Is Nicola sitting on the fence?

There have been recent comments being made about the question of where does the First Minster stand on the issue of Indy2. Now I blogged recently and touched on the subject  and to a degree when John Curtice was quoted in the Courier and some the comments on the blog show that the issue of indy2, and when to call it, does divide opinion, but when I was thinking about it again yesterday after reading Iain’s article I did begin to wonder again what is the First Ministers thoughts on this, we just don’t really know other than let’s wait and see what Brexit looks like. Lesley Riddoch ( my choice to lead an indy2 debate) tweeted last week, and wrote in the National:

“Nicola has been gey quiet for a woman about to embark on the political adventure of a lifetime within the next 12 months”. Lesley also writes, and I can see where she is coming from, “Methinks worry about levels of popular support for independence by the party set up to deliver that constitutional goal, quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the electorate senses the keenest advocates aren’t making a bold, confident case, it hardly bolsters confidence amongst the waverers”. 

Iain MacWhirter, writing in the Sunday Herald yesterday ( I bought one as I needed change and won’t buy one again, waste of money) but anyway, Iain is asking if party unity is starting to be strained and is of the view that Nicola Sturgeon could back a Brexit referendum as a way of delaying an indy referendum and seizing the political initiative back given the shambles that is Labour, and the Conservatives. Iain points out that this strategy is a risky one as once Brexit is decided, and the border with the EU is Scotland and not N Ireland, then people may feel that breaking away from the UK is an even bigger risk. Iain rightfully points out that Nicola Sturgeon ” is not a populist ” and it has also been pointed out that the First Minister was at the head of the recent LGBT march in Edinburgh but has not been seen at any of the AUOB marches in support of Scottish Independence.

I must admit I also have a lot of sympathy with Peter A Bell when he says.

“It now seems certain that Nicola Sturgeon has chosen not to seize the opportunity to hold a new referendum in September. It looks increasingly unlikely that it will even be this year. It appears that she has opted not to seize the initiative, but to listen instead to the siren voices around her urging that we constantly wait to see what the British government does next. Then wait some more to see what they do after that. Then put off doing anything until we see how that pans out. Then postpone a decision until…. And so it goes on”.

All of the parties will hold conferences in October and for many that will be when Nicola Sturgeon will make some kind of announcement, maybe even a bold one, but given the First Minsters silence, or near as, on the issue of indy2 will this be kicked into the long grass as some suspect? I have made my view clear on this that any delay beyond 2021 damages the chances of success for any yes vote as there are no guarantees of what Holyrood will look like after 2021 and if yes will still have a mandate. I agree with Peter Curran when he tweeted,

So while I accept that I have touched on this subject before I am interested in finding out what others think, is Nicola Sturgeon sitting on the fence and maybe listening to MPs such as Pete Wishart who started a huge debate a year ago when he called for any vote to be delayed until after 2021. Politics is a gamble, timing and events dictate, I am more wrong than ever right, as is pointed out weekly be a certain Scottish Liberal Democrat I know, I won’t shame him but his name starts with D and end in aniel, but is the First Minister prevaricating on the issue of indy2 which many state and which in law could mean unfaithfulness.

I do feel to a degree that the issue of indy2 is being dragged out by the SNP. I can understand some of the reasons why, but don’t really accept them, but I don’t know if Nicola Sturgeon is sitting on the fence and that is a valid question to ask. It’s not about sowing doubt, splitting the movement, doing the unionist job for them. Time is running out, October is weeks away as Peter Curran points out. There will be those in the trust Nicola camp, all will be okay so don’t ask the question, but being a cynical old fart I don’t really trust any politicians, but I do put Nicola at the top of my trust list as far as that goes, but we need to know and we need to know soon, so maybe Lesley, Iain, and Peter have a point.

Update

Allegedly confirmed. Disappointing to say the least and may cause problems.

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40 comments

  1. Brian

    I’m a few years retired now. I worked for several bosses over the years, but I remember most one who always took the view that you make your plan, you get people round you with the right skills and preparation, then you make your timing the right timing. It won’t fall into your lap. Then it’s your decision and nobody else’s . . the UK, the EU, fate, whatever.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Brian
      I certainly hope there is a plan and I’m sure there will be somewhere. I do think the lack of clarity from the SNP is a concern but I’m no expert and I would accept impatient. Is Nicola Sturgeon sitting on the fence I don’t know and there seems to be a mixed view across the board but I do think time is running out for some sort of direction from the governing party and the yes movement won’t wait forever.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  2. trispw

    I think that the FM is waiting until we know what has happened with Brexit.

    The remit from the parliament (and from the people) was that if our circumstances materially changed, like being dragged out of the EU against our will, then the Scots said we could have another referendum.

    OK, we are leaving the EU, but we don’t know how or what it will be like. This is because of the most incredibly incompetent bunch of UK cabinet ministers any of us has ever known. Having had nearly 18 months to put together a plan, they have failed, absolutely and completely.

    We don’t know if we will be in the single market, we don’t know if we will be in the customs union. We don’t know what concession we will have from Brussels. We don’t know what it will cost us.

    We know what May says, but her mind changes depending on whether the last person she talked to was Grieve or Soubry, or on the other hand, Rees Mogg or the mad woman from NI.

    We also don’t know about any kind of trade deals we might get. Despite the disgraced DOCTOR fox’s trip to the moon and back.

    So far absolutely nothing has been even slightly inviting..

    We heard this morning that to get a trade deal with America we have to throw away our long-held principles regarding Iran. But then again, the Orange Idiot changes what passes for his mind all the time.

    Whether they all strangle themselves at Chequers or not, something HAS to be put forward to the EU for consideration in Brussels and in all the parliament (including some devolved ones) around Europe. So more or less, by October, we will know what is on offer and whether or not that constitutes what OUR Cabinet considers to be the material change required for a second referendum.

    So. Nicola said she would revisit it in October. I think that is the best time.

    To go too early could be disastrous. Likewise, if you leave it too late… we will be screwed.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Tris
      I don’t have a massive view on it other than waiting too long will kill some of the hope for success. So much can happen, the EU might offer a deal that people like, it might get kicked into the long grass which is more likely in some ways. I would have liked to see more of a skiffy from the SNP but we don’t know what Nicola Sturgeon is thinking as she has kept her powered dry. I do understand some people’s frustration, they see her front and centre at LGBT marches which is a good thing but nowhere near the yes movement, that does mean questions will be asked. Hopefully October will bring a sense of direction.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  3. Helena Brown

    I used to think we had to get into the EU as soon as we could before we left with Brexit. My thinking changed realising that some people would not accept that Brexit was a bad thing, well not until they feel the pain. There is no point on rushing into the referendum until we are assured we will win. We know we cannot trust the media or indeed the polls, we have to be certain of the numbers. I think Nicola and I expect her advisors realise that we need to have this referendum at the right time. It may mean pain but if that is what it takes so be it.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Helena
      There was never going to be a rush as I think most people accept it will go to the courts but leave it too late and your past 2021 and you then have to concentrate on keeping a yes majority in Holyrood. You might have to go through another debate and vote in the chamber as it’s a new government and that takes you into 2022 at least to start the process rolling and no vote before 2024/5 and Brexit will be well and truly in possibly and the momentum changes again. People cope and deal with things. I just see it getting harder and I can understand why people are asking questions.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

      • Helena Brown

        Oh it will be before 2021, we could do a snap referendum, I am sure once people see the problems with Brexit there is likely to be people clamouring to get out of this damned Union.
        Just though I would add, both my Husband and I have seen reductions in our pensions this month with no decent explanation as to why. In my Hubby’s case they reduced his pension by £21 a month, in mine I have had an increase in my Tax code making me around £13 a month poorer. Fortunately we know what this is all about. The Government, you know, that lot that cannot tax millionaires or big corporations has reviewed all the people like us who were Contracted out and decided we were all overpaid. Some amounts to thousands, thing is they seem to be reluctant to tell anyone how much they owe. Husband had to deal with India and his was the biggest load of rubbish.
        My reason for mentioning this is I rather suspect we may all see increases in our Tax when the Brexit effect kicks in, the Tories have to be desperate to be taking mine off pensioners.

