Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sturgeon with the whole world in her hands

When will the second referendum be?

It is the question on the lips of hundreds of new members turning up for their first ever SNP conference in Aberdeen today. It’s also the only story really exercising the media in the carnival tent in carpark 4 of the exhibition centre.

Jim Murphy in his exit speech from politics said it would be “as soon as they can get off with it”, and you can forgive the cynicism of Scottish Labour’s lost leader.

Nicola Sturgeon finessed it rather better this morning in her opening speech to the 81st SNP conference.

In a fair attempt at that old circus trick, riding two horses, she assured No voters, the majority of Scots, that there will be no commitment to an independence referendum in next year’s manifesto for the Holyrood.

Simultaneously she warned the result of the referendum we do see coming down the road, the EU vote, could be the trigger for Scotland to exit the UK. “Unstoppable” was her word, not inevitable.

But while trying reassure half the country that they are not entering “neverendum” land with the SNP she has clearly signalled that within months of winning office she could be preparing for a second referendum vote.

For rank and file SNP members, even the newbys who want a Indy2 yesterday, that should suffice. 

Sturgeon, who bestrides Scottish politics, has great command and respect from her party and there will be few, if any, dissenting voices.

It is that level of personal trust and respect that the SNP leadership want to replicate with the Scottish public over the next few months.

The election campaign is going to be all about Nicola (no Alex at all) and how much you trust and respect her to run the country. So the assurance on the referendum is a strong message.

Sturgeon said there would have to be “strong and consistent” evidence that the mood in Scotland has moved to independence before there is a second vote.

How will they know that? Polling evidence for sure but with 114,000 members, about two per cent of the population, the party ought to be able to judge the mood well enough.    

But asked if the future direction of the country would be weighed on the outcome of opinion polls by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg the First Minister let slip the proper answer.

“ It will be down to whether we judge, I judge, that people who voted no last year have changed their minds,” she said.

“I judge” - Nicola Sturgeon, she has your whole world in her hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment