Even Sturgeon is not serious SNPs independence dream torn apart suicidal for Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon sparks furious row with independence bid

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In recent weeks, the SNP leader has doubled down on her intentions to push through IndyRef2 next year, without the consent of Westminster. But a Scottish Conservative politician has suggested the First Minister does not truly intend to go through with the vote, because it would mean disaster for the very ideal holding the SNP together.

Tony Miklinski, Scottish Tory councillor for Cupar, Fife, told Express.co.uk that the First Minister is conscious that another vote to remain part of the UK would be “suicidal” for the SNP.

Mr Miklinski said: “I actually don’t think she’s serious.”

He added: “I think that Nicola Sturgeon is doing what she knows she’s expected to do by braveheart loyalists.

“She’s been talking about independence for so long and each time they get close to it, something comes along.”

He claimed Ms Sturgeon “knows she hasn’t got – by any means – a certainty of winning it”.

He then added: “Losing another referendum – that would be the end of the SNP.

“So she wouldn’t want to go until she’s sure.”

Mr Miklinski claimed the SNP leader was making the right noises to placate “more extreme nationalists” who are “howling” for a second independence referendum, but she is aware this is not the moment to push for a second vote.

He described: “But the circumstances now, with the kind of upset that we’ve got, and with the predicted hardships on living standards that have yet to hit us, both from the pandemic and from the Ukraine war and increased fuel prices, we’re going to be in front of a very, very difficult time in the UK in the next few years.

“And to throw an independence referendum into that mix – I think would be suicidal for the SNP.

In an ominous warning, he added: “In fact, I think this might just about be the tipping point.”

This comes as Westminster’s SNP head, Ian Blackford, said the war in Ukraine should not derail plans to hold another vote before the end of next year.

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Mr Blackford told BBC Scotland: “Is anybody suggesting that [Vladimir] Putin should determine the timeline for an independence referendum in Scotland?”

However, an ex-advisor to former First Minister Alex Salmond said the referendum was “unlikely” to be carried out by Ms Sturgeon’s timeline.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Kevin Pringle said: “It is unwise to make any definite predictions in such volatile times, but it seems reasonable to say out loud that an independence referendum is unlikely to take place by the end of next year, given the hurdles to be overcome and extensive preparations required.”

He added: “A referendum is a means to an end, nothing more. If the Scottish Government pursues it within a tight 2023 timescale that people are uncomfortable with, even assuming it doesn’t happen then, the task of building support for independence itself may be undermined.”

The SNP’s commitment to a 2023 independence referendum was a staple of their election manifesto for Holyrood seats last year.

Speaking to LBC, the First Minister said: “My plans and my thinking haven’t changed.

“We, right now, should be reminded, above all else, how lucky we are to live in a free democracy where we can put forward our case for political constitutional change, argue that case passionately, whatever our views on that might be, and trust people to decide.”

Ms Sturgeon has also promised to bypass the need for Westminster consent to a second referendum, pushing forward with the Referendum Bill regardless of Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally rejected the SNP’s call for a second referendum in early 2020, adding “the UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people” in 2014.

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