CommonSpace columnist Anas Hassan illustrates how the issue of Scottish independence will be what ultimately defines Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy as first minister of Scotland
AS we near the end of another calendar year, we edge nearer and nearer to what is set to be only the fifth time Scotland will be going to the polls to elect the next Scottish Parliament.
According to the polls as we head into the New Year, it looks like only one party is going to dominate the forthcoming proceedings. During the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference in October, the subject of independence for Scotland refused to go away, more than a year since the historic poll on the issue.
And it’s fair to say that the whole issue of independence will never fade for as long as the SNP performs well electorally. Because, let’s face it, if the party goes on to win an overall majority for the second successive time then the pressure will absolutely be on the current first minister to call the shots in terms of a potential second independence referendum.
During the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference in October, the subject of independence for Scotland refused to go away, more than a year since the historic poll on the issue.
Even though she is keeping moderately quiet about the issue for the time being, her and the rest of the party’s hunger for Scotland’s departure from the United Kingdom will never be satisfied unless that ultimate objective is achieved.
In the end, what is the point of the existence of the Scottish National Party if Scottish independence doesn’t feature on the party or country’s political agenda?
And after the emergence of a Scotland Bill that could yet still be snubbed by Holyrood and a general feeling of dejection over the lack of progress since the No vote in 2014, everything remains to play for.
Of course, it can’t be doubted that competent government and the competent running of Scotland is the main concern of the Scottish Government and the SNP must strive to ensure that it continuously achieves this while in office.
But for as long as the dream of independence remains alive, Nicola Sturgeon has no valid reason to shut the door on independence.
A second referendum is a real possibility within the next decade, given the volatile political weather that is rocking Scotland.
In fact, it’s also very valid to come to the assertion that Nicola Sturgeon’s overall success will depend on this one issue. The Yes movement is much more than the SNP and contains a variety of political voices and forces who would easily find much to disagree on with the party of government at Holyrood at this current time.
But, being first minister, Nicola is, whether she likes it or not, the person in charge of the steering wheel of this roaring political vehicle. In the event of a potential second independence referendum, she is most likely to be the leader of that campaign.
That second referendum is a real possibility within the next decade, given the volatile political weather that is rocking Scotland. And in the event that the Yes side wins, the future of the Scottish National Party will be up for question, because of it’s ultimate achievement.
It may well remain as a political party post-independence, but many people think that its place and relevance within the Scottish political spectrum might not be necessary in the event that Scotland becomes an independent country.
It would be carelessly complacent and naive to outline what Scotland’s political composition and future would look like once the country departs the UK. Nobody truly knows what is going to happen.
In the event that the Yes side wins, the future of the Scottish National Party will be up for question, because of it’s ultimate achievement.
In fact, during the Yes campaign last year, one of the advantages promoted about independence was the opportunity for voters to redecorate the newly built house around them, in an electoral and political way, of course.
In the event of all this, it must be assumed that Nicola Sturgeon has to strive to become the final ever leader of the SNP. Scotland, given its second (and most certainly, its final) chance, has to grasp it’s independence before time truly runs out.
Because, if it doesn’t, then the party’s credibility and relevance will be vastly threatened. But if Scotland finally takes its chance for self-determination, then after an existence that has stretched well over eight decades Nicola Sturgeon will have led the SNP to its ultimate ambition, therefore bringing the fairy tale ending long dreamt of by every last member of this party.
Alex Salmond laid the foundations for Scottish independence in 2014. Nicola Sturgeon’s task will be the completion of building the house.
Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland