DOES NICOLA STURGEON PREFER A FEDERALIST COMPROMISE?
For some time I have believed and stated that Sturgeon is, by her nature, a manager and not a visionary who would use every opportunity available to take Scotland out of the union.
It should be pretty clear by now that her super-cautious approach ensures that she will never dare to move against the British establishment and its Deep State. We know them all too well to have to explain why Scotland's institutions from its government down, are so deeply intertwined with Britain's that nothing short of wholesale destruction and a new beginning from scratch could ever free Scotland of those ties.
That is why I believe Sturgeon would choose an end to the impossible dilemma of preparing for a putative referendum which, by her own acknowledged rules of needing first to obtain a Section 30 Order from Westminster, she can never expect to be held. That is why I find myself agreeing unexpectedly with Stephen Daisley in the Spectator when he suggests that the FM is taking us all for a ride.
Those few who bothered to watch in its entirety the FM's Ministerial Statement last Wednesday may have noticed her reply to Liberal Democrat, Mike Rumbles, on his comments about federalism.
Replying to Rumbles she said, "We cannot unilaterally turn the UK into a federal country. That requires the UK government ... I will leave Mike Rumbles to continue to beaver away to try at some point to deliver federalism and I will be the first to congratulate him for it."
Now, admittedly she also observed in that reply the sheer futility of anyone trying to persuade the WM government to take federalism seriously. They don't and they never have. The UK establishment and its government appear to suffer from a clinical pathology in its inability and mulish refusal to understand the most basic principles of federalism.
Sturgeon's reply should be understood in that context and her promise to congratulate Rumbles be nothing more than sarcasm. But I cannot help detect just a hint of wishful thinking in that reply saying "We cannot unilaterally turn the UK into a federal country. That requires the UK government."
Was there the teeniest suggestion there that she would be open to multilateral talks on federalism along the lines of her open invitation to have cross-party talks with the unionists as well as holding a Citizen's Assembly on Scotland's constitutional future?
Certainly, Craig Murray, an ex-UK Ambassador and far more experienced political commentator than I seems to have when, last Wednesday, he tweeted:
"Sturgeon's 'Citizen's Assembly' will do nothing to advance the cause of Independence, but fumble around looking for federalist compromise. Establishment controlled, it will achieve nothing because designed to kick the Indy can 2 more years down the road."
Taking her speech in its entirety, interpreting her invitation for cross-party talks with unionists and a citizen's assembly on Scotland's constitutional future I can only arrive at the conclusion that her 'update' last Wednesday was really nothing to do with preparations for another referendum on independence.
It was something else entirely: while preparing a legislative framework for another referendum of sorts (with no question decided upon to put to the electorate) the speech was really an open invitation for cross-party talks and the creation of a citizen's assembly. Nothing more.
So before Sturgeon's followers become too excited about another referendum having been announced they should sit down, take a few deep breaths, and listen to or read what she actually said. Wishful thinking, as we all should know by now, has only led us down a road to nowhere.