Alex Massie writes: On 24 June last year, in the Georgian splendour of her official residence in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Scotland’s First Minister offered her reaction to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Since Scottish voters endorsed Remain, it was now, Nicola Sturgeon said, ‘highly likely’ there would be another referendum on Scottish independence. Since then that promise — one viewed with dread by the two million Scots who voted to preserve the Union in 2014 — has been variously ‘on the table’, ‘more likely’ than ever and even ‘all but inevitable’. The clock is ticking.
Later this month, Sturgeon will address her party’s annual conference. She is expected to outline the terms and conditions she seeks for another referendum. That begins with a demand that the UK government pass a Section 30 order granting the Scottish parliament the right to hold a second plebiscite. Having granted such an order in 2014, it will be difficult to refuse Ms Sturgeon’s demand for another.
If there is another referendum, Sturgeon says, the fault lies with a Conservative government in London that is ‘dragging’ Scotland kicking and screaming out of the European Union against its will — that Scotland is being bullied by its neighbour and must now make a choice for itself: independence or a Tory-dominated Brexit Britain. [Continue reading…]