Alex Salmond and Fist Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
By Bryan Stuart in the Scottish Review
There is a new political landscape in the UK following the General Election. The island of Ireland is moving towards much closer integration and Scotland is at a tipping point between two unions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is still overshadowed by the achievements of her predecessor, Alex Salmond, and appears to be promoting a wholly impractical indyref2 simply to divert attention from her strategic dithering.
As an economist, Mr Salmond did not foresee currency being a major issue with independence, given the nature of the future relationship he promoted in 2014 was essentially one of confederation within a UK in the EU. The flat refusal of the UK Government to countenance continuing to share sterling by arrangement will echo down the pages of history as the key break point if Scotland again becomes independent.
The Tories (formerly known as the Conservative and Unionist Party) are hurtling lemming-like towards the abyss, with a leadership that apes Trump’s irrationality but lacks his originality. Boris Johnson could still deliver a soft Brexit that minimised economic damage to the UK as a whole by adopting the same arrangements being put in place for Northern Ireland UK-wide, but all the indications are that he would rather have a no deal one.
The SNP was foolish to support a December election, and should not have been influenced by the catastrophic Liberal Democratic leadership of Jo Swinson. Inevitably, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was manoeuvred into falling in behind that too. England’s century of substantive social democratic parliamentary representation toppled at one blow. Labour has now been absorbed by the SNP in Scotland, just as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has become part of the Tories.
Ms Sturgeon’s performance on public platforms was head and shoulders above the other party leaders during the election. However, there is a policy vacuum when it comes to articulating meaningful economic development proposals sufficiently to convince another 15-20% of Scots who currently remain unpersuaded on Scottish independence. She needs to stop seeking to manage the aspirations of the SNP’s membership and focus on opening up real internal debate and consequent policy formulation.