like to save and spend her time listening to the Robert Burns song My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, which was played at her wedding to Peter Murrell, the SNP chief executive.

“This is special to me, partly because I love Robert Burns, but also because this song was played just before Peter and I took our vows at our wedding,” she said.

Asked about her relationship with her husband, she told Young: “We worked together particularly closely on a campaign, and then when the campaign ended and there was no real reason for us to see each other every day the way we had done for the last three months, I suddenly realised I wanted to see him every day – and luckily he felt the same.”

Questioned over why the couple do not have children, Sturgeon said she had no regrets and said: “That can be hurtful, if I am being brutally honest about it, because people make assumptions about why we don’t have children.The assumption that people sometimes make is that I have made a cold, calculated decision to put my career ahead of having family, and that’s not true,” Sturgeon added.

“Sometimes things happen in life, sometimes they don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets. If I could turn the clock back 10 or 20 years, I wouldn’t want to fundamentally change the path my life has taken,” she said.

Powered by article was written by Aisha Gani, for on Sunday 15th November 2015 12.24 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010