        • Robert Nugent

          I KNOW THIS IS AN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
          BUT
          THE SNP ARE AND WERE THE SPRING BOARD
          SO WE MUST RESPECT THE LEADERSHIP
          NOT TURN INTO ANOTHER TORY OR LABOUR PARTY
          FIGHTING AND COUNTERING EACH OTHER

          KEEP IT TIGHT AND FACTUAL AND COUNTER ALL UNIONIST LIES WITH
          HARD FACTS NOT BLUSTER IT DOES NOT WORK ON SCOTS
          Thats why we do not vote Tories into power
          As they say ALL MOOTH AN TROUSERS

          • Anonymous

            Robert
            The SNP and the yes movement both need each other and neither should take anything for granted. Votes are loaned to parties and while I agree the SNP leadership have done pretty well so far any hint of pulling back will result in people removing their vote, that’s for sure.

            Thanks for commenting.
            Bruce

        • Anonymous

          Helena
          I think we will see tax rises and it will be things like pensions, vat, national insurance. All the ones that they don’t promise not to raise. Once the pain starts it will be interesting to see how much no voters love the UK. Sorry to hear about your pension, things are tough enough just now.

          Thanks for commenting.
          Bruce

  4. Bob Nugent

    I WILL SAY THIS ONLY ONCE (well no really al say aw ra time)
    WAIT AND SEE TIMING IS EVERYTHING
    WE MUST KEEP THE UOINISTS GUESSING THEYVARE DIGGIN A BIG HOLE
    NO POINT JUMPIN INTO IT
    JUST GET ALL FACTS FIGURES AND STRATEGY READY

    • grumpyscottishman

      Bob
      Timing is everything and I have no idea what is the correct time but I think it could be left too late. Once the SNP ask for the section whatever order , which will be refused I suspect, they will have a vote on a consultative referendum which will then be taken to court. All of this takes time, a lot of time and that I think favours the yoons. I don’t envy Nicola Sturgeon but I understand why people are asking questions.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  5. Neil Anderson

    We don’t need to know how or what Brexit will be like. Hard, soft or chewy in the middle; it makes no difference what kind of Brexit we’re getting. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe but we’re being removed anyway.
    If Indyred2 is not announced in October at SNP conference then we’ll know what sort of politicians we have across the board here in Scotland.
    On with the Referendum or we, the sovereign people of Scotland will take the matter into our own hands.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Neil
      That’s the fear for many people and it could split the movement which plays into the unionists hands. I don’t have any answers other than I think it could be called too late due to the process it will have to go through. Is Nicola sitting on the fence I don’t know but I think there needs to be some guidance and October is the last chance to call it before 2021 I suspect because at that point we’re into Holyrood and a year later Westminster elections and we have to start again. I think that could backfire.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  6. 100%Yes

    Need I remind the SNP you’ve been elected on a manifesto to hold a referendum if we leave the EU during this parliament and this very same parliament has passed a bill to hold one it would be foolish not to stick to your manifesto.

    • Bob Nugent

      Totally agree BUT WE NEED TO RELY ON THE PARTY THAT HAS IMPROVED SCOTLANDS
      WELL BEING FOR 9years
      WHEN REST OF UK IS STRUGGLING
      SO PATIENCE PATIENCE FELLOW YESSERS THE PRIZE IS TO CLOSE TO SPOIL
      DUE TO PERMATURE ACTIONS OR WRONG DECISIONS

    • Anonymous

      100%Yes
      That is a fair point and I have heard other people saying that. I tend to remind people that parties votes are loaned to them, there are people who if they feel betrayed in any way by the SNP would just not vote. I have often thought that if a future indy ref results in another no vote then that I think would be me. No more voting in any election and just get on with things as best I can and look after my own.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

    • Bob Nugent

      Impatience makes for POOR DECISIONS
      THIS IS THE BIGGEST DECISION IN A CENTURY
      CANNOT AFFORD TO MAKE MISTAKES

      HOLD ON OUR TIME IS COMING
      unionists will want us to go off half cocked just like them

      • Anonymous

        Bob
        Impatience does make for a poor decision I totally accept that but again timing will be important. It is interesting to hear what others are thinking.

