17 March 2017

Has Theresa May been lured into a trap?

If I were Nicola Sturgeon (which, thank the Lord, I'm not sir), I would not - inwardly - be excessively displeased by the turn of events:
Nicola Sturgeon has accused Theresa May of sealing the fate of the United Kingdom after the prime minister rejected her demand for a second Scottish independence referendum before the Brexit talks conclude.
The first minister said May’s stance was “completely outrageous and unacceptable”, hours after the prime minister had insisted that “now is not the time” for the referendum that the SNP had hoped to stage between autumn 2019 and spring 2019.
Sturgeon said on Thursday: “It’s an argument for independence, really, in a nutshell, that Westminster thinks it has got the right to block the democratically elected mandate of the Scottish government and the majority in the Scottish parliament. History may look back on today and see it as the day the fate of the union was sealed.”
She insisted she would press on with plans for a vote at the Scottish parliament next week seeking its approval to request the legal power from Westminster to stage the referendum on Holyrood’s terms – a vote she is expected to narrowly win with Scottish Green party support.
I am far from sure that the Blessed Nicola actually wanted IndyRef2 at this time (or at least within the next two years) but felt obliged to go along with the bulk of opinion in the SNP, even if the omens for an early referendum were less than propitious (oil, currency, economy and all that).  So now she may be quietly relieved that Theresa has produced the kibosh.  Nicola can once again point to perfidious Westminster, thus keeping the party activists happy while metaphorically girding her loins for a more realistic prospect of a successful IndyRef2 in the early 2020s when Brexit will have been proved to be a catastrophe but the Tories remain likely to be in power for ever and ever.

Well, maybe ...

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