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The Spectator podcast: Sturgeon’s second stab

On this week’s episode we question whether Nicola Sturgeon might be tempted by a second independence referendum, consider the increasingly frosty relations between the USA and Russia, and ask whether city dogs are a menace to sheep.

First, Theresa May was in Scotland this week for meetings with Nicola Sturgeon ahead of Scottish Tory conference. Thanks to Brexit, the Scots appear to have another opportunity to try and go it alone, but with support for independence still routinely polling below 50 per cent, will she pull the trigger? Alex Massie joins the podcast to discuss the subject which he wrote his cover piece on, saying:

“Britishness still matters to many Scots — but for too many others, especially lower-middle-class swing voters, being part of the UK is increasingly viewed as essentially transactional. Unionists have inadvertently encouraged such thinking by casting the Union as an agreement between four ‘equal’ countries rather than as something which has value in its own right with the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. The difficulty here is that a contest between Britishness and Scottishness is likely to end badly for the former.”

He was joined by Fraser Nelson, who told the podcast:

“I stopped making political predictions at the last general election and I’ve had ample cause to stick to that. That’s what makes me so nervous about this: my head says it can’t happen, but my head said a whole host of things couldn’t happen. So I’m going to let my head take a backseat for a while.”

Next, the image of Donald Trump as a Manchurian candidate, planted in the White House by Vladimir Putin, has been doing the rounds ever since his election in November. But is there any truth to it? Not according to the Oval Office, who reportedly briefed this week that any predicted detente with Russia was way off the mark.

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