Sturgeon warned razor-thin majority cannot seal independence as SNP urged to extend vote

Sturgeon says she is 'determined' to get independence referendum

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David Blake, Professor of Economics at City, University of London, also launched a scathing attack on the First Minister for being fixated with “sitting around a big table in Brussels” with European leaders such as Emmanuel Macron. Ms Sturgeon’s SNP last week agreed a power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens, which are also pro-independence.

She is simultaneously continuing to target a so-called Indyref2 – but Prof Blake was highly critical of her approach.

Scotland could not afford to have “endless independence referendums” on a ‘50 percent +1’ basis – with the SNP agreeing to this and then when the vote is lost, demanding yet another “once in a lifetime” referendum a few years later, Prof Blake stressed.

He told “The First Minister said that she wants to give the Scottish people the right to vote for independence again.

“But if there is going to be another referendum, it cannot be – like the last one – on a ‘50 percent +1’ basis.

“There must be a much higher threshold – say 60 percent or even two-thirds.

“This is what a ‘once in a lifetime’ referendum must mean. The result next time cannot be marginal.

“It has to be an absolute certainty – since it will actually be forever – and not ‘once in a lifetime’.”

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He added: “Also note that the First Minister said it should be a vote of the ‘Scottish people’ – not ‘Scottish residents’.

“This is extremely important, since there are 800,000 ‘Scottish people’ living in the rest of the UK, together with – like me – millions more children and grandchildren of the great ‘Scottish people’.

“We want to be able to vote too. It will not be acceptable for her to now say that only ‘Scottish residents’ should be allowed to vote.

“I demand the right to vote in any future Scottish independence referendum.”

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Turning his attention to Ms Sturgeon’s deal with the Greens, Prof Blake added: “The new SNP-Green government in Scotland won 49 percent of the votes in the May Scottish Parliament election.

“The Greens actually received less than 35,000 constituency votes (just 1.3 percent of the total cast.”

Ms Sturgeon’s stated aim was to build what she called a “greener, fairer and independent Scotland”, Prof Blake pointed out.

He said: “Sadly, this does not mean dealing with the severe problems faced face by Scotland’s NHS and education system – as well as the worst drug problem in Europe.

“Nor does it mean immediately ending all fossil fuel extraction in Scotland.

“The SNP government, after all, had a chance – and failed – to address these issues well before the election.”

Assessing the party’s objectives, Prof Blake claimed: “The only thing that matters to the SNP now is to press the UK government to grant another ‘once in a lifetime’ independence referendum.

“Never mind the damage to the Scottish economy from the uncertainties that this will involve – nor the costs faced by Scottish exporters from a hard border with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where 60 percent of Scottish exports currently end up – with only 20 percent going to the EU.

“No, the only thing that is important to Nicola Sturgeon is to be seen sitting at that big round table in Brussels between a French President and a German Chancellor deciding Europe’s future.”

Assessing the agreement, which she said was “groundbreaking”, last week, Ms Sturgeon added: “For my part I am determined that there will be an independence referendum in this parliament.

“I said at the election, this agreement reiterates that, that Covid permitting that will be in the first half of this parliamentary term.

“I don’t want that as an end in itself or as some abstract ambition, I believe Scotland should be independent so that we can better equip ourselves to recover from Covid in the way that I think a majority of people in our country wishes to do towards a greener, fairer Scotland and one that learns the lessons of the past 18 months and more.”

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