FMQs sketch: £20m for a referendum a good investment? That’s independence doomed

There are many things you can do with £20 million in the middle of a major economic crisis.

But no-one is surprised the SNP believe it should be spent on a referendum, which is definitely, absolutely, no doubt about it, 100 per cent nailed on, going to happen next year.

In a form of sadistic deja vu for those watching, the merits of an independence referendum was once again the main point of contention in Holyrood.

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Nicola Sturgeon insists £20m on second independence referendum is ‘really good i...

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The chamber was treated to Nicola Sturgeon, who thanked Douglas Ross for giving her the opportunity to “set out exactly why giving people the opportunity to choose a better future” is required within the next 18 months.

Did the Tory leader not know that big document with £1.1 billion worth of cuts on devolved responsibilities announced on Monday by the finance secretary was due to the “heavy price” of the union?

Did he not know £20m is pocket change, just 0.05 per cent, of the entire budget and the spend “is and will be a really good investment”?

This, of course, is a worrying sign for any Scottish independence fan given recent evidence.

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Nicola Sturgeon's government has set aside £20m to pay for an independence referendum next year.

Take Ferguson Marine, a failing shipyard at the time of nationalisation, now needing outside advice to improve on its competitiveness and building two ships at £150m more than budgeted.

What about the Lochaber guarantee, which ministers were warned may break state aid rules, or the Dalzell sale which did?

That’s not to mention BiFab, ScotRail, the leaderless Scottish National Investment Bank, the botched census, falling down schools and unsafe hospitals.

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Has the Sturgeon golden financial stamp of approval doomed the referendum before it even takes place?

Not that you should take lessons in how best to tackle the cost-of-living crisis from the Scottish Conservatives, they who dutifully marched through the division lobbies in Westminster in mid-May to vote down a windfall tax only to do the exact opposite after their Prime Minister required a useful distraction two weeks later.

That windfall tax, by the way, will “recklessly” stop investment in the North East, the Tories claimed on May 16.

It could be worse. Millions could be relying on these very people to solve the worst cost-of-living crisis in recent history.

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Never mind a referendum, it seems we’re all doomed.

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

It's available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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