For some months now it has been apparent that the greatest threat to Nicola Sturgeon’s position as the uncontested queen of Scottish politics lay within her own movement. Opposition parties could — and did — criticise the Scottish government’s record in government but their efforts were as useful as attempting to sack Edinburgh Castle armed with nothing more threatening than a pea-shooter.
Meanwhile, in London, Boris Johnson and his ministers appeared determined to do all they could to inadvertently bolster Sturgeon’s position. As Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party complained, ‘the case for separation is now being made more effectively in London than it ever could be in Edinburgh’. The last 17 opinion polls conducted in Scotland have each recorded a majority for independence.