Scottish National Party conference to stoke independence sentiment

Scottish National Party conference to stoke independence sentiment

Scottish National Party (SNP) delegates will converge on Aberdeen today for the start of their three-day conference. Top of the

Scottish national party

Photo: SNP

Scottish National Party (SNP) delegates will converge on Aberdeen today for the start of their three-day conference.

Top of the agenda is the SNP’s wish for a second independence referendum. Leader Nicola Sturgeon has chosen 2021, when the Brexit transition period ends, as the year to hold a new vote.

An earlier vote risks alienating the SNP from a third of its own voters, who favoured Brexit, and the majority of polled Scots, who oppose another referendum. However, not committing to a date risks a rebellion among ardent pro-independence activists.

There is little prospect of a referendum in the immediate future. The SNP needs permission from London, and that likely won’t be in the cards even by 2021. Therefore, expect more pragmatic MPs to back away from an immediate referendum in favour of other options.

A strong alternative choice is “Devo-Max”—full “devolved” autonomy, save foreign affairs and defence. Expect a growing number of MPs  to consider “Devo Max” at the risk of outraging pro-referendum activists.

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