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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Nicola’s four big decisions - maybe the most fateful ones of her career…

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, faces in the next few weeks what will possibly be the four biggest decisions of her career –

1. Whether to call #indyref in those few weeks or not, or put it on a back burner until after UK/EU negotiations following the triggering of Article 50 are concluded

2. If she calls it in the next few weeks, to determine the date for the referendum ballot in 2018

3.To decide on the SNP Government’s position on Scotland’s EU membership in the referendum campaign.

4. To decide on the action to be taken if the UK Government either

refuses to sanction the independence referendum and reach an Edinburgh Agreement Two on its timing, the question, and how it should be conducted


tries to impose or negotiate unacceptable conditions of approval on such an Edinburgh Agreement Two.

The necessary sequence of events if the FM decides to go ahead are as follows -

1. Call #indyref2, i.e. announcement, inform Scottish Parliament, press release, etc.

2. Submit to vote by Scottish Parliament for ratification and submission to UK Government.
(It will be supported by Greens, giving a narrow majority).

3. Attempt to agree legality with UK and secure an Edinburgh Agreement Two. Go ahead with or without agreement.

4. Launch YesTwo campaign formally, naming a referendum ballot date in 2018


As an SNP member and committed online activist, my view - offered in blog analyses since last October and  on Twitter - – is that Nicola should commence the above sequence with a significant indicator of intent at SNP Spring Conference in March and a formal triggering of the sequence as soon as  UK Government triggers Article 50 in late March.

My arguments for doing so are contained in blogs and a very large number of tweets on the subject. I may restate and elaborate on them in later blogs, however, I want to develop at least some specifics in this blog.


Some voices have been saying that Nicola should abandon SNP commitment to EU in the #indyref2 campaign after it is called – if it is called.

Despite the fact that the SNP effectively seems to have rowed back – and back again – from its 2016 manifesto commitment not to allow Scotland to be dragged out of EU against its will, and has been progressively diluting that commitment to instead settling for some kind of single market deal from a prime minister manifestly disinclined to offer Scotland anything that would signal its status as a nation and one not subject to the arbitrary whims of a sovereign Westminster, #indyref2 gives the SNP the opportunity to restate its commitment to EU and its intent to seek to remain in the EU after independence is secured.

But, given the current unease of some commentators in YES-Two and the existence of a significant bloc of YES voters who voted LEAVE in June 2016 - and a bloc of Leave voters in the former NO electorate - it’s probably not a good idea to do that.

But the First Minister doesn’t have to!

There is no need for EU to feature in #indyref2 campaign, other than as individual YES2 groups committed to it and individual views.

The SNP and the First Minister in the #indyref2 campaign should commit firmly  to a Scottish Parliamentary  election soon after independence day, followed by EU membership referendum if the new Government supports one.

Scottish Indy Leavers will then get their chance soon after independence to elect a Scottish government that will commit to a referendum on EU membership.

I would hope that the First Minister and her key strategic advisors are strongly influenced by the content of these two significant broadcast interviews yesterday on BBC Good Morning Scotland.


What I confidently hope for as the outcome of that fast  Holyrood election after independence would be a re-elected SNP Government - or a formal coalition with the Green Party.