Whether Nicola’s speech today postpones Indyref2, and by how much, is the cause of much fevered speculation tonight across both social and mainstream media.
Ultimately, I do not think it is important provided that she genuinely meant what she said in this section of the speech, which is by far the most important section:
Over the past few months, the focus on the when and how of a referendum has, perhaps inevitably, been at the expense of setting out the many reasons why Scotland should be independent.
The fact is we are only talking of another referendum so soon after the last one because of Brexit. And it is certainly the case that independence may well be the only way to protect Scotland from the impact of Brexit.
But the case for an independent Scotland is not just about Brexit – it goes far beyond that.
Many of us believe that independence is the right and best answer to the many, complex challenges we face as a country – and also the best way to seize and fully realise our many opportunities as a country.
So the challenge for all of us who do believe that Scotland should be independent is to get on with the hard work of making and winning that case – on all of its merits – and in a way that is relevant to the changes, challenges and opportunities we face now and in the years ahead. That is what my party will do.
We won’t do it on our own – because the independence case is bigger than us too.
My party will engage openly and inclusively with, and work as part of, the wider independence movement.
And, together, we will build and win the case that governing ourselves is the best way to tackle the challenges we face as country – from building a better balanced and more sustainable economy, to growing our population, strengthening our democracy, and tackling deep seated problems of poverty and inequality.
This acknowledges a very important truth. The SNP has not campaigned for Independence since September 2014. I have never heard a senior member of the SNP attempt to argue coherently and at any length why Scotland should be independent, since the 2014 referendum campaign. The SNP has lost its focus on Independence, and become obsessed with gaining political position within the UK devolution settlement.
If Nicola really means it, the refocusing of the SNP on Independence would be the most important thing in today’s speech. But does she mean it? How is the SNP going to connect with the “Wider yes movement?” What is the mechanism by which this will operate?
Brexit is a disaster. Just two weeks ago, the EU Commission brought new rules into force ending telephone roaming charges within the EU. From now on you will pay anywhere within the EU just the price you pay for using your phone at home. Until of course the UK “takes back control” of the right for you to pay £1.50 a minute instead.
Today the EU Commission took on Google with a massive 2.4 billion Euro fine and an order to change the abusive practices by which it prioritises answers to search results to its own commercial advantage. Once the UK “takes back control”, we can be sure that will be the end of major US corporations being challenged on our behalf. You will be able in the UK to enjoy Google manipulating search results however it may wish. Those are just two of thousands of examples, and which happen to have arisen this last couple of weeks, which show how stupid Brexit is. Not to mention the petty bureaucratic attack impositions on EU residents here.
As it becomes more and more obvious how stupid Brexit is, as the UK economy heads towards a Brexit induced depression, and as Tory cuts bite harder and harder into communities, the case for Scottish Independence will become stronger, and eventually irresistible.
We have seen how very fast political sentiment changes in the modern age. Provided there is wholehearted and unequivocal Independence campaigning, the political mood will swing strongly behind Independence at some point in the next two years, and Sturgeon’s speech today leaves room to bring Indyref2 forward when that happens.
The ground may be fertile, but if you don’t sow the seed you will not reap. To win Independence all we have to do is campaign for it. Some of us have never stopped doing that, and the groundswell of support is growing across Scotland. The SNP leadership need to get on board now or they will be running to catch up.