Sturgeon calls for patience in delivering Indyref2 after Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has firmly stated that the path to Indyref2 “must be legal and legitimate” while urging her party to fight and win the political case for a vote.

The First Minister spoke in Edinburgh this morning, reinforcing her position on holding a referendum on Scottish independence in 2020.

The Leader of the SNP said today would be a day of “real and profound sadness” for the many Scots that voted to remain in the EU as Britain leaves at 11pm tonight.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s main points from Friday’s speech (Credit: EN4 News)

Using her final keynote speech before the Brexit deadline, she enforced that she wanted to “focus on hope of a different and better future for Scotland.”

Urging for patience from supporters and party members, the First Minister warned that she will be pressing ahead with plans for a “consultative” referendum without the UK Government, but this is not her preferred strategy.

Commenting on the constitutional reservation in the Scotland Act that puts any form of independence referendum outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament, she explained that this, “has never been tested in court.

This means it cannot be said definitely that is would not be legal, but equally it cannot be described as being beyond legal doubt.”
Stressing that if the court ruled it legal it wouldn’t be a “wild-cat referendum”. However, the First Minister, concerned about damaging the existing progress of the Yes movement, expressed her concern:

“It could move us forward – but equally it could set us back.”

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Laying out the next steps for the SNP’s path to independence, she said the party will double their budget for advertising the potential vote.

The increase in budget will mainly be used for advertising, creating new independence material and a new film aimed at people unsure of voting yes.

The Scottish Government will release the “New Scotland” series of papers, aimed at ensuring that the people of Scotland have the information to make an informed choice on Scotland’s future.

The First Minister will also ask the Electoral Commission to re-test the question – “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

This is a reaction to the passage of the Referendum Bill in late 2019 and the vote in favor of a second referendum at Holyrood on Wednesday.

The creation of a Constitutional Convention will also be part of the strategy. Similar to the convention set up in the campaign to build the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the new group will be made of MP’s, MSP’s, former MEP’s and councillors and will look to create a larger unified group in support of the vote.

Sturgeon highlighted that the “the work of the SNP’s Social Justice Commission is a vital part of this and is well underway, engaging with organisations across Scotland.” She hopes that the findings of the Commission will allow “the powers of independence to make Scotland the fairer country we all want it to be.”

Expressing her regret at the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the First Minister lambasted Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Government on several occasions, saying “they have shown no interest at all in finding ways to accommodate our distinctive views and interests.”

Interim Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw, hit back at Nicola Sturgeon’s comments,

“On the day we leave the EU they want a government which focuses on Scotland’s economy and jobs.”

“This was a downbeat statement from the First Minister faced with the reality that will be no referendum anytime soon. People across Scotland are sick and tired of her relentless pursuit of a referendum they simply don’t want.

Carlaw’s comments come a few days after YouGov published a poll that had 51% of Scots in favour of a yes vote in an independence referendum, the first time since 2015 the yes vote has been in the lead.

The SNP’s Alyn Smith, spoke damningly about Scotland’s influence in the UK under Tory leadership.

“The constitutional reality in Scotland is that we are not a partner in the UK we are a part of it, and it’s now run by a tory administration that talks about one nation but is really about one nation: England.

“They’re saying that we should shut up and know our place and it’s not good enough.”

Sturgeon will invite Scotland’s elected representatives in Scottish, British and European Parliament to take part in a new Constitutional Convention that endorses a modern Claim of Right for Scotland.
Carlaw remains staunchly opposed to the SNP’s continued push for independence.

“People across Scotland are sick and tired of her relentless pursuit of a referendum they simply don’t want.

“They want Nicola Sturgeon to put her referendum plans where they belong – firmly on the backburner.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be broadcasting a message to the nation an hour before the 11 o’clock deadline, when the UK officially leaves the EU.

 

Sturgeon speech “a safe message in the moment”

Analysis by Iain Leggat

A few feathers will have been ruffled following Nicola Sturgeon’s speech.

