By Colin Fox of the Scottish Socialist Party

NICOLA Sturgeon’s “major announcement” in response to Boris Johnson’s second referendum refusal proved to be something of a damp squib.

Brexit Day, chosen as the occasion for her speech because of its symbolism, will be remembered as the gamble she lost. And since the consequences for the independence movement may be far-reaching, let’s speak honestly.

Nicola Sturgeon’s Brexit defeat is every bit as profound as Jeremy Corbyn’s. She staked the independence case on stopping it. And yet she knew she was going to lose.

Her promise to keep Scotland in the EU put the independence cart before the UK horse. She grievously overplayed the fact Scotland voted to Remain while dismissing the only result that legally mattered in the unitary UK, the democratic Leave majority.

All her subsequent errors stemmed from an ill-conceived plan to draw Remain voters into the independence camp via this shortcut.

“How Brexit will work for Scotland remains unknown,” she confessed last Friday. There should have been gasps at this U-turn because the same First Minister adamantly predicted throughout the past four years that economic Armageddon was around the corner.

When no such devastation occurred, she kept on digging. Proven wrong on forecast after forecast she now simply suggests the outcome is “unknown”.

The National:

“The Tories have shown contempt for democracy,” the First Minister told her SNP audience at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. But the charge is undermined rather by her own demand that the 2016 result be unilaterally overthrown. The fact is it was a UK-wide result and the majority of Scots voted to remain within that United Kingdom just two years earlier. The unavoidable consequence of the 2014 referendum means Scotland remains subject to decisions taken by the UK Government.

The polls show most Scots remain unpersuaded by the case Nicola Sturgeon has made for indyref2 this year or next.

Boris Johnson stands atop the moral high ground – as well as having an 80-seat Westminster majority – until we get it. We need to mobilise public opinion sufficiently enough to force him to grant that second vote.

Nicola Sturgeon is an extremely conventional politician who is not comfortable carrying forward both the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary campaigning required.

The Yes movement has paid a high price for collapsing into a single political party with such an attitude.

This is the “change”, to paraphrase the First Minister, that needs to come soon. For it is not only unity we need in Scotland’s independence movement but greater clarity and a much more serious strategy.