After the SNP’s fourth consecutive Scottish election win, Nicola Sturgeon will be talking a lot about her “mandate” for an independence referendum, says Euan McColm in The Scotsman. Only “the more gullible nationalists” should believe her. She can’t hold a vote without the backing of the British government – and when that last happened in 2014, there were plenty of unionists who agreed the question should be asked. Many of them now have no wish to relive that “angry and unpleasant” campaign, and polls show a “substantial number” of nationalists don’t consider it a priority either.
The SNP’s spin is that opposition to a second referendum is “a democratic outrage”, but, tellingly, the party hasn’t even begun to produce a plan for currency or border issues. In fact, the last few days of Sturgeon’s election campaign turned away from independence to focus on her Covid leadership. She knows there’s “only so much referendum talk Scots can bear”. While the polls show Scotland is “perfectly divided” on independence, a vote is as risky for her as it is for Boris Johnson. We’ll “have to content ourselves with a grinding phony war in which the Prime Minister refuses to grant a referendum that the First Minister doesn’t actually want”.
Read the full article here.