This general election has killed off Scottish independence for years to come

Ruth Davidson wouldn’t have been able to do her demolition job on the SNP if Nicola Sturgeon hadn’t miscalculated her own reckless gamble on calling for indyref2 so soon after the Brexit vote 

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The Independent Online

You may recall that famous picture of Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon when they met for talks on another Scottish independence referendum a few months ago. Co-incidence or not, they were photographed together with shortish skirts and the papers stuck dreadful headlines like “Battle of the Pins” over the images.

Well, this was one battle that Theresa May actually won overnight, given that this early and otherwise disastrous general election has done so much to restore the Conservatives’ fortunes in Scotland, and to, effectively, kill off the idea of another referendum on independence for Scotland. Of course, much of this was actually down to the extraordinary political talents of Ruth Davidson, by far the Conservatives’ best human asset at the moment (if inconveniently absent from the House of Commons for the purposes of a leadership run). For now, at any rate.

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Looking at swings from the SNP to the Conservatives at anything up to 20 per cent, Davidson’s laser focus on the issue of the union plainly paid off. Not only that, though. She displayed impressive energy and enthusiasm, and was able to reach voters in Scotland who might never have considered voting for her party, which had, after all, been marginalised in recent years.

Yet Davidson wouldn’t have been able to do her demolition job on the Scottish National Party if Nicola Sturgeon hadn’t so badly miscalculated with her own reckless gamble – a parallel one to Theresa May’s – on calling for indyref2 soon after the Brexit vote last year. Much good it has done her. She has lost major assets in the House of Commons – Angus Robertson, who proved a brilliant leader in London, and Alex Salmond principally. She did “win” in terms of gaining a majority of the seats, but the losses were grievous. In terms of the share of the vote, plainly the Unionist parties – the Tories, Labour, unexpectedly resurgent, and the Liberal Democrats – did outpoll the SNP.

Thus May and Sturgeon, by accident and misadventure, have actually helped secure the Union. Ruth Davidson, and to a lesser extent Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie (Labour and Lib Dem leaders in Scotland), have by skill and design killed off Scottish independence for years to come. Not a bad night’s work.