Scottish independence: Here are the big questions Nicola Sturgeon faces as election looms – Helen Martin

With polls showing increasing support for Scottish independence, it’s a big year for Nicola Sturgeon, writes Helen Martin.

There are storm clouds on the horizon for Nicola Sturgeon (Picture: AFP/Scottish Government)
There are storm clouds on the horizon for Nicola Sturgeon (Picture: AFP/Scottish Government)

SNP support grew so rapidly this year that pro-Indies were celebrating and Unionists were horrified. Now little splits have occurred and, although the polls for independence in Scotland are still rising, opinions and debates have become more complex.

The SNP NEC has banned MP Joanna Cherry from standing for Holyrood. Many supporters would love her in the Scottish, rather than UK, Government.

Kirsty Wark’s biased documentary effectively sneered at Alex Salmond being acquitted of sexual abuse charges. Many SNP supporters worship Salmond, perhaps as much, more or less than Nicola Sturgeon – and what role, if any, did she play in the handling of the accusations?

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The Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Act is seen by many SNP supporters as anti-female with male trans women sharing loos, jails etc.

And other little Independence parties have been formed, standing for list MSP roles but not constituency seats, The SNP doesn’t approve, while some supporters do.

There is even now some supporters’ doubt, that as the FM has avoided the independence debate throughout Covid-19, she may not be pushing for it immediately after the May election, even though Scotland will already have been reorganised by the Brexited UK.

Is she planning for negotiation rather than declaration? That’s another split. Would the UK accept an Indyref2 with a vast SNP majority? Or would it still refuse? Could the election itself be equivalent to an Indyref2? Is it even likely that Westminster would negotiate a Scottish leaving deal? It’s obvious that Nicola will be expected by many during pre-election campaigning to clarify and explain all these issues . . . even if she also has to cope with a second Covid-19 wave. We must wait and see.

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