“WHAT kind of country do we want to be?” asked Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and the leader of the Scottish National Party, in her closing speech at the SNP’s annual conference in Glasgow. A heckler provided an answer: “An independent one!” The crowd cheered. But Ms Sturgeon winced.
The shout was a painful reminder that the party’s ultimate aim of independence is some way off. After an aborted push for a second referendum earlier this year (the first such plebiscite was lost by 45% to 55% in 2014), Scotland’s nationalist party now hesitates on the topic. Independence will come “as soon as we can”, said Angus Robertson, the SNP’s deputy leader. Beyond that, details are thin. The newfound reticence is simple: 52% of Scots oppose holding an independence referendum within the next five years, according to polls by YouGov. But not many of this number were in Glasgow. Any mention of a second vote on…Continue reading