Second time around
This week, we look at media commentary on a second Scottish referendum, and on the UK government’s U-turn on tax increases for the self-employed.
May’s home-made crisis
The Guardian writes that Prime Minister Theresa May is responsible for a breakdown in negotiations with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland. Sturgeon, of the nationalist SNP, has announced that she will call for a second referendum on Scottish independence at the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.
… Mrs May’s apparent readiness to tolerate leaving [the EU] without a deal, her rejection of any attempt either to fight in the negotiations for access to the single market for the UK, or to hold out the hope of a deal that would allow Scotland its own relationship with the rest of Europe, have both played straight to the independence cause. … The choice facing voters in an independence referendum can be framed as one between the certain economic catastrophe of crashing out of the EU and the uncertain consequences of leaving the UK. …
The wrong U-turn
The Financial Times is critical of the UK government’s decision to reverse an announcement from last week’s budget. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond had announced increased taxes for the self-employed. One week later, that proposal was withdrawn — “a bad mistake”, according to the newspaper’s editorial writers.
… Conservatives pride themselves on being the party of the entrepreneur. The tax increase appeared to send the opposite message, while breaking an electoral commitment to boot. … The signs are that Downing Street lost its nerve in the face of a potential backbench rebellion. …