This week, with the most coveted award that gives the event its name, the Scottish Politician of the Year leaderboard comes to an end.
Since 1999, there have been 13 Scottish Politician of the Year winners, but when it came to narrowing the list down to one overall winner, the judges didn’t hesitate.
Nicola Sturgeon was the unanimous pick with a record five wins. According to the judges, she is clearly in a class all by herself.
Looking back at her track record, it is striking how varied her achievements are. The awards trace her journey from minister to head of government to the leading political figure in Britain.
In 2008, her first win was as Minister of Health, when she also won debater of the year for her command of her mandate during an outbreak of ambulance crisis and hospital infection, and for assisting the SNP to a spectacular victory in the Westminster by-election in Glasgow East, held by Labour.
She won again four years later for helping to enact landmark SNP legislation on the minimum unit price for alcohol, promoting same-sex marriage, and being placed in charge of a reshuffle of the proposed referendum campaign.
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In 2014, Ms. Sturgeon pulled off the trifecta, accepting her award just hours after being sworn in as the first female First Minister of Scotland.
She soon ensured an unprecedented increase in SNP membership, although dejected by her referendum defeat, turning her first election challenge as party leader into a triumph.
The achievement, in which 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs were awarded by the SNP, made her the only person to receive the award more than three times in 2015.
As the SNP continued to expand, the First Minister was also lauded that year for putting the education gap at the top of her political agenda and supporting gender equality, becoming the third largest party in the UK. With 110 thousand representatives.
Ms. Sturgeon had achieved unparalleled influence in the U.K. by the time she received the award for the fifth time in 2019. Political structure.
In addition to securing a third term for the SNP in 2016, in that year’s referendum, her staunch opposition to Brexit was undeniably a factor in Scotland voting 63 percent to 37 percent to stay in the EU. The constitutional repercussions of that outcome are still being felt.
She was able to revive the SNP and boost her place in the 2019 election, even though she swept the Indyref2 in the 2017 general election.
This year, she also called a climate emergency and led the SNP to its best-ever European election performance, where half of Scotland’s six MEPs won the party.
Judges praised her for skilfully integrating arguments against Brexit with independence arguments, cultivating a sense of the inevitability of Indyref2.
During the pandemic, her leadership abilities, her sparkling approval scores, and the SNP’s prospect of securing a second overall majority next year at Holyrood speak to a politician of extraordinary talents.
The panel also praised Ms. Sturgeon’s predecessor exceptionally.
When he first took his 73-year-old party to power in 2007, Alex Salmond changed the political environment of the U.K. as well as Scotland. Ever since then, it has been there.
Given that Mr. Salmond had left the SNP leadership and Holyrood, just to make a bold political comeback, the achievement was all the more impressive.
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Having broken the proportional representation system at Holyrood after the SNP gained the only overall majority to date, he won again in 2011 and 2013, and secured the independence referendum in 2014, largely based on his terms. Although they called attention to the shortcomings of his character, the judges also praised his ability to establish the political atmosphere.
Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was also credited for leading the restoration of her party after nearly two decades in the doldrums. Following wins in the Holyrood, local and general elections of those years, she won the award in 2016 and 2017, with her party of 13 MPs allowing Theresa May to stay in Downing Street.
Donald Dewar, the first of our first ministers and the first recipient of this group of awards, and Sir George Reid, the president who led Holyrood after the out-of-control ignominy,