An independent Scottish publisher supported by public funds is to release a collection of Nicola Sturgeon’s speeches.
The book, entitled ‘Women Hold Up Half the Sky’, will feature speeches from the First Minister delivered between November 2014, “when she took office”, and February 2020, “after Scotland’s exit from the European Union”, according to Sandstone Press.
Sandstone has received more than £410,000 in grants since 2006 from Creative Scotland, a Scottish Government body funding the arts and creative industries, the Times reports.
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The publisher will release the book on May 10 2021, four days after the Scottish Parliamentary elections, and says of the work on its website that it will “enlighten a contemporary audience on the thinking and values of this significant world leader”.
Their website reads: “In this selection of her speeches, given between November 2014 when she took office and February 2020 after Scotland’s removal from the European Union, Nicola Sturgeon considers such diverse matters as gender and other equalities, the climate crisis, education, and human rights.”
“The speeches were delivered in locations between California and Beijing, in venues as different as the World Bank in New York and the Pearce Institute in Govan”, it continues.
“Taken together they show a side of Nicola Sturgeon that is too often missed in public discourse.
“Thoughtful, progressive, compassionate, as well as passionately committed to the cause of Scottish independence, she is as pragmatic on matters of economic strategy as she is progressive on social issues.
“One of the world’s most experienced political leaders, Nicola Sturgeon was elected First Minister of Scotland in November 2014, having served in the Scottish Parliament since its inception in 1999.
It went on: “With its viewpoint looking outwards from the Scottish Parliament, rather than looking at it, Women Hold Up Half the Sky will be recognised as a landmark publication in Scottish political literature.”
However, the Scottish Conservative shadow culture secretary Maurice Golden responded to the news raising concerns regarding SNP influence.
He said: “We know there have been growing concerns about the SNP’s creeping attempt to influence and control all spheres of Scottish public life, including arts and culture. It is a favoured tactic of nationalists the world over and I applaud those in Scotland who identify it and call it out.
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“I hope that is not what we are seeing here.
“However, it’s notable that the only publishers who see commercial value in Sturgeon speeches have been in receipt of significant sums of public money through an SNP government quango.”
Sandstone Press, based in Dingwall in the Highlands, states the book is published independently of the Scottish National Party and Scottish Government and “focuses on the importance of good government and Scotland’s place in the world.”