Nicola Sturgeon will put independence front and centre in her leader’s speech to the SNP conference in Aberdeen on Tuesday. That’s no surprise. Independence is what the SNP is in business for. What is more, after 12 years of SNP rule and five years on from the 2014 referendum, Scots voters show little sign of tiring of the party. Conservative advances have ebbed since Ruth Davidson quit and Boris Johnson became prime minister. Scottish Labour remains in historic eclipse. The SNP is on course to recapture Westminster seats from both parties, while a weekend poll put support for independence at 50%, the highest figure in recent times. An imminent prospect of Brexit means a second independence referendum is once again a wholly live issue. Ms Sturgeon is expected to make a formal request for a new vote to the UK government in the coming weeks. If there is an early general election, the indyref2 demand will be a central part of the campaign, with rival parties under pressure to … [Read more...] about The Guardian view on Scottish nationalism: a warning from Catalonia
Scottish national party brexit
The prime minister needs 320 MPs to get his deal over the line but political parties and powerful factions in Westminster have their own red lines when it comes to supporting him. Some will never support him at all and others might back a deal if it had a confirmatory referendum attached or extra reassurances on workers rights and environmental protections. These are the demands of all the key groups. Conservatives The vast bulk of the Conservative party voted for Theresa May’s deal and will be voting for Johnson’s deal, whatever he comes back with. Most of the party now just wants to get Brexit through, making up 260 MPs. Tory “spartans” This group of 28 hardline Brexiters hated Theresa May’s deal because the Northern Irish backstop proposal, which contributed to it failing in the House of Commons three times. They may be satisfied with Johnson’s compromise proposal, which involves a form of Northern Ireland-only backstop, and promises of an … [Read more...] about Could Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal pass through parliament?
Though we don’t always admit it, lots of us pro-Europeans have spent the years since the Brexit referendum trying to juggle two essentially irreconcilable views of what should happen next. One is that, awful though Brexit is, the leave vote must be honoured in the least damaging way. The other is that Britain’s departure from the European Union is so mistaken that it must be reversed, once again with least damage. More than three years on some of us are still juggling, even as Boris Johnson heads to Brussels. The thing that keeps the juggling alive is not, in the end, an inability to make up our minds. I am a remainer. Full stop. The question is how to respond to Brexit in the political circumstances of the moment, in the best long-term interests of the country as a whole? The answer has evolved. But it will soon be make-our-minds-up time. Back in 2016 my response to the leave victory was to lament it bitterly but to say that Britain should continue to hug Europe as close … [Read more...] about At first, I accepted Brexit. Now it’s become clear that we must not leave the EU
Bitter splits are emerging between political parties trying to fight a no-deal Brexit, over the new-found unity between Labour and the SNP, with claims they are speaking from the “same script”. An opposition party source involved in the regular opposition alliance talks said they believed the two parties were meeting up before official meetings to agree a joint stance that Jeremy Corbyn should be interim prime minister and on whether there should be a second Scottish referendum. Opposition party leaders, including Corbyn, the SNP’s Ian Blackford, the Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas from the Green party and Liz Saville Roberts from Plaid Cymru meet regularly in Westminster to consider ways of countering Boris Johnson over no deal and a hard Brexit. An opposition source who attends the meetings said: “Labour and the SNP are agreeing a script. “Blackford goes out first to the media and Jeremy Corbyn will come in behind after Blackford has … [Read more...] about Labour-SNP closeness opens rift in alliance against no-deal Brexit
The crowds converging on London this weekend to march for a people’s vote will encompass many thousands of Scots because their country voted by a handsome 62% to remain in the European Union. Yet do a vox pop north of Hadrian’s Wall on a second referendum, and you’ll find most people assume you’re discussing what’s known as IndyRef2 – a rerun of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, which the unionist vote won by 55% to 45%. However, by the time Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, rose to address her party conference in Aberdeen this week, the polls were suggesting that 50% favoured Scotland seceding. Significantly, more people than not supposed Scotland would be wealthier in the EU and outside the UK. The political landscape has changed because Holyrood and Westminster have diverged so strongly on policy. There is real fury in Scotland that the Home Office is still at large, stymieing the desire to secure the future of EU … [Read more...] about A second referendum on Scottish independence is suddenly very likely