On ‘Brexit Day’ the First Minister committed to playing the waiting game and has cautiously moved away from the ‘wildcat’ referendum label. A safe speech in a moment where supporters may have wanted fire.

Unwilling to settle with Boris Johnson’s government decision to rule out the option of a second vote in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon’s comments on a ‘consultative referendum not being her preferred strategy, is a sure sign she will play the long game.

In a week where we saw young SNP favourite MP Mhari Black says “don’t rule out wildcat referendum”, Sturgeon has opted to appease the many and not the few.

A new message for independence doubters. Instead of delivering a message that hard-line IndyRef2 supporters would have liked it sent a new message for independence doubters.

The “cast-iron democratic mandate” that the leader has argued over several times remains a key soundbite for the party, but to attract a greater Yes majority, sitting at 51% released in the YouGov poll yesterday afternoon, Sturgeon’s calls for the process to be “legal and legitimate” may help.

After a calamitous Brexit referendum process reduced trust in the democratic process, the SNP will not want to follow suit.

Even more pragmatic than usual, the unity that Ms Sturgeon calls for could be a winning formula.

A new Constitutional Convention of MP’s, MSP’s, former MEP’s and councillors, is a move that worked ahead of the creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Announcing the release of the “New Scotland”papers will be aiming to be more thorough than 2014 White Papers. From here the path is still unknown, but on the eve of Brexit, Sturgeon looks content in playing the waiting game and opting for a more self-assured vote to take place.

Two Midlothian brothers found ‘safe and well’ hours after going missing from primary school

Brothers Michael and James O’Brien have been found “safe and well”

Two missing school children have been found “safe and well” following an urgent appeal for information after the pair failed to attend school on Thursday.

Nine-year-old Michael O’Brien and his six-year-old brother James, known as Jamie, were dropped off at their school in Carnethie Street, Rosewell at around 8 a.m. but were not present for their morning lesson.

The police’s  canine unit had been deployed immediately in the search for the two boys as well as a large amount patrol officers.

Midlothian Police wrote on Twitter confirming that the boys had been found.

“We are pleased to report Michael and Jamie O’Brien, missing from Rosewell this morning, have been traced safe and well. Thank you to everyone who shared our information.”

QUIZ: Can you recognise these areas in Edinburgh from these old photographs?

Can you recognise these areas in Edinburgh from these old photographs?

The tug of war over Edinburgh’s redevelopment

The former Boroughmuir High School will be exclusively sold to a group of Hong Kong investors before Edinburgh locals have the chance to snap up the very limited amount of flats.

Edinburgh residents looking to buy have been told they must wait until January to have a chance of purchasing one of the homes, however potential Hong Kong buyers have already been given a “very limited selection” according to the developer CALA Homes. The prospective South East Asian customers are said to include several investors who have already begun to purchase properties.

Hopeful buyers have called the sale, “immoral” and “upsetting”. This feeling that has been echoed throughout the city, and, as a result, multiple campaign groups have formed to stand against private companies changing Edinburgh’s landscape. They also want to put pressure on the council to limit the amount of alterations to the capital’s historic image.

Despite investors seemingly having a good deal of control over the redevelopment of certain areas, many Edinburgh locals are having their say about how their city will look heading into the next decade to ensure that the Scottish capital is not negatively affected by outsider business and redevelopment.

Save Iona Street, a campaign group who oppose the demolition of Thornhill Woodmill in Leith, have said that replacing the old mill with student accommodation would cause problems for current and future residents as well as the existing buildings.

“We want a development that welcomes everyone, including students, and believe this is best achieved by mixed-use housing only – not dedicated student accommodation, but primarily affordable and social housing,” they said.

“Only 25% of residential housing in the current proposal is set aside for affordable housing.

