Scottish independence: SNP needs to focus on the economy and public services, not Indyref2 – Scotsman comment

The Scottish National Party’s reason for existence is to secure independence and it is unlikely to ever give up that goal. The clue, as they say, is in the title.

Nicola Sturgeon should pause for thought about a second Scottish independence referendum (Picture: Robert Perry/PA)
Nicola Sturgeon should pause for thought about a second Scottish independence referendum (Picture: Robert Perry/PA)

However, its leaders do have to pay attention to political reality and if there is not sufficient support for leaving the UK, they would be fools to demand a referendum they were bound to lose, for all the clamour from their more passionate supporters.

So a new poll by Savanta ComRes for the Scotsman, which shows nearly six out of ten people think discussions about Indyref2 should stop because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and just over half think this should happen because of the cost-of-living crisis, will at least give Nicola Sturgeon and co pause for thought.

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How long that pause lasts depends on the SNP leadership’s judgement and on events, but it should refocus their minds on the need for good government to speed our economic recovery from Covid, deal with the cost-of-living crisis as best as possible, and address pressing problems in the NHS and education in particular.

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The danger of repeatedly planning for a referendum that keeps not happening is that bread-and-butter public services gradually get worse amid the inevitable sense of political drift. If you’re constantly packing for a trip to the Promised Land, the incentive to improve your existing conditions is reduced.

The SNP needs to recognise that Boris Johnson’s refusal to grant permission for another referendum and the slide in support for holding one – at least, in the current circumstances – means their independence dream may need to be delayed and more practical issues should take priority.

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