Scottish independence referendum: Nicola Sturgeon needs the courage to disappoint her own supporters as multiple crises rage – Scotsman comment

According to Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish independence is just over the horizon amid a “growing sense that the UK in its current state is not serving the needs of Scotland”.

Sturgeon promised her government would soon start to make the case for leaving the Union, with formal White Papers “in the very near future”.

So, at a time when people are skipping meals and struggling to heat their homes because of a cost-of-living crisis that is only set to get worse, the First Minister believes the attention of Scotland’s politicians should be elsewhere.

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And this is far from the only crisis, with a war raging in Europe and continuing economic shockwaves from the pandemic and Brexit.

In 2018, the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission set out a possible economic future for post-independence Scotland, admitting the need for long-term spending cuts to deal with a multi-billion-pound deficit. Circumstances have, of course, changed since then, but dramatically for the worse.

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So if all sensible commentators were then agreed then independence would come at a cost, it should be clear this would be harder to bear today, given the national and global situation.

It is, therefore, no surprise that just 29 per cent of people said they thought there should be another referendum before the end of 2023 in a recent poll by Survation. Even among SNP supporters, 36 per cent said there should not be a referendum next year.

Nicola Sturgeon should realise that now is not the time to launch a new Scottish independence campaign (Picture: Andrew Milligan/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Most people in Scotland can see the pressing need for the Scottish Government to concentrate on helping the economy recover from Covid, on the NHS, and on helping people to simply keep body and soul together. And that is on top of long-running problems like the shamefully high drug-death rate.

Yet Sturgeon and co appear determined that their eyes will remain fixed on the ‘ball’ about which they care the most – independence – to paraphrase her shocking admission about drug-deaths.

This will be, in part, due to pressure from the most passionate nationalists to deliver something. But a First Minister of Scotland needs to have the wisdom to recognise when the national interest must come first, the courage to disappoint her own supporters, and the judgement to know when even her own most heartfelt desires must be put to one side.

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