Dating lost momentum

Indeed, Scotland is now a healthy three-party state, the SNP, Tories and Labour on 37, 29 and 27 per cent of vote respectively. In traditionally Tory parts of Scotland, particularly the rural north-east and south, where support for leaving the European Union was strongest, there was a clear swing from the SNP to Conservative. In a constituency where there were clearly more supporters of Brexit than the SNP, it made little sense for the ousted deputy leader Angus Robertson to fight a pro-European campaign, but that’s what he did.The key demographic in this respect were “Yes-Leavers”, those who want to “take back control” from both London and Brussels. In fishing and agricultural constituencies this was even more clearly the case, and with the First Minister’s EU fudge – “interim” membership of EFTA and the EEA – only reluctantly and sparingly articulated, it proved impossible to hold on this group. Not only has Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson made an audacious pitch to steal the First Minister’s clothes as Scotland’s “voice” in the imminent negotiations, but if she and other Tory rebels are successful in persuading an embattled UK Government to pursue a softer Brexit with continued membership of the single market, then the whole rationale for a “differentiated” Scottish deal, and indeed a second referendum, are gone.

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The First Minister, unlike Mrs May, at least has time and scope to bounce back. If, as seems likely, this proves difficult and economically damaging with the UK humiliated as a result of a weaker hand, then further down the line, most likely after the 2021 election, Ms Sturgeon could credibly revive her referendum plans. In a column a few months ago, I wrote about the SNP’s loss of momentum, now confirmed in two elections in as many months.Readers’ comments: You are personally liable for the content of any comments you upload to this website, so please act responsibly.We do not pre-moderate or monitor readers’ comments appearing on our websites, but we do post-moderate in response to complaints we receive or otherwise when a potential problem comes to our attention.We were going to meet up between Christmas and New Year but she was ill for most of that period.We are meeting on Friday of next week but it will have been 1 month since we had last met.

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