Here we go again then. Nicola Sturgeon has finally anounced her great Scexit wheeze: after years of making claims about another independence referendum, she's finally announced a timetable at last. Thursday 19 October 2023 is now Scotland's divinely-ordained date with destiny (according to the First Minister at least) with Sturgeon prepared to use the courts to achieve this, given the UK government's continued intransigence.
To do this, Sturgeon says she asked the Lord Advocate to consider referring to the Supreme Court the position of her referendum bill with regards to reserved matters; in effect, suing herself. She confirmed that the Lord Advocate has agreed to make a reference to the court, with papers being filed in London this afternoon. The SNP leader, whose party is embroiled in a number of transparency scandals, told reporters with a straight face that 'we are seeking to deliver clarity and certainty in a timely manner'.
As Stephen Bush of the Financial Times noted drily: 'The one thing that is certain in my view is that the court verdict on this will open with 'Lord Reed (with whom Lord Hodge, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose agree)'. Sturgeon's logic is that if the Supreme Court agrees with the Scottish Government, there will be no doubt the referendum is legal; if it doesn't then it's the fault of Westminster's parliament (quelle surprise) for failing to pass such legislation. Either way, Sturgeon thinks she can't lose. For if the court goes against the Scottish Government, 'my party will fight the next General Election on this single question, should Scotland be an independent nation'.
Well, it's certainly a better prospect than the SNP standing on its record on health, transport and crime etc...