Ms Sturgeon last night weaved into her nation’s Covid-19 response reasons as to why Scotland should seek independence. Her party conference speech, this time lacking a live audience because of the lockdown, unusually opened with Ms Sturgeon’s praise for Europe and Europeans. She said that Scotland “wants to return (to the EU) – and we hope to do so soon as an independent member state”.
These words were accompanied with a harsh critique of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, referring to him and his cabinet as “Boris Johnson and his band of Brexiteers” or “the Vote Leave Gang”.
It is moves like this, the coupling of independence, Brexit and criticism of the Westminster Tories, that Paul Embery, a trade unionist and “Blue Labour” member told Express.co.uk makes Ms Sturgeon and her SNP “very opportunist”.
As he explained: “Sturgeon’s quite the opportunist, she’s able to get away with a lot of stuff a normal leader of any other country wouldn’t be able to do just by blaming Westminster the whole time.
“It is quite an astute way to do things, but quite disingenuous at the same time.
“And I think the SNP is a very opportunist organisation.
“When things go well, Scotland wants to claim credit, when things go badly, all it does is blame those nasty Tories down in Westminster.
“I think it’s her policy on independence and the EU – they’re completely inconsistent.
“They say they want to be independent from Britain because they think they’ll be better off outside, but at the same time the first thing they’d do is hop back into bed with the Europeans and trade their newly found sovereignty for membership of the EU club.
JUST IN: SNP ‘could win EVERY seat’ in Scottish elections
She reassured that in the meantime her “energies are focused on that”.
The SNP leader has only revealed that she wants the vote to be in the early part of the next Scottish parliamentary term.
Holyrood’s spring elections occur at the beginning of May 2021.
Ms Sturgeon will be keen to gauge how popular she is by then among the Scottish people to see whether a push for Indyref2 would garner enough support.
According to the most recent data available on the opinion of Scottish independence in Scotland, the Yes camp currently have the edge at 51 percent.
Should the SNP win a majority in May, senior figures say it would give Ms Sturgeon the precedent to demand Mr Johnson grant MSPs the power to call a referendum.
Mr Johnson, meanwhile, has repeatedly refused to entertain this idea.
What happens next is something that divides Scots even further.
Some hardliners want a Catalonia-style illegal referendum – which was later declared void.
Others who are willing to play the long game believe Mr Johnson’s refusal will play into the SNP’s hands and inflate support for independence.