Nicola Sturgeon’s consultation on a new Scottish independence referendum gets her out of a tight spot

DELEGATES and journalists arriving in Glasgow today for the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference had one big subject on their minds: the political puzzle that has been hanging over Nicola Sturgeon since June 23rd. In Britain’s referendum on leaving the EU, every single area of Scotland voted to remain in the union. The country is thus being dragged out of the club by England. What was the first minister—herself a prominent face of the Remain campaign—going to do about that?

For keen pro-independence campaigners, some of whom have been clamouring for a new vote on quitting the United Kingdom since they lost the one in 2014, this is the SNP’s golden chance. Time to crack on with a new vote: time to untether Scotland from a right-wing, inward-looking England heading fast for a hard Brexit. It is not hard to sympathise with that argument. An ugly isolationism is taking hold in England and seems likely to impoverish Britain as a whole.

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