“Numbers 21-71 on the north side of Iona Street are part of the Leith Conservation area. The proposed development will dramatically reduce the light levels available to these properties, as well as fundamentally changing the look and feel of this section of Iona Street, which is within a conservation area.”

This year, foreign investment in Scotland reached an all-time high, with £575 million been invested in the first six months alone.

The issue of Edinburgh becoming a more modern city is a polarising debate, and as long as the council continue to continue to allow more overseas funding to head projects, it will continue to be a constant thorn in their side.

Although pressure groups are managing to mobilise large groups of people, in their tens of thousands in the case of Save Leith Walk, the vast global influence of the investors has been too lucrative for the Council and the Scottish Government to turn down.

Buildings like Thornhill Woodmill and the old Boroughmuir High School have dominated the city’s skyline for the last hundred years but with the change to it already well underway, more is likely inevitable.

SCOTLAND CALL-OFFS: WHY ARE OUR PLAYERS PICKING CLUB OVER COUNTRY?

Scotland will be without star players such as Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney for their upcoming matches. (Credit: EN4 News)

 

The build up to Scotland’s upcoming European Championship Qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan gave been marred, once again, by several high-profile withdrawals from the squad.

Captain Andy Robertson, Liam Cooper, Ryan Fraser and Scott McTominay have all dropped out due to injury, while Arsenal have asked for key player Kieran Tierney to be left out after just returning from a long-term double hernia problem.

Scotland are unable to qualify through the traditional route with only two games remaining, but could still make it to their first major championships since 1998 if they can navigate their way through the UEFA Nations League. With little importance left on the last two games and a string of questionable late withdrawals from the squads, some have questioned whether the calls-offs are genuine, and if players are giving 100% when playing for Scotland.

All four players that have left the Scotland squad played for their clubs at the weekend, but only two, Liam Cooper and Scott McTominay, came off with injuries, while the others played the full 90 minutes with no apparent problems.

In August, we were given a glimpse into the attitude of some players towards playing for Scotland. A YouTube video surfaced of Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie expressing his negative feelings towards playing for the national team. McBurnie later apologised for his comments, saying they were taken out of context.

 

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Former Scotland International Kevin Gallacher thinks key players have a poor attitude towards playing for the national team.

“I’m told now that clubs don’t want their players injured. So maybe players are looking after themselves a little bit more,” Gallacher told BBC Sport Scotland.

“Which means in games for Scotland they’re maybe not giving their 100%. In our time you just gave 100% whether you were going to get injured or not. It didn’t matter.

“I got injured a few times playing for Scotland and I went back to my club and they weren’t happy but for me it wouldn’t stop me playing for Scotland. No matter what, I was going to do it.”

Gallacher, who won 53 caps for Scotland, highlighted the issue of clubs putting pressure on their players to minimise the risk of injury.

Last year, Bournemouth demanded Ryan Fraser to not travel with Scotland to play Kazakhstan because the surface of the pitch in Astana was plastic. The club were concerned the chance of injury was too high, although there is no data to support that players get injured more often or severely on artificial surface as opposed to grass.

Scotland assistant manager Alex Dyer has refuted the claims that certain players are pulling out of the Scotland squad for reasons other than injury.

“If a player is injured, we can’t do anything about it,” Dyer said at a press conference this week.

“All the ones that have pulled out this time are genuinely injured. It’s not like they wanted to be pulled out or didn’t want to come.”

Scotland have had 27 call-offs since last November, far more than any other home nation. Two-thirds of players that have pulled out have featured for their clubs within two games of the club football restarting after the international break.

The statistics suggest that clubs are using certain international breaks that are seen as less important to them, allowing the players time to rest and recover from an ever demanding season of league, cup and European games.

While the other home nations have seen good levels of success in recent years, Scotland have had little to cheer about. With more dead rubbers coming up due to early exits from competitions, players are becoming more willing to miss games than in years gone by.

And until Scotland start to see some level of success, it is likely players will continue to choose their clubs over their country.

 

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