14 February 2021
Letter to the Editors
from Roger White
There is much to agree with in J R Thomas’ article ‘Lowland Trouble. Sun setting on Union?’ on Scottish politics. As a pro-British resident of Scotland, may I add a few points?
Not all polls are as conclusive as the 57% support for separation he cites. Others show less support. If you strip out ‘Don’t knows’, fewer than half of respondents usually support independence. If you dive into the detail (for example, in a recent Savanta ComRes poll) most Scots rate health, education and the economy as more important, and most do not want another referendum for at least five years. For pro-Brits, there is still all to play for.
Internal dissent within the SNP is more complex than Sturgeon vs Salmond. A lot focusses on the approach to separation – should they go down the constitutional route or have a Plan B (think Catalonia)? There’s also a woke vs non-woke split focussing on trans rights and much else that is ‘politically correct’. Though nothing is published, the party is said to be haemorrhaging members.
Any return of Salmond to politics would not be easy – he resigned from the SNP before his trial and isn’t currently a member. He’s not and couldn’t be a candidate in our May election. A poll has shown he’s almost as unpopular in Scotland now as Boris. He’s arguably a spent force, though I concede I’d not put money on it.
Nicola Sturgeon may herself have a short political shelf life left. As well as the parliamentary inquiry into how the Scottish government handled complaints against Mr Salmond, she is the subject of a separate inquiry into whether she lied to parliament. She denies the accusation but if she did it may be a mortal blow, notwithstanding her current popularity with many voters.
Thomas rightly says ‘Scotland’s polity is in a bad way’. Since you published his article, Conservative MSP and academic lawyer Adam Tomkins has articulated the same thought in a withering speech to Holyrood – ‘Scotland is starting to stink. Of corruption’.
Don’t assume that separation is a done deed.