        Thanks for commenting.
        Bruce

  7. Kangaroo

    Nicola is not sitting on the fence.
    She is readying the artillery and will fire when the time is right. October/ November ish will be enlightening for all.

    • Anonymous

      Kangaroo
      I hope so I really do as the time line will slip if they leave it too long and as I have commented above you then run the risk of Holyrood and Westminster elections taking over as Westminster will refuse off the bat and it will become a battle, a consultative referendum will end up in the courts and if yoons boycott a vote, which they probably would, that puts any result into doubt. Nothing is ever easy.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  8. mearnsgeek

    I’ll start worrying about delays in 2019.

    In the announcement last March, the plan was to leave it until the details of brexit was known, probably late 2018, early 2019.

    That’s still the case, so just old steady a bit longer. We also have the rent car on the supreme court – who knows how that could help or hinder things?

    On the subject of courts, yes, the issue going to the courts could hold things up but probably not too long and a second referendum campaign doesn’t need to take 2 years like the last one.

    Re not turning up at any of the AUOB marches, that’s totally the right thing to do: if she goes, the movement is immediately pigeonholed as being SNP which isn’t what we want.

    As your Lesley Riddoch quote goes, I don’t think Sturgeon’s going to give up on it now.

    I get where you’re coming from – I want things to move too but I want a decisive move without any stutters or false starts and for that, I think a bit of patience and nerve-holding is requires. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in Nicola Sturgeon’s shoes.

    • Anonymous

      mearnsgeek
      Yeah I don’t envy Nicola Sturgeon either way and you make valid points. I really wanted to find out what others are thinking and it is a mixed bag. My only real concern is the time line in relation to future elections and the battle in the courts. I would imagine that the Supreme Court will rule against the Scottish Government over Brexit but the process had to be done and you would hope that would be another nail in the union coffin. Brexit could be extended and certainly on Euronews some MEPs are talking about that from other member states staying they would like to see 5 years and that would certainly kill the next referendum any time soon.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  9. bjsalba

    Are the terms of Brexit clear? They are not, are they. May & Co are still trying to have their cake and get to eat.
    it. Nicola cannot – nay MUST NOT – announce the next referendum until the terms are known. The UK tactics have been to refuse to put up acceptable terms in the hope that the EU would capitulate to their unreasonable demands.

    Up till now, the Commission could fudge. The UK is now up against the legal terms of exiting the EU and if they don’t present anything workable to the Council at the October meeting then it is all over. There is no time for all the parties involved to ratify (all parliaments – which is the 27 plus some extras – and the EU parliament).

    At that point, the terms are known, or rather will be dictated by the EU.

    • Anonymous

      bjsalba
      I have seen some comments on Euronews by MEPs from member states saying they would like to see withdrawal being 5 years and if that were the case then that would put indy2 on the back burner long term as nothing would really change in the short term other than legislation being passed on transition. I don’t know what will happen, I don’t envy Nicola Sturgeon at all but I would not be surprised by another EU referendum or a delay in transition. I suppose we are all playing the waiting game.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Bruce

  10. Jock McDonnell

    I think she is correct to wait, for now. She said ‘when the terms of Brexit are known’. At the moment they are not known.
    Its also true to say that the UK is trying to drag this out until after Holyrood 2021 and that is a risk for them, if they make a slip then the FM will be all over them.
    I want a referendum before March 2019 but I also want to win it. Many, most, voters pay no attention to political issues, it will require some voters to feel the Brexit pain before they will switch to us, thats just how the electorate works unfortunately. If we get the chance in the next 6 months, we can take it. If not, then the FM can work a subtle change to the narrative & call one before May 2021.

    • Anonymous

      Jock
      I think the longer we wait the time line becomes more difficult for 2021. Westminster will refuse a referendum so the Scottish Parliament will have to debate what to do next, Court or consultative referendum which will end up in the courts either way. The EU may try to delay transition as some are calling for now in the EU or we have another vote. I don’t think the EU will back down, I wouldn’t but they could decide that a delay will result in a change of Government in the medium term at Westminster. All of which puts indy2 at risk. Certainly interesting times.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  11. Macart

    A mixture of given word/duty of office, political/legal process and ultimately, strategy would be a fair guess. Also? No, I don’t believe that the SNP and certainly not the FM have gone off the idea of independence or an indyref. The triggering of the mandate is clear and concise. Only threatened imminent removal from the EU, without the majority consent of Scotland’s population, triggers the mandate as a material change in constitutional circumstance. The statement given by the First Minister is that Scotland’s population WILL be given a choice as and when a deal/no deal/proposal has been finalised and clarified, but before it is enacted. No. 10 NEEDS to say the words, make the statement to the populations of the UK. I don’t believe that scenario has yet occurred. Then there’s the continuity bill case in the SC. How it is conducted and how it concludes will literally define the nature of devolution for anyone to see. It’ll be loud and it’ll be public. Even with the best efforts to suppress or spin by the meeja, I’d say that it’d be near impossible to keep the result quiet whatever the outcome.

    Finally, there is strategy and that is down to the individual with ALL the responsibility for ALL of the population of Scotland. One person’s strategy is another’s calamity (shrugs) I suppose. Ultimately though, it’s about their intelligence, their imagination, their drive, their commitment to a course and their nerve. How you trust them and their judgement. Each and every member of the YES movement (and I include the SNP in that), would probably have opted for round two seconds after Cameron’s appalling and graceless EVEL speech on Sept 19th four years ago. We’d have gone for round 2 prior to the 2015 and 17 elections. We’d certainly have gone for it the day after the EU ref. We’ve had and been given plenty of reason to tell Westminster tae get tae over the past four years. But it’s not about us. I’d say it’s about those who didn’t vote with us in 2014. Personally, I’m going to keep on chatting to folk whether the FM says go or no. I’m going to pretend there’s an indyref tomorrow and at some point? That’s going to be exactly the case.

    • Anonymous

      Macart
      I agree with you that the SNP/Nicola Sturgeon have not gone off the idea of independence, it’s the reason the party exists but there are those like Pete Wishart who would be happy to put it on the back burner long term that’s for sure. Obviously they can’t do that, their core vote is the YES movement and possibly 30/40% of their vote would disappear over night if that ever happened. I don’t know what will happen with the EU although I am starting to think another referendum or delay in transition become more likely as the days go on. That could tear the Tories apart but maybe they would be happy to pay that price to get the right hard core out of the party and attract the soft right liberals and labour. Who knows, all a bit of a mess. I do think the time line is problematic though and the longer it goes on the more unlikely it becomes that indy2 happen in the next few years given elections and the possibility of court etc. I, like you, will keep trying to put the case forward although my approach is it’s about democracy as that has always been what it’s about for me. The economic arguments are just an excuse to vote against for people who are British but don’t want to say they are because there is a small part of them that may just be ashamed of that and their cowardice, and of course there are those like my brother who are British end of and would like to see legislation passed that ends the names of Wales, N Ireland , England and Scotland. No Holyrood or anything else just Westminster, I don’t agree with that view at all but there is a warped honesty to it. I suppose we are all playing the waiting game and will just have to be as patient as we can be.

      Thanks for taking the time to respond and express your ideas.

      Bruce

  12. smac1314

    For me it is an existential rather than theoretical issue. If Scotland has to “feel the pain” of Brexit before it comes to its senses then our business may be gone before we are independent. Of course we won’t be alone. The referendum has to come before the Brexit reality has impoverished the country for a generation. If the SNP don’t call a referendum in this parliament, I will never vote again as there will be no party I can trust, and I will do everything in my power to persuade my wife that we have to take our business to another country, one that believes in itself.

    • Anonymous

      smac1314
      I have heard others say that they will feel let down if the vote is not called in this parliament also. I don’t have a clue how Brexit will work out, I think it will be bad but no one really seems to have an idea here or in the EU as it hasn’t been done before. I think there is good chance there will either be another vote or a really long transition. I must admit the 2014 vote still rankles with myself, the lack of belief in ourselves was really disappointing, as were the lies and the effect that jockholme syndrome has had on many. There is that part of me that knows if it’s a no vote in the future then I will be a man without a country. I’ll live here as moving at my age really isn’t an option but as far as politics goes I think my days of even voting locally or nationally will be gone, I’ll just get on with my life as best I can and look after my own.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

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