Politics explained

Will Nicola Sturgeon’s push for a new independence referendum be successful?

At first sight it is difficult to understand why Nicola Sturgeon, first minster of Scotland, is launching her latest campaign for a referendum on independence for Scotland right now.

This is not because it is a bad time due to the state of Brexit, the war in Ukraine or the cost of living crisis, as her opponents suggest. The SNP view, which is perfectly plausible, is that Scotland could make a better job of meeting these challenges if it were in charge of its own destiny, and not being governed, at least in some of the most important areas of policy, by a Conservative party that hasn’t won an election in Scotland since 1955.

No. The mystery is more about tactics and strategy than the merits of the case, which will be explored in a series of policy papers the Scottish government intends to publish in the coming weeks. These will include its proposals on crucial matters such as the currency (sterling, euro or Scottish pound), joining the EU, and the “soft” border with England (analogous to the Northern Ireland-Ireland border issue), as well as Scotland’s fiscal position.


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