Why I won't be voting in Sturgeon’s #pretendyref - Susan Dalgety

What are you doing in October 2023? Planning a late holiday in the sun before the winter sets in? Working, as usual. Or don’t you plan that far ahead?

By Susan Dalgety
Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:55 am

I haven’t the faintest idea what I will be up to in 16 months' time, but I do know what I will not be doing next autumn. I won’t be voting in the SNP’s #pretendyref that was announced last week.

A day after the First Minister had published a paper setting out the reasons why we should leave the UK – to be more like Switzerland apparently – her constitution secretary and Edinburgh MSP Angus Robertson told Holyrood that there will be a second independence referendum in October 2023.

"The first minister made clear yesterday she intends to make an announcement to the Scottish parliament in the forthcoming weeks about a route map towards a referendum, which we intend to hold next October,” he said.

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Leaving the UK may be the most important thing in Nicola Sturgeon's life, but for everyone else, there are more pressing things to worry about, writes Susan Dalgety.

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As the UK government has refused to grant a Section 30 order, which would give the Scottish government permission to hold a ballot, the only alternative is to hold an advisory referendum, one that has no legal standing. And the First Minister is clearly considering doing just that.

“I believe we can navigate a path forward,” she told journalists when she unveiled her ‘Why not Scotland’ paper.

Any move to hold a referendum without a Section 30 order is likely to be challenged in the courts, but the SNP and their junior partners in government, the Scottish Greens, seem determined to push on regardless. Sturgeon has promised she will reveal all before the summer holidays. I cannot wait.

Leaving the UK may be the most important thing in her life, but for everyone else, there are more pressing things to worry about. Take fuel prices. For the first time ever, it costs £100 to fill an average family car. Energy costs are sky-high. And food prices are predicted to rise by 15 per cent over the summer. Everyday foods like meat, dairy, and fruit will soon be luxuries.

Nicola Sturgeon, who cannot drive, is chauffer driven everywhere, her fuel costs paid for by us, the taxpayer. She has often joked she can’t cook, so is unlikely to know how much a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs now costs. And her annual salary is about five times the average wage in Scotland.

She can afford to spend her days plotting how to secure ‘freedom’ from the UK. The rest of us can’t. So, if she does decide to hold a referendum without Westminster’s agreement next October, I hope people will just ignore it.

Those who share Sturgeon’s teenage dream of independence at any cost may well take part, but a ballot without a Section 30 is as meaningful as a reality TV vote, without the glamour.

And as Edinburgh voted overwhelmingly to stay in the UK in 2014, with over 60 per cent saying “no” to independence, I can’t imagine city folk will be rushing to vote in a ballot that has no legitimacy.

I for one plan to have an emergency dental appointment. Or a migraine. Or even a family crisis. Any excuse not to take part in Sturgeon’s #pretendyref.


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