First Ardern, now Sturgeon: leaders echo ‘dehumanising’ pressures

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

February 21, 2023

First Ardern, now Sturgeon: leaders echo ‘dehumanising’ pressures


Nicola Sturgeon (left) and Jacinda Arden both spoke of wrestling with competing demands of high office. Composite: Getty

Like ex-New Zealand PM, Scotland’s first minister speaks of duty to admit how ‘brutality’ of political life got to her

he was, she stressed, “a human being”, not just a politician. And as one who had wrestled with accepting she simply no longer had the reserves needed to do the job justice, it was her “duty to say so”.

Just three weeks after insisting there was “plenty left in the tank”, Nicola Sturgeon’s shock announcement revealed the personal toll she said eight years as Scotland’s first minister had exacted on her and her loved ones.

Could she have battled on for longer? Yes. Could she have given it “every ounce of energy that it needs?” Then the answer was “different”, she said. And she had “a duty to say so now”.

As she spelled out her reasons in detail, the echoes of another, equally surprising resignation, were impossible to ignore. When Jacinda Ardern announced last month that “I no longer have enough left in the tank” to continue as New Zealand’s prime minister, there was equal shock. She too spoke of a duty to admit her doubts.

Click here to read the full article published by The Guardian on 15 February 2023.

Caroline Davies
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